PART VII: The Twenties

I mean, for me, I’m very lucky because I’m in a profession, if you want, that I’m able to work. Right now we would have been rehearsing to go on tour. Fortunately I have other facets and so I’m very lucky so I can do stuff like redo the song that we just talked about... And people say, Yeah, I can, but there’s a lot of people that can’t. A lot of people lost their jobs and it’s not your fault. It’s circumstances completely out of your control. It’s not as though I did a bad job or I screwed up on my job and got fired. It’s 20 million people lost their jobs completely for something that’s nothing to do with them at all. And also the less money you have, the more worries you have. So for lots of people, it’s really tough. I mean, I have friends and they live in really small apartments in a big city and they don’t have anywhere to go and they’ve lost their job. I’m very, very lucky and I’m very aware how lucky I am, but not everyone’s as lucky as me. And it’s been a horrible time for everyone. But some people worse than others... This is a weird thing about writing. It’s like I’ve written things down obviously about the times we’re living and everything but then you want escapism as well. When this might come out, this might be all in the past or we’re going to be in a different place or we don’t know what’s going to happen to us. So you don’t want to just concentrate on this moment. But of course you do want to document it as well because it’s very important. So you've got to just let things come, see what comes out and be aware that you’ve got a multitude of choices to draw on.

- Mick Jagger, April 2020, on the coronavirus pandemic

It's heartbreaking to see America tearing itself apart again over issues of race. Tomorrow I stand with my fellow artists and observe blackout Tuesday to combat racial discrimination and social injustice. I pray that looking beyond this day we can all work together to overcome this hatred and division and start to heal the pain and suffering that everybody is feeling in the country. We owe that to future generations.

- Mick Jagger, June 1, 2020, during the protests following the death of George Floyd

We’re in the never-never land. I mean, all we can say is that looking, analyzing it, some places are better than others and are doing better, but you’ve got to look at it from a global perspective. It’s awful. And we can’t see into the future. But we can learn from other people’s mistakes, and we can learn from other people’s successes.

- Mick Jagger, August 2020, on the pandemic

The larger point, really, is — in the short, medium, and long term — how is everyone that performs live going to function in the future? We don’t know. In Europe, we’ve had small-scale concerts. We’ve had socially-distanced concerts. You can see (concerts) starting in some parts of the world — New Zealand, Australia and so on. But… as far as the U.S. is concerned, we don’t really know what the future holds. So many people are out of work, losing money. Is it ever going to be the same again? Will it be always different? We just don’t know at the moment.

- Mick Jagger, August 2020

I hope, like everybody else, there’s a very good vaccine as soon as possible. And a change of regime wouldn’t be bad. Let’s leave it at that, man.

- Keith Richards, U.S. resident, August 2020

(Black musicans and artists are) the reason I’m here... It’s about bloody time. I mean, in this country (the U.S.), things are coming to a head. That’s the way it is. You've got to deal with it. It’s difficult for me to talk about it, because I am not an American. I live here, I am in heart and soul, I am one of you, but I can’t interfere. I’m like Putin, I refuse to interfere in your electoral process... I mean, you want to know what black people have done for the world, man? Just listen to the music. It’s an expression, and it touches everybody. It touches whites and yellows and little hairy things, I don’t know, but that’s what it’s about. It’s about touching people and recording has made that possible. And throughout the history of this music, recorded music, the influence of the blues is just massive.

The blues is what it’s all about and what it’s all embedded on. All popular music, ever since they’ve been able to record it, is based on the blues. You go from ragtime, jazz, it’s all based on the blues. It doesn’t mean that you got to understand every country blues, Blind Lemon Jefferson song, but the order of them is all based on that. And then it progresses from that, which is a wonderful thing... It just takes different shades. In the swing music in the Thirties and Forties, Louis Armstrong, I mean, do I have to ramble on?

- Keith Richards, September 2020, about the Black Lives Matter movement

Well, opioids are not opiates; that’s a pill problem. You have a problem with pharmaceutical companies, not with drugs. Everybody knows you can go across to Canada and pick up the same thing for five bucks and here, you’re paying hundreds. You can figure it out, right?

- Keith Richards, September 2020, asked about the American opioid epidemic

I know that as people, we could do a lot better and I would like to promote that. But it’s up to us collectively. Everybody has to do a little better, whatever it is. That’s my sermon for the day.

- Keith Richards, September 2020

Politics - I’ve seen too much of it to take much notice. Things can get a little hairy, but you’re talking to the exiles on Main Street, man. We got thrown out of our own country for being too successful. Any nutty thing you can dream up, there it is. It’s just another period now... We have no political differences (between us) because we’re basically apolitical. We’re just making music; we don’t give a shit about the rest of the world. And I’m English and I’m living in America, so I’m not going to squeak hardly. I’ll just squeak a little.

- Keith Richards, October 2020

We’re all connected now, aren’t we? I just hope everybody can keep their pecker up. A vaccine is the most hopeful thing on the horizon but we’ve all had to get used to a bit of hardship. We need to take care of each other. A little less selfishness always goes down well. 

- Keith Richards, November 2020, on the pandemic

I’m so looking forward to coming back to an America free of harsh words and name calling and be amongst people who I know have common ground and harmony. It’s a challenge but it can be done!

- Mick Jagger, November 7, 2020, following the U.S. election


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