Mick Jagger Talks Stones With Howard Stern

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Mick Jagger on opening night of the Rolling Stones 2021 tour (Photo via their Twitter page)

Mick Jagger did a live radio interview with Howard Stern today (September 29, 2021), talking about how he reluctantly allowed his parents to watch him perform in the early days, how he gets ready for a show, his dancing on stage, and of course, the loss of Charlie Watts. The interview on Stern’s SiriusXM Channel 100 was done at 1 p.m. ET, and fell three days after opening night of the 2021 edition of the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour. (The band’s second concert is Sept. 30 in Charlotte, NC; they’ve built in many days off in between performances.)

Stern has introduced a literal Who’s Who of celebrities for his program. The pair have never met. Incredibly, it was the first time the two had even spoken and the host heaped enormous praise on his interview subject before, during and after the program. (Stern characteristically told a ribald story to the program’s longtime co-host, Robin Quivers, and of course the live audience that stuck around after the interview’s conclusion, explaining what he did to try to relax in order to take a nap in between his live morning show and the Jagger segment.)

The Stern show uploaded several clips from the interview. (See them below.)

“Of all the things you’ve done,” Stern said to Jagger, “it seems like the bravest things was to tell your father, ‘I’m dropping out of college to join a rock and roll band’.”

“It wasn’t quite as simple as that,” said Jagger. “In those days, being a rock singer wasn’t like a career. People did it for a year and maybe had a hit record.

“I enjoyed being in an academic world. [But] I was obviously very outgoing… an extrovert. I had been doing music since I was twelve and had walked on with rock bands when I was 15 or 16. But [my parents] never thought it was a serious thing. My college said if it doesn’t work out, I could always come back.”

Stern wondered if his parents came to the Stones’ early concerts. “I didn’t like [them] to come to shows that much. (laughs) Because it’s inhibiting. I would do stuff that was overly sexual.”

“Dancing on stage takes a real confidence,” said Stern. “It seems obvious now because you’re ‘Mick Jagger’.”

“If you’re the lead singer in a band,” said Jagger, “you have to be an extrovert. You watch other people and copy other people. I [started imitating] James Brown, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis. They had great moves. It’s not enough to be a singer. When I was younger, I used to do crazy things, jumping off the stage into an orchestra pit because I had seen Little Richard do it. Some of them were dangerous. But it’s fun.”

“Keith [Richards] has moves. When we started, he had certain moves and looks. We did tons of television, which was how we got known. You need to have ‘looks’.”

Howard Stern (Photo via SiriusXM)

Stern asked Jagger if there was a drudgery to his life when the band is in tour. Jagger said that he woke up unexpectedly that morning to the sound of a street preacher outside of his hotel adding, “It’s better than a jackhammer. (laughs) If you don’t get enough sleep that can affect that night’s performance. Show day is [organized] almost from the minute you get up. There’s a timeline. Almost military. I know what I’m doing in this 15 minutes and this 15 minutes.”

Jagger estimated that he walks and runs and estimated 8-12 miles during a concert. Before the band’s starts rehearsing, he’s working on his voice, going to the gym, working on his upper body. There’s sprinting and dancing. (“That’s much more fun,” he said.”)

When Jagger was recovering from his 2019 heart surgery, fans were stunned to see a clip of the star working out.

“I read that you guys rehearse 80 or 90 songs,” said Stern. “[How well do] you know these songs?”

“You do know them, yeah. There are maybe 30 songs we know really well. And another 50 that we know maybe half. If you’re playing in a club, the people want to hear something different. If you’re playing in a stadium, most of the time they want to hear songs they know.

“There’s a lot of songs. In a rock show, you do two ballads. That’s normally the way it goes.”

Watch the Stones close the opening night show with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

Related: Our recap of opening night of the 2021 tour

The subject turned to Charlie Watts, whom the Stones are touring without for the first time. There’s a video tribute before the Stones take the stage.

“[Charlie] was the heartbeat for the band,” said Jagger. “A steady personality. Very reliable. Not a diva. (laughs) You don’t want a diva as a drummer. (laughs) He had a very dry sense of humor. I miss Charlie because outside of the band, we used to hang out a lot. We love sport and lots of interests besides music.

“I miss Charlie so much. It’s strange being without him. [But] when he was sick, he said ‘you’ve got to carry on and do this tour’.”

Hours after the interview, Jagger was at a local Charlotte hangout.

Tickets to see the Stones’ 2021 tour are available here and here.

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

5 Comments so far

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  1. v2787
    #1 v2787 29 September, 2021, 21:55

    Mick and Keith have done an amazing job over the years, but Charlie was the heart and soul of the band. He is irreplaceable, but Steve Jordan will do a great job. All the best to the Stones. I’ve loved their music for many decades.

    Reply this comment
  2. Domingos
    #2 Domingos 30 September, 2021, 05:22

    We hope they have a great tour. South American people love The Stones. The greatest Rock n Roll group of all time!

    Reply this comment
    • Papi
      Papi 30 September, 2021, 10:08

      I’ve been a fan of the stones for 50+ years.
      The Rolling Stones will never be equaled.

      Reply this comment
  3. G-MONEY
    #3 G-MONEY 30 September, 2021, 08:36

    THE MOST FAMOUS LYRICS IN MUSIC HISTORY..IN MY OPINION IS…”I got the mix..and Charlie you got the fix..I’m talking love.. it’s a bitch..all-right”…!!…all you guys shaped my thoughts and life FOREVER!!..LONG LIVE THE KINGS.. .thank you!

    Reply this comment
    • Surfer Johnny
      Surfer Johnny 26 August, 2023, 13:53

      Yeah, except the lyric is actually “you got to mix it, child, you got to fix it.” But I agree, it sounds like he’s saying “Charlie.”

      Reply this comment

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