Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

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Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

Post  edygee on Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:30 pm

'It was all very secret so I set up the Supergrass Police': Mick Jagger's new supergroup with Joss Stone and Dave Stewart

By Louise Gannon

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2034666/SuperHeavy-Mick-Jaggers-new-group-Joss-Stone-Dave-Stewart.html#ixzz1XdANp3T1

Live tells the inside story of how five of the greatest talents in music came together – across four continents, on board a luxury superyacht and in utmost secrecy – to record an album that is set to redefine the term ‘supergroup’

Under the blinding glare of the Los Angeles sun, on the same dusty Paramount New
York street lot where The Godfather was filmed, a jumbled crew of cameramen,
anxious assistants, exhausted runners and jaded punk extras all stare as a great
boom of sound blares from a hastily constructed, battered voodoo shop frontage
– pitched completely at odds against the iconic Forties brownstones.

There’s a momentary, familiar high-pitched wail. Then the battered doors crash
open and Mick Jagger, in a tight neon-pink suit and Panama hat, struts into the
sunlight, his feet in cerise Nikes kicking up dirt as he leaps through a series
of perfectly co-ordinated vocal and physical twists, effortlessly spinning a
pair of female dancers as he sings the opening lines of Miracle Worker.

Nobody moves, spellbound by what they’re watching. Even the jaw on the most
scary-looking punk has dropped open. Joss Stone, sitting just feet away on a
pavement, is completely fixated. Then Jagger stops, walks over to a monitor,
frowning as he scrutinises the reel with ex-Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart.

Eventually, Jagger nods to Stewart and says in his ultra-liquid London drawl,
‘OK guys, let’s go again.’

This is an extraordinary event. Live magazine is the only UK publication invited
to witness the filming of Jagger’s latest venture. SuperHeavy is a
collaboration between Jagger, Stewart, Stone, Damian Marley (son of reggae
legend Bob Marley) and Indian-born Oscar-winning soundtrack writer AR Rahman.

Over a period of four days we were given unprecedented access to the performers
as the final touches were put to a project that has taken two years, crossed
four continents, involved one of the world’s largest superyachts, the personal
assistance of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the input of America’s answer to
Banksy, Shepard Fairey, not to mention levels of secrecy MI5 would be proud of
(more of this later), to achieve. The outcome is a wholly unexpected return of
the musicians’ collective ideal of the Sixties and Seventies – the supergroup.

'In a room full of musicians it doesn't take long to work out the dynamics,' said Jagger

As Dave Stewart says, ‘It was all totally secret and we kept it that way for a
hell of a long time, which is amazing given the people concerned. This was a
journey that could only really develop if it was given space without the rest of
the world putting their expectations on it.

'It was essential we kept it secret. We had a codename for recording studios –
DD Jam – and when a few people got to hear about Joss and Mick being in a
session together it was put out that it was a Nokia campaign.

‘We recorded all over the place: LA, Jamaica, Turkey, Italy, Greece, India,
Miami. We had people coming in at different times, different places. Paul Allen
lent us his boat (a 414ft megayacht called Octopus with two helicopters, two
submarines and a jet-ski dock). Mick would check in under names like Mr Gibson
3.3 – all very Ocean’s Eleven.’

Hours later, in a suite at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, Mr Gibson 3.3 – Mick
Jagger – is chilling before being driven off to a dance lesson where he will
perfect his moves for tomorrow’s filming.

He is dressed in a peacock-blue cotton shirt and steel-grey trousers cut in the
skinny, tapered style of a Sixties beatnik. His brown hair remains
anti-establishment shoulder length and his face is a Francis Bacon portrait –
fantastically riven by a life as extreme as you could get, untouched by surgery
and defiantly his own.

Talking to Jagger is like trying to grasp mercury. He smiles and laughs, jokes
and parries his way around questions. As it turns out, maintaining absolute
secrecy was the least of his concerns.

‘I never found it that hard,’ he says. ‘I was worried about Dave because he
often blabs when he’s talking and then my brother (Chris) said something. But if
you want to keep things private you can. Dave blagged Paul Allen’s boat and we
recorded vocals sailing round Greece and Turkey; boats are very private places.
Fake names in recording sessions, keep it simple… you know.’

'It's good, I'm really happy with it. You sit back, you let others do their
thing. You have your go, then you let the others go. It's a good process. I'm
interested to see what happens next, move on,' said Jagger

Ask him what it was like playing with a completely new band and he grins.

'Well, it was really great but really pressured. Great because it’s good to
challenge, to do something different; pressure because day one, we got into a
room, no one had written anything, none of us had worked together as a group. I
knew Damian’s dad but not really him or AR (Rahman). Then, me and Dave are
sitting there with guitars and everyone is sort of looking at the guys with the

Were the others looking to him specifically because he was the legend in the

‘Well, I dunno about that. Definitely the oldest, the senior. But in a room full
of musicians it doesn’t take long to work out the dynamics. I’ve known Dave and
worked with him for the past 25 years on projects like Alfie and Ruthless People
and just doing our own stuff together.

'And Joss has opened for the Stones. I knew what singing with Joss was actually
like and I hung out with her. I know she talks all the time and she is always up
and laughing spontaneously. She is not like some broody, moody kind of girl who
sits in the corner and you don’t know what she’s thinking. She’s telling you
what she is thinking all the time, which is quite good really. And she sings all
the time. She sings all her thoughts. I say, “Joss, can I get five minutes off
the singing? Joss, shut up. Joss!”’ Jagger laughs.

‘It’s good, I’m really happy with it. You sit back, you let others do their
thing. You have your go, then you let the others go. It’s a good process. I’m
interested to see what happens next, move on.’

Jagger likes to keep moving; his motto is ‘Don’t look back.’

He nods. ‘I live in the now. But I don’t ever think, “This is amazing, I can’t
believe I’m still doing this.” I am doing it. I’m just doing it. And I don’t
think, “It’s all gone so fast”, because for me it’s still happening. When I
started it was a different century and it seems like it. You move on. This band, this project, it’s all good.’

But it’s impossible to remove Jagger from his extraordinary past and even though
we’re here to talk about SuperHeavy, the ghosts of the Rolling Stones and Keith
Richards swirl around those skinny shoulders.

Richards’ autobiography, Life, torpedoed the fragile partnership of the Glimmer
Twins, as Richards laid in to Jagger for being unbearable and betraying the
ethos of the Stones by accepting a knighthood. Worse, Richards struck at the
core of Jagger’s legend as a lover by boasting he slept with Mick’s girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, and claiming Jagger has a ‘tiny todger’.

As bizarre as it seems, ‘Todgergate’ has led to such a rift between the two that
the Stones’ long-awaited 50th anniversary tour – due for next year – is
currently off, although rumours have emerged recently that lawyers are
desperately trying to broker an agreement between the two men.

I tell Jagger I want to ask him something.

He leans back and smiles, ‘When is the next Rolling Stones mega-tour? I don’t
know really. There isn’t one so far. But there might be anything, anything can
happen. It is the 50th anniversary next year. Everyone kept asking what was the
date of our first ever performance, no one was giving the answer, so I decided I
may as well bloody well find out myself.

‘The first ever performance we did was in July at the Marquee Club in London and
it was billed as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. It was just me and Keith,
Brian (Jones) and a backing band. No one else – no Charlie (Watts), he wasn’t
even there. I remember it exactly. I was 19 years old. Ricky Fenson on bass,
Carlo Little on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano. They all told us to **** off
when we tried to hire them but it was a big deal getting a gig at the Marquee
because it was the hottest London club. It was a jazz club trying to break into

‘The gig was amazing – the drummer was going mad and Nicky was rocking his
electric piano and I remember the crowd going absolutely wild. I was thinking as
I was singing, they obviously have to book us again, this is the most rocking
gig they’ve had in the Marquee ever. But they didn’t. They didn’t let us back in
there for ages because rock was working-class, rubbish music. It didn’t exist on
an intellectual level like jazz. They saw the future and they didn’t like it.
That was our first gig and the people we wanted to get the point just didn’t get

‘Maybe we could go back to the Marquee to accept a plaque for 50 years of
service instead (of a tour). That could work – except Keith can’t obviously
come. Charlie could come but he wouldn’t get the plaque, obviously.’

It is the first time Mick has mentioned Keith. It is clearly not looking good
for any kind of reunion. I ask him if he played the SuperHeavy album to the
Stones (Never Gonna Change is particularly reminiscent of the Stones sound).

‘Ronnie’s listened to it. He’s sweet, he’s very supportive. He liked it very
much, he liked it all, particularly some of the first tracks we started with.
And Charlie liked it. He’s all about the grooves, he’s got a great ear. Charlie
and Ronnie both have their own things but they see the bigger picture. Not
everyone sees the big picture.’

And Keith?

‘I don’t know if Keith really listens to that much. I don’t know what Keith
listens to.’

I tell him Keith is usually quoted as saying he listens to Chuck Berry.

Jagger shrugs: ‘Yeah, that is what he says. I wonder if it is actually true.’

Why, given the forensic detail in Richards’ book, did Jagger take it upon
himself to research details of the Stones’ first gig?

‘It isn’t necessarily correct,’ he says. ‘Everyone’s recollections of these
things are all dim and distanced. It’s a very long time ago. A lot of things
have been taken in the intervening period and your memory of it is different
from one day to the next. Everyone has a different memory of what actually

‘But if someone said to me, you are completely wrong Mick, Charlie played at the
Marquee gig, here’s a picture – well maybe I was wrong. I don’t remember it like
that but maybe he was there. But you see, then, that picture might have come
from the October gig in the Marquee and who’s to know? And so the point is that
somewhere around there, there was a band called the Rolling Stones but the actual first gig in July was not with Charlie or Bill (Wyman).’

‘It was all very secret so I set up the Supergrass Police. Word spreads. We had
to keep this under wraps’ – ‘The Lynchpin’, aka Dave Stewart

'We both talk about obscure blues bands, we both laugh at the same things,' said
Stewart of Jagger

In his hi-tech offices on Hollywood Boulevard, opposite the old Capitol Records
building, Dave Stewart is sifting through Shepard Fairey’s drawings of a tiger,
the SuperHeavy logo. He rolls up his sleeve and shows me a tattoo of the same
image on his arm.

On the walls are framed albums from Stevie Nicks, Bryan Ferry, George Harrison,
Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Bono. Stewart has worked with

Those who remember Stewart as the guy who stood behind Annie Lennox in the
Eurythmics need to reassess. In America Stewart is huge; he has his own label,
he makes films and he writes books on business.

His book The Business Playground (including Jagger’s own account of his business
style), was so well received he is invited to lecture by major companies all
around the world. Jay-Z asks him for advice, Bob Dylan (a member of supergroup
the Traveling Wilburys, who recorded in his home studio) counts him as his
closest friend. In his custom-made fedora (he has them made at Lock & Co in St
James’s) and shades Stewart is a Sunderland-born reinvention of Andy Warhol.
SuperHeavy was his idea.

‘I’ve loved reggae music since Annie (Lennox) and I used to share a squat above
a reggae dub shop in Crouch End. Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill used to come
and trade their records and you’d hear these sounds blasting.

'Years later I was at my home in Jamaica and one night I heard all these sounds
coming from all different areas, from these huge sound systems – reggae, rock,
blues. I thought, that was what I wanted to do, bring all these different sounds
together in one band.’

This musical cocktail, mixed with a uniquely Eastern sound, made him think of
all the great musicians he’d worked with, from Jagger to his friend AR Rahman,
and whetted his appetite. Stewart first met Mick in 1984. Their bond, he says,
was forged in ‘blues and a shared sense of humour’.

‘We both talk about obscure blues bands, we both laugh at the same things. He
was my first call. We came up with names: Joss was obvious because of the voice
and the fact we’ve both worked with her, like her and rate her. No one has a
voice like Joss Stone. I’ve known Damian since he was nine and AR for 12 years.
Mick was just up for the idea – “Go for it. Do it.” He’s like that. He commits.
It wasn’t about egos, it was about getting a bunch of musicians together.

‘I was the lynchpin, organising, pulling things together. Everyone just got
here when they could. It was all very secret so I set up the Supergrass Police,
getting people to check Facebook sites, MySpace. Any studio you turn up in,
other musicians look in saying, “Hey, what’s going on there?” Word spreads.
Engineers may make a comment on Twitter.

'This was two years in the making, we had to keep it under wraps. Mick was
great, he never says a word to anyone. I called in Shepard to help; he wanted to
hear the music. He loved the idea and came up with this perfect image.

‘What was different was when we got in a room. That was the end of the planning.
There was no music. We had to write, do it as we were there. That’s pretty
exposing for a lot of people and it was a good way of just getting everyone’s
ideas going.

'Joss would sit there with the notepad, everyone throwing in ideas. It was
Damian who kept riffing with this line, “Super-heavy, super-heavy”. We loved
that and then Mick and I work in a similar way. It was pretty fascinating to get
all these different people writing songs together. Egos go, you become
musicians, you talk in this musicians’ shorthand.’

Stewart is often described as an eccentric yet, like Jagger, he is a man of
absolute discipline. His day begins at 8am – coconut juice, a trainer and then
work. He works till 7.30pm and then leaves.

‘I was working with Stevie Nicks recently and she couldn’t believe I’d walk out
of the recording studio the same time every day. But I’ve learnt that creativity
has to be rested to stop it burning out. I did that in my Eurythmics days. Now
I understand how to work, how others work – how to make it the best.’

‘I didn’t tell Prince William or Kate Middleton about the project. Definitely not. They are lovely people, but I kept it quiet’ – ‘The Outsider’, aka Joss Stone

'I love Dave, I love Mick - he's always having a go at me for smoking - and I loved this idea,' said Stone

Next day on set, 24-year-old Joss Stone is waiting in her trailer to be called
on set. She is rolling tobacco into a cigarette paper as a hairdresser works on her hair. For her, this project was a gift.

‘I’ve been in this business almost half my life. I’ve been signed by a label,
fought with a label (she paid millions to get herself out of a contract with EMI
two years ago), been forced to make certain albums, told I couldn’t make others
and now I’m at the stage of my life where my attitude is very simple: if you
want to do something and you think it’s great, just do it. Don’t let anything
stop you.

‘I love Dave, I love Mick – he’s always having a go at me for smoking – and I
loved this idea. I got two more friends out of it and most of all I got an
education in songwriting from Mick. I sort of felt I was getting my songwriting

Stone is a one-off. Having rebelled against the celebrity culture she was once
so caught up in (as a teenager she was one of the most famous singers in the UK
and U.S. but a disastrous incident at The Brits in 2007 in which she gave a
speech in a strange American accent saw her ridiculed by the press), she remains
on the outskirts of the industry.

She has no official manager, runs her own home-grown record label and leads the
lifestyle of a Devon hippie. Prior to being called by Stewart to make a solo
album, she had taken off to Spain in her second-hand camper van without heating,
with her dogs and lived in a boatyard for a month and a half while a friend
fixed up his boat.

Her new album, LP1, was recorded simultaneously with SuperHeavy. Her
recollections of working with Mick shed a fascinating light on one of history’s
greatest songwriters.

‘My style with lyrics has just been to blurt what I think on to the page and
think, “Great, that’s words.” And you have to remember, when we were getting
together the idea was to come up with songs fairly quickly. So I was thinking,
just get words down, words, words words. Fill up a page.

‘I’d sit in a room with Mick. I had the notepad so I was the one writing. Mick
kept stopping me – he’d go over every word. There would be an expression like
“there’s the rub” and he’d look at it and ask me if I knew where the expression
came from, that it was from Shakespeare, and why it would be right or wrong and
why maybe using an older sort of word afterwards would work.

'I know she talks all the time and she is always up and laughing spontaneously.
She is not like some broody, moody kind of girl who sits in the corner and you
don't know what she's thinking,' said Jagger of Stone

‘The one big row we had was over his idea and my idea of soul. He then started
explaining how “soul” was derived from French and how it was a much broader
school than I thought. He is so unbelievably knowledgeable about literature,
music, music history, classical music. When we finished the sessions he gave me
a really old book of Shakespeare sonnets. He really made me think about lyrics,
about words – he was like the best teacher I’ve ever had.’

Like the others, Stone had to swear the oath of secrecy.

‘I definitely kept it quiet. I never really talk about what I’m doing to anyone.
You’d sound like a bit of a show-off in my local pub banging on about being in a
recording studio with Damian Marley and Mick Jagger. I didn’t tell Prince
William or Kate Middleton about it either, definitely not. They are lovely
people and they are interested in what I do but I didn’t mention it.’

Stone had her own dramas to contend with. When her name came up in the top five
of Britain’s richest female singers, a plot to kidnap and murder her was
uncovered, with police arresting two men just yards from her home. The case has
yet to go to court, but Stone is seemingly untroubled by the hideous twist.

‘You know what?’ she says. ‘My life has been so bizarre, so extreme, that this
just seems to fit into the madness of all of it. It’s not going to make me
change anything in my life. It’s not going to make me move or act in a different
way. Why would I? If you do that then you are allowing someone to get to you,
to affect you, to change you. I actually laugh about it now. I’m not going to
be a crazy, paranoid person who’s afraid of the world.

‘I am actually thinking about writing a thank-you note to those guys. The whole
thing has meant I can get two more dogs. I have three already and my mum says
that’s enough, but now I think, just get two more for protection. So a good
thing has come out of it.’

Unsurprisingly Stone is not big on ego. She is protective of Jagger as ‘a really
nice guy’.

‘It was a genuine collaboration,’ she says of working with SuperHeavy. ‘You can
hear everyone, everyone’s voice, everyone’s musical fingerprint. It’s all
clearly there.’

On set there is trailer equality; each artist has an identical-sized van.
Outside his, AR Rahman, an Indian prodigy who won an Oscar for his score for
Slumdog Millionaire, is somewhat bemused by the razzmatazz of his surroundings –
and worried about having to be driven in a vintage Chevrolet through the Miracle
Worker video set.

Before SuperHeavy he was only vaguely aware of Jagger.

‘Growing up in India pop music was Michael Jackson, Queen and Pink Floyd. I
never heard of the Stones. Mick is a very nice man but I keep meaning to go and
listen to his music. It was a very wonderful, different experience for me.

‘Being on the yacht was totally amazing. There was a studio there and everyone
relaxed and drank – except me because I don’t drink. I did a lot of work and it
was very fun and creative – lots of swimming off the boat. I missed going down in the submarine but I gained from being with these people. Joss has an
extraordinary voice and Mick has real magic in him. You have to watch him, hear

With a face poignantly reminiscent of his father and dreadlocks scraping the
floor, Damian Marley emerges from his trailer to talk as the session starts to

‘Mick knew my dad but I only knew of him through the Stones’ Satisfaction,
that’s it. Dave and Mick are both geniuses in my opinion. They got this thing
together, mixed a great cocktail, young and old, east and west.’

Back at his hotel, Jagger is in good spirits. The initial reception to Miracle
Worker is very positive and a buzz is starting to build about the album. Stewart
is already talking of a tour – and a festival. Mick laughs.

‘That’s Dave, he loves ideas,’ he says. ‘If people love it and they want it then
we’ll do gigs. If they can’t be bothered we won’t do them.’

Jagger still goes to gigs: ‘I like small venues, the smaller the better. It’s
more fun for me – you get the touchy-feely thing.’

His current favourites include Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

‘I watched Beyoncé at Glastonbury on television. I was impressed, really
impressed; she has come on miles and miles. She’s a very up-to-date, very modern
version of Tina Turner. I rate Lady Gaga too – good musician, good songwriter
, good piano player.’

It is said that Tina Turner taught Jagger to dance. He laughs.

‘I don’t ever remember Tina giving me any tips. I think I was giving her tips,
wasn’t I?’

He puts on his campest voice: ‘Swish that dress dear, come on. No, no, no.’

He grins. ‘I think that’s actually how it went.’

At 68 Mick Jagger is ridiculously fit.

‘I’m still a 28in waist, same as I was at 19. I’ve got good stamina. You watch
what you eat, you exercise, you have a bit of fun. You keep on going forward.
Don’t stop. Do what makes you happy. Don’t look at the clouds of tomorrow
through the sunshine of today. That’s it.’


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Re: Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

Post  Sophie on Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:05 am

Thanks for posting Edy!! Wink

Fabulous photos too:


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Re: Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

Post  ana_camilo on Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:50 am

wonderful pics! Very Happy

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Re: Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

Post  bryan1 on Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:19 am

ana_camilo wrote:wonderful pics! Very Happy


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Re: Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

Post  Matt on Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:37 am

Good article and wonderful pictures thanks Wink

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Re: Daily Mail - "Monster" article about SuperHeavy/great photos

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