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Here is a really interesting interview with Mick Jagger, done in a break while mixing what would become the “Exile On Main Street” LP. In this interview he is talking politics, and he really slams down hard on the Tories, but also on British apathy and censorship. It is a good read, and what I would call a “period piece” that gives younger people a glimpse of these (thankfully?) forgotten times.
Jagger slams Britain
From Roy Carr in the U.S.
“It`s disgusting,” Mick Jagger exploded in anger when I talked to him in Hollywood about the latest developments in the Tory Government`s Night Assemblies Bill*(Blog Editor`s Note) and its new and ominous threat to Civil Rights.
(*The original formulation of the Night Assemblies Bill made it a criminal offence to hold a gathering of 1000 people or more in the open air for any period of 3 hours between midnight and 6 a.m. without applying to a local authority 4 months beforehand and without giving certain financial guarantees).
Often misconstrued and publicly pilloried for his outspoken anti-Establishment views, Jagger doesn`t however, advocate the guerilla tactics of the street fighting man.
“What`s needed is another kind of direct action,” he scowled. “The British public should openly flout the Tory Government. And voting is no good, because it never works. When it does work you usually have to wait for years for it to come into effect.
“The best thing would be for a load of our top bands to turn up somewhere – assemble a large crowd – and do a gigantic free gig. If they did then you be sure I`d be there.”
Surrounded by a bank of silent brightly lit vending machines, plus Rolling Stones Records Executive Marshall Chess and the lithe and lovely Chris O`Dell, Jagger relaxed and spoke freely during a break in the final mix-down sessions for the Stones` impending double-album.
We were in the rest room of an air-cooled studio along Hollywood`s Sunset Strip and, obviously well pleased with his initial statement, Jagger made himself comfortable and continued while the hard, fast-rockin` sounds of a number he described as “Turd On The Run” acted as a continuous back-drop to our lengthy conversation.
“My slogan is: `Good Government Is No Government`. England doesn`t need a Government because it can govern itself…
“I honestly believe that, because it does govern itself,” he added, directing this personal philosophy at Marshall Chess, who was listening somewhat bemusedly.
“I honestly believe Britain would be better off with no Government than the present Tory one,” Jagger continued. “The trouble is that both Heath and Wilson are just as bad as each other…they`re two of a kind.
“This present Government has got to go. Heath isn`t going to last for very long, and before you know it, he`ll be out. And as for the police – they should all retire. I mean they`re all disgusting…England is just falling to pieces.”
Suddenly Jagger clapped his hands together and in a loud voice he bellowed, “There`s absolutely no solidarity.” It was an action which momentarily attracted the attention of Keith Richard, who popped out from the control room.
Jagger`s opinion was: “The trouble is that English people take everything lying down. Nobody is going to feel sorry for England if the people continue to take everything in this position.
“For instance, you can serve cold potatoes to English people for ever – and they won`t send them back.
“From what I can see, it seems as though the only people who care nowadays are the kids. And everything`s being done to keep them down.”
Adding more fuel to the fire, Jagger suggested that: “People shouldn`t take any notice of the Tory Government, period. Or whatever Bills they pass. I think that all those kids who are over 18 years old, and even those who aren`t old enough to vote, should openly register their disapproval by assembling a large crowd.
“Despite what the Government says the people should still go ahead and have a few rock festivals and then see what happens. As far as I can see this thing is being done very underhanded…it`s all very nasty.”
Jagger concedes that sufficient space, catering and sanitary facilities should be of prime importance at festivals. But he added: “Most of the British festivals have been all right. Even the Isle of Wight was quite peaceful.
“Quite frankly I don`t know what the Government is worried about. But maybe they`re not worried. They just wanna have a go at the kids.
“Let`s face it, the Tories aren`t in a good position. And if they get away with this Bill, then they`re really going to try and enforce other measures to restrict people`s freedom.
“If they banned football matches then they`d see some trouble. Just let them start that – and see what happens.”
Jagger says he regards the Night Assemblies Bill as just an initial move by the British Government to suppress and limit the freedom of this country`s youth…in the very same way, he says, that other European nations have clamped down.
“For instance,” he began, “you can`t do anything in France. They keep the kids totally tied down and in the gutter. Italy is just the same, and it looks as though these same kind of restrictions are going to be enforced in England.
“Since they came into power, Heath`s Government has succeeded in making a mess of just about everything. They started off with Rhodesia…sold arms to South Africa…and got involved in a terrible mess in Ireland.
“None of these things should have happened, but they did, and Heath has only made things worse. And if that`s not enough we had the miner`s strike.”
Jagger then voiced the opinion that among the worst offenders against freedom was the BBC in that not only did it have a monopoly, but control the freedom of speech on radio. He offered the mass media`s refusal to air Paul McCartney`s new single as a prime example.
“It`s important we should have our own radio. All the excuses given by the BBC are nothing but pure bullshit. The Tory Government will never give free radio to anybody, because they are afraid that people will say things they don`t approve of.
“All these other reasons are side-issues. The truth is that they are afraid of anyone saying the things that were said on Radio Caroline. You know the kinda things…Up with this, down with that and fuck the Government.”
He concluded: “England has always had a malaise of not caring. People take everything lying down. They are content to let the country be run by a load of misguided right-wingers.”
When I asked Jagger why he felt that Great Britain was no longer Great he gave a wry smile.
“It`s due,” he said, “to me leaving.”
The charts that week in musical history.
This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mama Cass, Another Jagger interview, Don McLean, Humble Pie, Family, Paul Samwell-Smith, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Randy Newman, Michael Jackson, Ian Hunter, The Hollies, Ian Gillan.
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