SECTION TWO           


(Copyright © 2000 Al Aronowitz)



[The following piece originally appeared in the March/April 1975 issue of MHF&M]

"I 'aven't seen it ye-et," he told me in that near-incomprehensible lace-­curtain cockney lilt of his.  Mick Jagger is such a perfect actor that even if you miss a few words he makes you understand what he is saying. We were talking on the phone, he at the Plaza Hotel in New York, me at my home in Jersey.  He had come in from London to finish up some overdubs on the Stones' Munich album, and the devilish grin of his voice told me he really wouldn't mind taking a look at the book but he wasn't going to be forced into asking for a copy.  Mick has his own absolute standards of politeness.  

"Is it ou' in th' Sta­eets?' he asked.

What could I do?  Let it become part of Tony Scaduto's personal history that I, his former friend who nearly got into a fist fight with him over his Dylan book, was the first person to give his Mick Jagger book to Mick Jagger.

The book?  Mick Jagger: Everybody's Lucifer, published by David McDay.

As pure journalism, it wasn't entirely an improvident move on my part.  At least I'd be the first to get Mick's initial reaction.  He asked me if I'd read it yet.

"Y' know he never talked to me-e," Mick said, "an' not one of the' Rollin' Stones w'd talk t'im either.  'E din' get close on th' inside.  Y' know, he talked t' people 'ho knew people."

By that time I was a third into the book.  I was looking at it with a very jaundiced eye and I told Mick I thought the whole opening section appeared to be a lift off the series Marianne Faithful had written, an exposé of her life with Mick in The News of the World or some such English paper.  I didn't know because I hadn't read what she had written; it was just a malicious guess.  I told Mick that I used to sit at a desk next to Tony at the New York Post and he was always a master at clip Jobs.  So far, that’s what the book seemed like: a very masterful clip job.  I could tell, I said, because I was always a master at clip jobs myself.

Mick felt he had been burned by Marianne's memoirs.  Burned and maybe damaged, but mostly burned.  You live with a woman, you whisper to her all the combinations to the locks on your closet and then she goes out and sells the skeletons.  Mick hoped she got a lot of money for it.

"But the boo' must be dull," he said.  "Mus' be boring."

"Well, no, not dull," I said.  "It ain't got no poetry to it.  It don't scam. But it's interesting because you're interesting.  I mean I learned a few things about you that I didn't know before."

Mick laughed.  He may not really be everybody's Lucifer, but he knows how to play the role.  Sure, he's ruthless.  That's the case that Scaduto makes against him in the book.  But is Scaduto any less ruthless?  Am I? I'll always remember Tony writing a piece up at

Mick bit off the tip of his tongue
in a gymnastics accident.
Did that make him sound 'blacker'?

the Post about how the Junior Mafia closed down Steve Paul's Scene, New York's great cellar rock club of the ‘60s.

I asked Tony why he was writing it for some underground mag instead of the Post.

"I want to make a splash in rock and roll," he said.

"Shall I throw it ou' now?" Mick grinned when I handed him the book in his Plaza suite.  He waved it toward an open parkside window.  The music of America was wafting in from the Schaefer Festival in Central Park.  He said a few other things but I didn't catch all the words.  One of the tidbits I learned from the book was that Mick had bitten off the tip of his tongue in a gymnastics accident when he was in school.  According to Tony, Mick liked what the accident did to his diction.  It made him sound Blacker.

When I saw Mick a day or so later, he mentioned the book only once:

"There never was any knife fight between me and Brian," he said.  He was talking about an episode in the beginning of the book where Marianne makes him take a drive to Brian Jones' house in the months before Brian drowned.

"Can you imagine this scene of me an' Brian in a duel wi' knives?" he grinned.  "Another figment of Marianne's clouded brain!"

That's all he said about the book.  He left for London shortly afterwards with my copy.  I would have liked to finish reading it, although from what I saw of it, it's not a book that will go into any classics library.  But then again, it's not dull.  Tony would have had to try a lot harder to make a book about Mick Jagger dull. ##  



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