Fathers of rock ‘n’ roll promise grand show
DETROIT – “Big Al Muskavito, the Dick Purtan Show, WOMC Detroit. Question for Mr. Jagger: How are you, sir? I have reason to believe you may be my father.”
Mick Jagger peered out into an ocean of maybe a thousand journalists and 150 television cameras until he spied his inquisitor – bald, 50ish, with a face, body and chutzpah made for radio.
“There’s a great similarity in resemblance,” Jagger finally allowed.
Super Bowl week reached halftime on Thursday – the median of a forced march through numbing interviews, pointless photo ops, forced fun and celebrity schmooze. Blessedly, along came the halftime entertainment for Super Bowl XL – the Rolling Stones.
On a brief hiatus from their “A Bigger Bang” tour, Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood blew into the Renaissance Center for a news conference with their target demographic – white males ages 30 to 65, who make up about 95 percent of the Super Bowl media herd.
Their appearance at XL is not without some controversy, as a number of veteran Motown acts have voiced their displeasure that they aren’t the featured performers at such a big bash in their city – though the NFL has tried to make amends by bringing in Stevie Wonder to headline the pre-game show and Aretha Franklin to sing the National Anthem.
Still, the Stones were asked if their 12-minute gig Sunday might include a Motown homage.
“You mean are we going to do a Marvin Gaye tune?” said Jagger.
Not likely. Indeed, won’t it be a challenge for the Stones to boil down their massive repertoire to three numbers?
“It’s hard boiling,” Richards agreed.
With the comedic value of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s baldness and Steelers popoff Joey Porter’s psycho act waning, at least the press got some satisfaction from the Stones on Thursday – as when Jagger was asked if being booked for the Super Bowl meant American mainstream culture had adopted the Stones’ famous excesses or if the Stones had been swallowed up by mainstream America.
Both, Jagger suggested.
“Although both of us,” he winked, “still have those ‘core values’ intact.”
And surely in the wake of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl two years ago, the NFL had to be nervous about what Mick and Keith might pull.
“Well, network television is always worried about how many times you’re going to say bleep on the air,” Jagger said. “And the big crisis this week is that they heard Aretha was going to strip while she was doing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ ”
Wouldn’t even the Stones get nervous playing in front of a worldwide audience estimated at 1 billion?
“After a quarter of a million,” said Richards, “we stop counting.”
Apparently, the same goes with birthdays. At 62, Jagger and Richards remain rock’s favorite fossils – though apparently beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Richards was reminded of the joke that after nuclear war, the only living things left standing will be himself and the cockroaches.
“What are you going to do to outlive the cockroaches?” he was asked.
“I’m gonna eat ‘em,” he said.
But New York Vinnie of Seattle’s KIRO Radio – think Big Al Muskavito with a little more hair and a lot more waistline – wanted to know of Jagger, “How do you keep looking so young?”
“What a sweetheart,” Jagger answered. “Now this guy is my father.”