Wednesday, January 2, 2008
(part 16) SHRIMPTON, JAMESON, AND JAGGER
Jagger and Shrimton
Meeting Mick Jagger was the agenda for the day. I was still wiped out by jet lag, but I pushed it aside as we rode the London taxi to our destination. It looked like an old warehouse when we got there, but then everything in England was old looking to me. I was used to California, where something new popped up every day, so London was an experience everywhere I went.
Lee paid the cab and we found a door that appeared to be the way in, according to the instructions we were given for finding the place. Peter, Lee, and I walked inside and started guessing at how we were supposed to find anyone. We finally reached a point in the hall that was blocked off by a metal fence of sorts with a gate or door for entering.
Seated at a small wooden table on a chair was a very attractive girl with a notebook and pencil, who I guessed was taking names of visitors. It was Chrissie Shrimpton, Jagger's girl friend. She was the first one to greet us. "Hi," I said, "I'm Bobby!" "Bobby Jameson from America," she said, looking right at me. "We've been expecting you. My name is Chrissie." "Ah well yeah, hello! This is Peter Caine and Lee Karsian. They came to England with me, and." I felt like such a jerk. I was mumbling and stumbling like some kind of schoolboy.
"Andrew's in the studio finishing up on something," she said, "but he shouldn't be long. Would you like some tea or coffee?" she asked? We gladly excepted and named our preferences. As she left we all looked at each other, and Peter said, "God is she good looking!" "Yeah!" I said, "I think she's Jagger's girl friend. She's really pretty." I lit up a cigarette and dragged on it trying to look calm, but inside my nerves were on edge and the anticipation of what was coming next was beating my head in.
After a few minutes Shrimpton returned with a couple of cups, and left to retrieve more. When she came back the second time, Mick was with her. I stared at him for a moment, trying to make sure it was him and just blurted out "Hi Mick!" I started walking toward him to shake his hand. Peter and Lee straightened up as if at attention as Mick and I greeted each other.
Strangely enough he was really low key and kind of bashful it seemed. It surprised me, because the only picture I had in my head of him was The Rolling Stones playing "NOT FADE AWAY" and Mick's vocal. So a low key Mick Jagger in person was pretty different than what I had expected. After I introduced Peter and Lee, Mick and I kind of moved off to the side to size one another up. After asking about our flight over, Mick moved directly to the subject of America.
He wanted to know as much as I could tell him in the short amount of time we would have to talk together. He asked about The Beatles and said, "They're really huge over there aren't they?" "Yeah," I said, "but you guys are just about as big." Then the strangest thing happened. Mick said, "No way man, no way." "No, really Mick," I said, "The Stones are just about as big there as The Beatles." He just stared at me, as if he were trying to figure out whether I was bullshitting him or not. "You're having me on mate," he said smiling, "you're just having me on."
I figured, "having me on" was the English version of, "you're putting me on." "No, I'm not," I insisted, "I'm telling you the truth." He then seemed to know I was telling him what I really believed. "Look," I said, "When I was in Cleveland, that's a big city in the US," I didn't know if he knew or not, "they were running a contest on the biggest radio station there, to see who was more popular, The Rolling Stones or The Beatles, and it was pretty much of a tie," I told him, "You guys are really big in America. Like it's The Beatles and you."
He just stared at me. He seemed to be waiting for the punch line that never came. He could not believe what I was telling him, but then again he couldn't not believe it. I'll never forget how surprised I was to find out that day that he really didn't know how incredibly huge The Rolling Stones were in America. The look on his face when I first told him will stay with me forever.