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Mick Jagger: ‘I’m glad we’re doing it [the tour] I know Charlie wanted us to’

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Mick Jagger: ‘I’m glad we’re doing it [the tour] I know Charlie wanted us to’

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the band’s never-before-released song “Troubles A’ Comin” (a multi-faceted cover of the Chi-Lites original) featured on the upcoming newly remastered 40th anniversary edition of the chart-topping 1981 album ’Tattoo You’. Jagger tells Zane about going back into the ’Tattoo You’ archives to rediscover the track (originally recoded in Paris in 1972). He also says he wrote a lot of new songs during the pandemic and shares why the group is carrying on with their ‘No Filter’ tour following the passing of Charlie Watts, and why it will be difficult without him.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About The Sadness of Carrying on Without Charlie Watts and Reflects on Recent Time Spent In The Studio With Him…

But without Charlie being there, it’s going to be very difficult. And we’ve got tracks, which obviously have Charlie on them. Yeah. But if we do new things, we won’t. So yeah, and it was very sad. And I worked with Charlie. Actually I did some stuff with him in the studio very recently, while we were doing this ‘Tattoo You’ things, Ronnie was in the studio. Charlie came into the studio. We did some work on ‘Tattoo You’. Charlie did some work on just, just a few fills and stuff like that. And then when we started messing around with some other things, so I’ve worked with him. It seems like only yesterday that I was in the studio with Charlie, joshing around. It’s just so weird and then very sad. And I mean, it’s such a long time that you work with someone like that, and you get to know someone so well and their quirks and their idiosyncrasies and they know yours. And there’s a language in communication with musicians, obviously, or anything else. So you talk about it. It’s difficult talking about music. But so after all this length of time, you have this ease of communication, so to speak with another musician. That’s very rare. I miss that so much.

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Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Embarking on The Group’s ‘No Filter’ Tour Without Charlie Watts…

Some people said, “Oh, well, Charlie, died. He should have not done the tour and stopped.” And then other people would think, “Well …” But the thing about the Rolling Stones, I think, throughout their career has been their resilience in the face of adversity. And we’ve had ups and downs, mostly ups, to be honest. We’ve had adversity, and this was probably one of the most difficult ones. And so we booked the tour with people. We were supposed to have played last year. We couldn’t do it for obvious reasons, because of the pandemic. And I just thought, and I think everyone in the band thought that we should just carry on. After doing the first couple of shows, I think I feel really good about it. But I’m glad we’re doing it. I know Charlie wanted us to do it. I think the audience wants to do it. They seem to. And of course it’s different, and of course, in some ways it’s sad and so on. But I mean, you just go out there and rock out and you feel better, and it’s very cathartic. So I think it’s really good.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Writing Lots of New Songs During The Pandemic…

Especially during the pandemic time, I wrote a lot of new songs. So I’m really interested in doing new things, as well as just redoing these. I mean, I’m aware that these songs, these albums have a significance and importance to people, and obviously to me too. And I enjoy doing the ‘Tattoo You’ things. But while I was doing that, I was writing new things as well. Some things that I write them, I think, “Ah, that’d be great for the Stones.” And somethings I think, “Nah, I don’t think that’s great for the Stones. It’s great, but it’s not for the Stones.”

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Revisiting Unreleased Material…

Someone says to me, “Yeah, but there must be other songs that you recorded that you haven’t …” and I said, “Yes, there’s other songs we recorded, but they’re not finished yet. Muggins has to finish them. But it depends. I mean, I’ve got … I don’t want to put out things that I don’t think are good enough. You know what I mean? Because they’re of historical interest, you know what I mean? But I’d like them to be good as well and interesting and funny or whatever. And sometimes you listen and you go, “That’s really … I can see why we didn’t …” There’s sometimes a reason why you didn’t put it out in the first place.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Going Back Into The ‘Tattoo You’ Archives…

Well, what people do is they hack into whatever archives or they buy it off someone. What they put out is stuff that isn’t finished, or terribly badly mixed or it’s some board mix. So you don’t really hear what it’s really like. You know what I mean? You hear a vague version of it, but you don’t really hear it as a proper recording, like the rest of the albums has been. But for this re-release, I just went through the time … The timeframe is really a wide one, because ‘Tattoo You’ wasn’t an album where we went in and said, “Okay, we spend X months in the studio and we’re going to make this album.” It was a lot of tracks recorded over a long period of time. So I have a long period of time to actually go into the archives and look and to be faithful to that album.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Rediscovering ‘Troubles A’ Comin’ and Adding an Extra Verse…

I started looking in the Jamaica Sessions all the way up to 1979, ’80, where we’re recording in Paris or somewhere like that. ‘Troubles A’ Coming’, that was a cover version. So that’s kind of finished, you know what I mean? Because the song already existed, which is great. Said, “Yeah. I like that one. That’s going to work,” because that’s a song that I have to write the lyrics for. But then in the end, I had to write some lyrics, so it wasn’t enough and for my own, I’ve wrote an extra verse. And then I had to ask them, “I’m sorry, I’ve written an extra verse. Is that all right?” But that was kind of easy, in a way. And then Ronnie put a guitar solo on it. It wasn’t on there. But some of the other ones that … ‘Living in the Heart of Love’, that was almost done. I didn’t have to hardly do anything to that. Ronnie does some extra solos and that. All the vocals were done. There were lyrics over done.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Replicating The Process of Assembling ‘Tattoo You’…

The ‘Tattoo You’ album, we were going on tour. And I think the record company said, “Where’s your album?” And we said, “Well, we don’t have one. We haven’t done one.” And they said, “Well, why don’t you go back and see what you’ve got in the last eight years. You must have something.” So we went back into the studio. Chris Kimsey, who is the engineer/producer, and we looked for tracks. And we found ‘Start Me Up’ and things like that we hadn’t really thought we’d finished, but they were finished. And that’s the same process I had to go through here. So I had to fit, in the original ‘Tattoo You’, we had ‘Start Me Up’. That was all the lyrics there were. And then, so I had to write the lyrics and finish the vocals, and we had to do the guitar parts and the overdubs. And so there were a lot of tracks that had no top lines, they had no tunes, they had no melody and Keith and I worked on those tracks to make those tracks work. So we finished the whole album like that and quite quickly. But I mean, I had to write tons of lyrics. There were tracks with no lyrics. And then we finished the album. That album came out and was quite a bit of success. So really what I did with these extra tracks was just do the same process I did on the original ‘Tattoo You’ album.

Mick Jagger Tells Apple Music About Crafting Set Lists…

What we do is we go into the rehearsal. We’re in the rehearsal place for a while. And then we just go through … I just make … and everyone makes or has ideas about certain numbers. And you just go through the back catalogue and go through the albums. Obviously, we knew that ‘Tattoo You’s coming out. So I’m looking at the track listing and I’m going, “So what could we do?” From that album, that we don’t normally … We’ve done it before, but what could we do? We haven’t done for a while. And so I put a tick down, make a list, and I make tons of lists of these numbers that we’ve done before, but we haven’t done very much. And so I make a list of maybe 50, 60, 70 of those numbers, as well as the obvious ones that we normally do. We run through them, and I throw them out and they go, “No, not that one. Don’t do that.”

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Mick Jagger: ‘I’m glad we’re doing it [the tour] I know Charlie wanted us to’