PART VII: The Twenties

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

Weíre 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 youíve got to look at it from a global perspective. Itís awful. And we canít see into the future. But we can learn from other peopleís mistakes, and we can learn from other peopleís successes.

- Mick Jagger, August 2020, on the pandemic

The larger point, really, is ó in the short, medium, and long term ó how is everyone that performs live going to function in the future? We donít know. In Europe, weíve had small-scale concerts. Weíve had socially-distanced concerts. You can see (concerts) starting in some parts of the world ó New Zealand, Australia and so on. ButÖ as far as the U.S. is concerned, we donít 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 donít know at the moment.

- Mick Jagger, August 2020

I hope, like everybody else, thereís a very good vaccine as soon as possible. And a change of regime wouldnít be bad. Letís leave it at that, man.

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

(Black musicans and artists are) the reason Iím here... Itís about bloody time. I mean, in this country (the U.S.), things are coming to a head. Thatís the way it is. You've got to deal with it. Itís 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 canít interfere. Iím 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. Itís an expression, and it touches everybody. It touches whites and yellows and little hairy things, I donít know, but thatís what itís about. Itís 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 itís all about and what itís all embedded on. All popular music, ever since theyíve been able to record it, is based on the blues. You go from ragtime, jazz, itís all based on the blues. It doesnít 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; thatís 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, youíre 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 itís up to us collectively. Everybody has to do a little better, whatever it is. Thatís my sermon for the day.

- Keith Richards, September 2020

Politics - Iíve seen too much of it to take much notice. Things can get a little hairy, but youíre 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. Itís just another period now... We have no political differences (between us) because weíre basically apolitical. Weíre just making music; we donít give a shit about the rest of the world. And Iím English and Iím living in America, so Iím not going to squeak hardly. Iíll just squeak a little.

- Keith Richards, October 2020

Weíre all connected now, arenít we? I just hope everybody can keep their pecker up. A vaccine is the most hopeful thing on the horizon but weíve 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

Iím 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. Itís a challenge but it can be done!

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

I just want to get rid of this damn thing, you know, and the only way I can see of doing it is everybody does as doctor says (laughs). And let's get back to normal, you know, hopefully. And I don't understand quite why some people are getting so wound up about it. You wouldn't get wound up about the flu or something, and (covid) is even worse. And I'm no doctor. Hey, this thing works in various nasty ways on people, and we all have to bear with each other. We all have to have a little sympathy.

- Keith Richards, March 2022, asked about covid-19 and vaccines

There are a lot of supply-chain problems. A lot of shortages, a lot of problems because of Brexit. Brexit has not been a success for the British touring industry. Iím not saying, Well, weíve got to rejoin the EU. Unfortunately thatís all in the past. But from personal experience and talking to friends who are in other businesses, itís not a success, itís a nightmare. Weíve isolated ourselves, and that sounds good to some, but itís an ideology more than a practicality.

- Mick Jagger, May 2022, on touring post-Brexit Europe


Back to Main Page