Mick Jagger remembers ‘good times’ with David Bowie
LOS ANGELES—“We had fun and great times together,” Mick Jagger said in our recent interview via Skype about David Bowie, who was the Rolling Stones cofounder’s close friend for almost 40 years.
Asked about David, who passed away last Jan. 10, Mick initially said, “I am laughing, because I was asked this question last night. I was trying to brush it off because I didn’t really want to talk about that that much because I have already said stuff about it. David was a pretty close friend of mine. I was distraught, obviously, to learn of his death.”
But the rock icon went on to talk about his equally popular buddy. “There was a great outpouring of grief,” Mick said. “It was, in a positive way, honoring his life and work. He was a great friend.”
Mick talked about their common love for music, fashion and films. “We used to bounce lots of ideas off each other musically and for stage shows. We talked about each other’s shows a lot. We were both very interested in movies and clothes—we talked about them a lot (laughs). We had long conversations about fashion and designers.
“We had a lot of things in common. When I would review our pictures, there we were at parties. We used to go out a lot in New York, dancing and partying—and we had a lot of good times. I remember all those good times with David, so it was a very sad occasion this week.”
No professional rivalry
Asked if he felt there was a professional rivalry between him and David, Mick answered, “Everyone, whether they’re from London or other places, would always listen to what other people are ‘doing.’ David and I would talk about what we were doing. David would say, ‘I have done something, ‘The Jean Genie,’ and then say, ‘It’s very much like you.’ I would say, ‘That’s not a bit influenced by me, David.’ We would joke about these things.”
Mick, who is one of the producers of HBO’s “Vinyl,” a new drama series about the music business in 1970s New York, added that he was interested in other acts, as well. “You always like to see other people’s shows. I used to go see Led Zeppelin shows, and they did great shows at the Madison Square Garden. And also from other genres of music. I would always go see Bob Marley; he was such a good performer!”
On the Beatles-Rolling Stones’ supposed competition, Mick answered, “I wouldn’t say there was one. The press obviously played up the Beatles-Stones rivalry. But that was all over by the period (1970s) we’re talking about. The Beatles were no longer working. But yeah, some people get really into that, but I always think you are going to keep your eyes on what other people are doing.”
James Jagger, Mick’s son with Jerry Hall, is in the “Vinyl” cast as Kip Stevens, founder and lead singer of a rock band, The Nasty Bits. Another Hollywood offspring, Jack Quaid, the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, play Clark Morelle, a junior A&R exec.
Martin Scorsese directed the pilot episode from a story he wrote with Mick, Rich Cohen and Terence Winter.
“James got quite interested in acting when he lived in New York after he left school,” the proud dad said. “He did quite a lot of training in acting in various schools. He did some indie movies, then he got interested in music —and he was in a band for a while.”
The rocker, who sounded excited about his foray into writing and producing a series about an era that he lived through, said he and James talked extensively about the latter’s role. “We talked quite a lot about the backstory of the character—where did he come from, what was his background, where did he live?—and so on. I didn’t give him loads of advice, to be honest. I would have given it if he needed and wanted it.
“I pretty much think James created the character on his own. I don’t think the character has a lot of me in it. It’s James’ interpretation of the character. It’s not me —it’s based on a mix of various proto-punk bands from New York and elsewhere in the early ’70s. There’s a bit of the early bands, a bit of Ziggy (Stardust, David’s alter ego) and a little of Richard Lloyd (rock guitarist). There is a lot of different characters in there!”
On whether he and his “Vinyl” collaborators based the characters on real-life people in the music biz, the raspy voiced legend said, “When we started to build those characters, we talked a lot about which characters we would use from real life. The lead character that Bobby Canavale plays, Richie (Finestra), is obviously a fictional character. We made amalgams of the people that we knew. We based some of the other side characters on real people—people I knew and people that we researched in books.
“We did a lot of research when we were doing the script. We interviewed a lot of people. We got to understand how they actually talked and how their lingo was, because every industry has its own. And my own personal thing—I knew quite a lot about the music business in various decades, from the ’60s until now. Obviously, I gave a lot of input into that, and so did a lot of other people.”
As for the Rolling Stones, the front man said they are “doing a tour of South America that starts in a few weeks. So, I am prepping for that and doing my buildup for the tour, which is a lot of work—rehearsing next week and then, I do a few other things, producing this show. That was a lot of time. I have a pretty busy plate, but I’m happy doing it!”
At 72, rock’s Energizer Bunny just keeps going and going. Where does he get his stamina? “It’s just genetic,” he said, those famous lips curling into a smile. “I don’t have to do anything.”
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