A good thing never ends.
A knighthood, I’d take, nothing less than a knighthood. But you gotta last a long time to get a knighthood.
A lot of children, like in the United States, don’t remember the real horror of [World War II], because they never had to, as they do in Europe and Russia and so on. I’m not saying America didn’t have a terrible experience, but it never came home to them that way. You had rationing and shortages, and people got killed and coffins came home. But you didn’t have the experience of the block opposite being destroyed when you got up in the morning.
A lot of times songs are very much of a moment, that you just encapsulate. They come to you, you write them, you feel good that day, or bad that day.
All dancing is a replacement for sex.
Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope.
Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
As long as my face is on page one, I don’t care what they say about me on page seventeen.
Either we stay at home and become pillars of the community or we go out and tour. We couldn’t really find any communities that still needed pillars.
Everybody has their own moral code. I conduct myself as I think fit.
God Gave Me Everything.
I am conservative with a small ‘c.’ It’s possible to be conservative in fiscal policy, and tolerant on moral issues or questions of freedom of expression.
I am not a librarian of my own work. It’s a good thing not to be too involved with what you have done.
I believe we should encourage children to sing and play instruments from an early age.
I came into music just because I wanted the bread. It’s true. I looked around and this seemed like the only way I was going to get the kind of bread I wanted.
I can’t get no satisfaction.
I didn’t have any inhibitions. I saw Elvis and Gene Vincent, and I thought, ‘Well, I can do this.’ And I liked doing it. It’s a real buzz, even in front of 20 people, to make a complete fool of yourself. But people seemed to like it. And the thing is, if people started throwing tomatoes at me, I wouldn’t have gone on with it. But they all liked it, and it always seemed to be a success, and people were shocked. I could see it in their faces.
I don’t believe in having bands for solo records.
I don’t really count myself as a very sophisticated businessperson. I’m a creative artist. All I know from business I’ve picked up along the way.
I don’t think I shall live to a very old age anyway. I’ve always had that feeling, but if you can stop your body falling apart you’ve won half the battle. I believe in that adage, You are what you eat. If you eat a colossal amount of potatoes, you end up looking like one. All lumpy and knobbly-kneed. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but I prefer fish to meat and I don’t drink milk or eat a lot of starchy foods.
I enjoy changing personalities. Yeah, honestly I feel I’ve got to be very… chameleon-like just to preserve my own identity.
I get inspiration from things that are happening around me – everyday life as I see it. People say I’m always singing about pills and breakdowns, therefore I must be an addict – this is ridiculous. Some people are so narrow-minded they won’t admit to themselves that this really does happen to other people beside pop stars.
I got nasty habits; I take tea at three.
I have never wanted to give up performing on stage, but one day the tours will be over.
I haven’t had the time to plan returning to the scene because I haven’t left it.
I must be careful not to get trapped in the past. That’s why I tend to forget my songs.
I never really studied business in school. I kind of wish I had, but how boring is that?
I should think that being my old lady would be all the satisfaction or career any woman needs.
I think a lot of young people have started something and we’re never going to finish it. I think maybe kids went too far in their faith in it. They expected it to be everything, to express all they feel and do.
I think I’m a pretty good father. I have a nice affinity with children, not just my own. I like taking bunches of kids out for the day. Kids keep you young and they keep you laughing.
I think it’s very important that you have at least some sort of inner thing you don’t talk about. That’s why I find it distasteful when all these pop stars talk about their habits… It’s wearing. You’re on all the time. As much as I love talking to you today, I’d rather be having one day where I don’t have to think about me. With all this attention, you become a child. It’s awful to be the center of attention. You can’t talk about anything apart from your own experience, your own dopey life. I’d rather do something that can get me out of the center of attention. It’s very dangerous. But there’s no way, really, to avoid that.
I think, like most people, my moral values tend to be pretty fuzzy.
I took her for granted… I played with her mind. I think I’ve just made the biggest mistake of my life.
I want to play places that are uncharted rock & roll territory. Much as I love America, a lot of America we never played in – we’ve never played Wichita. But I’d like to go to Asia, I’d like to go to India, I’d like to play the Middle East. I’d like to play more in Eastern Europe. All those places, there is zero money, you know, but you are hoping to break even. Which is a concept most people who run rock & roll tours can’t grasp, because what’s the point of spending a year touring and earning no money when you could be back in America, earning money. But that’s what I would like to do.
I was always a singer. I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some children sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio – the BBC or Radio Luxembourg – or watching them on TV and in the movies.
I was going back to college for a while, but I never made it. I’m a real dropout. I wanted to do comparative religion and history, but I just couldn’t take three months off and go every day. I found myself having to work, and I’m just too lazy. I need three months off from music, but I can never get them.
I was thinking about this the other day, and I don’t really think I was suited to heavy drug behavior, to be perfectly honest. But I don’t mind talking about it. It’s hard to believe that you did so many drugs for so long. That’s what I find really hard. And I didn’t really consider it. You know, it was eating and drinking and taking drugs and having sex. It was just part of life. It wasn’t really anything special. It was just a bit of a bore, really. Everyone took drugs the whole time, and you were out of it the whole time. It wasn’t a special event.
I’d rather be dead than singing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m forty-five.
If we were bored to death, honestly I don’t think we would do it. We do enjoy ourselves doing it. Everyone has been saying, ‘How come they can enjoy themselves? They should be bored to death doing this.’ We’re still having a lot of fun.
I’ll be keeping it up until my body starts to fall apart and that’s a long time off. The Stones might not last for ever but we’ll be going until sometime this side of ever.
I’m a dedicated show-business person. I’ll go onstage and do Noel Coward. I mean, I’m just a show-business person, whether it’s playing guitar, piano, acting, singing, dancing. I just chose rock & roll as my career in show business. If I’d been born in 1915, I’d have been a jazz drummer or singer in a jazz band or an actor.
I’m dreading. There are very few old people who are happy. When their minds stop thinking about the present and the future and stay wrapped in the past, they are awfully dull. I don’t want old dears saying, How old do you think I am? 48? No, I’m 78 and I’ve got all your records! Then I think it’s time they should grow up!
I’m not in love with things at the moment. I was never crazy about Nirvana – too angst-ridden for me. I like Pearl Jam. I prefer them to a lot of other bands. There’s a lot of angst in a lot of it, which is one of the great things to tap into. But I’m not a fan of moroseness.
I’m not on anyone’s side. There is no side that has an absolute answer. That’s the trouble with politics. You might say, The Republican take on the Middle East is incorrect. The Democratic policy wasn’t that brilliant, either.
I’m totally anti-nostalgia; I never listen to old Rolling Stones records. I’m not really interested in them. They’re funny, sometimes, to hear.
I’m very country-influenced, from quite young. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, so on. I heard those people, really, before I heard blues. Even Jim Reeves, Everly Brothers, and so on. Those kind of pop-country performers are very popular in England. Used to come along and play a lot on TV and their records would be around.
I’m very different from Keith.
In the year 2000, no one will be arrested for drugs and those sort of things. It will be laughable, just like it would be laughable if people were still hanged for stealing sheep. These things have to be changed, but it takes maniacs obsessed with individual microcosmic issues to bring it about. I could get ever so obsessed about the drugs thing, and if I really worked hard at it, I might perhaps speed up the process of reform by perhaps ten years or five years or perhaps only six months. But I don’t feel that it’s important enough.
It can’t go on forever. The thing that bugs me is that I get treated like The Grandfather of Pop, just like James Brown is regarded as The Grandfather of Soul – and I do get treated like that. Now, I’m only three years older than David Bowie. Or is it two? I don’t know why we’ve kept going. I think really because we were successful. But that’s sort of begging the question.
It is all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.
It would be nice to have another shot. Instead of me being a rock singer, I could have done something else. You hope you’ve done something right, you’ve spent an awful long time on it, so you better be bloody right. Did you waste a lot of time? Yes, you’ve wasted a lot of time. Did you use your intellectual and physical gifts? Yes and no. Because I don’t think rock and roll is as intellectually taxing as other things. It’s not particularly challenging. So you get intellectually lazy. I don’t think anyone is ever satisfied with what they’ve done.
It’s an overwhelming feeling, the audience. That must be why most of these people never give up performing. Because they just can’t go without that sort of rush. It’s a bit like having an orgasm. Sometimes an orgasm is better than being onstage; sometimes being onstage is better than an orgasm.
It’s hard to remember just what that period[the sixties] was like, but I can assure you it was extremely different from now. There was attitude, things you take for granted now they wouldn’t then: social values, the way people mix, racial segregation, sexual segregation and orientation, the opportunities people would or wouldn’t have, class and money. And the list goes on.
It’s kind of limiting using your intellect to write songs like Brown Sugar, isn’t it? The only thing I’m really interested in is comparative religion and ancient history.
I’ve always been spiritual. I wish it had been developed in some other way, but I think in our culture it rarely is. This is as far as we get.
I’ve managed to avoid tattoos so far.
Keith and I have a very complicated relationship. I don’t pretend to understand it. I find it quite tricky. He is a very inward person and he was always a very quiet and meditative type of person, so to bring out what he really wants to say is, I think, quite a problem for him sometimes. I’m a very outgoing person and very gregarious. Keith isn’t, really, although he’s learned to be somewhat more gregarious than he used to be.
Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind.
My mother has always been unhappy with what I do. She would rather I do something nicer, like be a bricklayer.
My secrets must be poetic to be believable.
OK, that was a very big break, the ’60s thing. But it was winding up from the days of Elvis. The Elvis period was super-rebellious. Because that kind of music was much more shocking than the music of the Beatles – the early Beatles… The sexuality of the early Elvis years was much more shocking to a straight audience than the Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand… The wild men – Elvis, Jerry Lee – they were much more scary. So when we’re talking about any ’60s break, you have to take that into account. They’d already made this sexual charge.
Patriotism is an instant reaction that fades away when the war starts.
People get very blasé about their big hit. Satisfaction was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band. You always need one song. We weren’t American, and America was a big thing and we always wanted to make it here. It was very impressive the way that song and the popularity of the band became a worldwide thing.
People get very thoughtful when they are in cars. I no longer care for cars. I don’t collect them.
People have this obsession. They want you to be like you were in 1969. They want you to, because otherwise their youth goes with you. It’s very selfish, but it’s understandable.
People love talking about when they were young and heard Honky Tonk Women for the first time. It’s quite a heavy load to carry on your shoulders, the memories of so many people.
People think they know you. They know the things about you that you have forgotten.
Rock and roll and playing live is very addictive. But you have to really be careful, because you don’t want to do it all the time. It’s like when you are young and you think if you are not having sex you’re wasting your time. But as you get older you realize everything has its place. It’s the same thing with performing…. Performing is a great thing to do but you don’t want to have to be doing it every night.
Rock and roll is a spent force in that we can’t expect any more from it, either as music or an instrument for social change. It is merely recycling itself and everything is a rehash of something else. I’m not that good a musician to break out of it – it’s all I can do.
Satanic Majesties had interesting things on it, but I don’t think any of the songs are very good. It’s a bit like Between The Buttons. It’s a sound experience, really, rather than a song experience. There’s 2 good songs on it: She’s A Rainbow, and 2000 Light Years from Home. The rest of them are nonsense… I think we were just taking too much acid. We were just getting carried away, just thinking anything you did was fun and everyone should listen to it. The whole thing we were on acid.
So I was in a restaurant one night, a nice one in New York and there was a family at the next table. No one was paying attention to anyone else but then I heard – I couldn’t help it – the kid ask his father something. He wanted to know which band was better, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Well, I don’t know, says the father. Why don’t you ask him?, meaning me. It made me feel like something out of history.
Thank you for leaving us alone but giving us enough attention to boost our egos.
That’s my ambition. But I’ve been doing so much working out and all that dancing.
The ’50s were the beginnings of a consumer revolution. A few books like Absolute Beginners give a reasonably accurate flavor of the period if you weren’t there or can’t quite remember; I was very young.
The Beatles were so big that it’s hard for people not alive at the time to realize just how big they were. There isn’t a real comparison with anyone now.
The elusive nature of love… it can be such a fleeting thing. You see it there and it’s just fluttering and it’s gone.
The new fashion is to talk about the most private parts of your life; other fashion is to repent of your excesses and to criticize the drugs that made you happy in the other times.
The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.
The Spice Girl Victoria Beckham has just published the story of her life. I confess that it is not in my reading table.
There’s not a lot in rock that is new. It’s the same kind of chord sequences and the same kind of rhythm references and the same recycling of subject matter. But I don’t think it’s a problem. I mean, traditional musical forms like folk music in three chords or blues are endearing to Americans. They find some comfort in them.
Vietnam has changed America. It has divided and made people think. There’s a lot of opposition – much more than you think, because all the opposition is laughed at in American magazines. It’s made to look ridiculous. But there is real opposition. Before, Americans used to accept everything, my country right or wrong. But now a lot of people are saying my country should be right, not wrong.
We belong to a generation that’s separate from any other. We believe in what we’re doing. We’re happy to have the kids screaming for us. It gets me down to think that a lot of them will one day disappear into the drab nest. I hope all of them won’t. If only the whole world could stay young.
We have a very good relationship at the moment. But it’s a different relationship to what we had when we were 5 and different to what we had when we were 20 and a different relationship than when we were 30. We see each other every day, talk to each other every day, play every day. But it’s not the same as when we were 20 and shared rooms.
We have changed a bit since we got famous. I mean, how would you like to sing the same seven numbers every night? I may not be much of a singer, but there is no artistry in that. Still, we do have fun as well.
We really were vicious. In the beginning if anyone was the slightest bit flaky in a recording session, they were really in for a hard time. When you’re young you put the knife in. Brian couldn’t even be bothered turning up for sessions. There’s only so much you can do.
We shall never tour America again. It is very hard work and one bring-down after another. Every place you go there is a barrage of criticism and eventually you just start lashing out.
We’re on the road so much that we don’t depend on girlfriends for relationships. It’s not a barrier. Most men don’t depend on their girlfriends for relationships. Besides, women never get on. If that sounds like an anti-feminist statement I’m sorry, but it’s a product of practical experience.
What’s success to bourgeois people anyway? Success to them is an endless succession of marriage and the monotony of suburban cars. That’s what they think success is. I didn’t want to please my parents anyway.
You call yourself a Christian; I call you a hypocrite. You call yourself a patriot; well, I think you’re full of…
You wake up in the morning and you look at your old spoon, and you say to yourself, ‘Mick, it’s time to get yourself a new spoon.’ And you do.