By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
April 1964: I'm a junior at Mohave County Union High School (nickname "Mucous"). My mother is driving me to Vegas to go see a skin doctor. I hear a song on the radio called "Time Is on My Side." The DJ says it's by a new group called the Rolling Stones. My mother rolls her eyes.
A lot of popular girls at MCUHS think Mick Jagger is really ugly. I think, "Man, this is weird. These same girls think the same thing about me!"
I decide that if a bunch of ugly guys from England can make a record and shag chicks, so can a bunch of ugly guys from Kingman. I start a band called the Exits with my friend Charlie Waters. I play drums. No record; lots of shagging, though--which is really the important part.
September 1965: Mick is forced to change the words to "Let's Spend the Night Together," and sing, "Let's spend some time together," on The Ed Sullivan Show. He rolls his eyes facetiously each time he gets to the chorus. I'm watching on the floor of my parents' tract house on Ricca Drive in Kingman, Arizona.
My dad rolls his eyes. Always the free-thinker, I decide I hate the Rolling Stones.
September 1967: I'm living off campus at the University of Arizona, and my neighbors on North Euclid are two Phoenix guys. Both went to Brophy and love the Stones. I tell them I hate the Stones, but they put on "Let's Spend the Night Together" and I slowly start to cave, both emotionally and spiritually.
Mick is busted for drugs in London and spends the night in a holding cell. Almost on the same day, my new Stones friends and I decide to make a road trip. We get busted on Canal Street in Nogales, Sonora, for bringing our own beer (Velvet Glow, 79 cents a six-pack!) into a whorehouse. I spend the night in a holding cell.
July 1969: Mick is watching the telly and witnesses the first man to walk on the moon. I'm watching, too, in a drugstore in Wickenburg.
November 1969: I see the Rolling Stones at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum. They are two hours late, because they'd been partying at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. I helped pay for that mansion. Mick remarks that American kids have gotten a bit hipper since the last tour. He notes, "You're not dressing like your parents anymore." Ever the rebel, I still am.
During this same tour, a conservative newspaper columnist sniffs that Mick sings about as well as, say, "every sixth person in the phone book." I think to myself, "Hey, so do I!"
February 1970: I quit the drums and start singing lead and dancing like Mick in a local band called Smokey. John Lennon said he never liked all that "faggot dancing." He's not alone. While we are playing at the Library in Tempe, the bartender yells out between songs, "You dance like a queer!" so I say back on the mike, "You would know." The big jock throws a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's at me, and it hits the edge of the stage right next to my head and explodes. Later, I see a photo of Keith Richards drinking out of a half-full bottle of Jack Daniel's. He looks like he is about to implode.
I'm making $10 a night. Mick is making $10,000. The only things that separate us at this point are talent, originality and a few lousy zeros.
October 1971: The movie Performance comes out. In it, Mick does this gay, androgynous thing. I think about going bisexual for the '70s, but I ultimately decide against it. I'm just not neat enough, and I didn't need nor want the rejection from another life group.
November 1972: I drive to Tucson to see the Stones at the Civic Center. The people sitting next to us are from Glendale, and they look exhausted. They've already missed the opening act, Stevie Wonder, who played drums for some strange reason. It turns out the Glendale people were stoned, forgot their tickets, got to the Convention Center, couldn't get in, had to drive all the way back to Glendale and find the tickets and speed back to the concert. They didn't appear even to enjoy the show. Bummer.
Just offstage is Linda Ronstadt. We can see her from our angle. Mick is having an affair with her, and she's there to be by her man and sing on "Tumblin' Dice."
I later play in a honky-tonk band at the Red Rooster on Benson Highway outside Tucson. Our lead guitar player is the guy who took Linda to L.A., and he's bitter. He says Linda started sleeping around as soon as they got there, and when he quickly soured on L.A. and decided to come home, he had to go to five different record producers' houses to get his stuff. Ouch. When I quit the Red Rooster band, I had to go to five different houses to get my Stones albums! And the Stones recorded a song called "Little Red Rooster"! Gettin' kind of heavy, eh?
Later in '72: Mick sings back-up on Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," which many people assume to be about Jagger himself. Jagger begins wearing too much makeup and actually starts to look like Carly, or maybe Liza Minnelli. Later, on KSLX radio, I dress like a woman with too much makeup (the Bozina Show) and go to Pischke's in Scottsdale. A bunch of sexist men who were hanging out there make fun of my figure and my looks. One of them says I look a whole lot like Liza.