GOD GAVE HIM EVERYTHING HE WANTS
And Look! It’s All Here! On Display!
After mainlining triptophan for 12 hours, it’s likely that the majority of Mick Jagger’s aging domestic fanbase were lying catatonic in their Barcoloungers by the start of “Being Mick,” ABC’s documentary of the legendarily rooster-like Rolling Stone. But even if those in Jagger’s near-septegenarian agegroup had skipped a fourth and fifth helping of green bean casserole to see the show, they may have been left scratching their heads. Because if “Being Mick” illustrated anything, it’s that Jagger’s new solo material is banking on a much younger demographic than his regular gig’s bombastic tours and schlocky studio work normally aims for. Filmed by documentarian Kevin MacDonald (One Day In September), “Being Mick” is a decidedly MTV-esque (think of that network’s “Diary” series, and you’re close) look inside Jagger’s bizarre world; a place populated by enormous homes, numerous children, plenty of jet-setting, and – of course – Lenny Kravitz.
The nice thing to see is that Jagger doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of him. He doesn’t apologize for his, er, “bohemian” approach to love and marriage; in fact, he jokes with one of his twentysomething daughters, promising her that he won’t date anyone younger than her. The documentary paints Mick as an aging, yet still vital English Gentleman who is as happy showing off his collection of 18th century oils as he is grooving in a studio with Wyclef Jean. Now, as it has been noted here at GloNo, this is TV, and it is sweeps week, and “Being Mick” is at its core an extremely expensive ad for his new record. But like it or not, Mick Jagger didn’t become impossibly, sickeningly rich and famous without a little bit of talent. And “Being Mick” does succeed at proving that the man is, in fact, an impossibly, sickeningly rich rock star who still has some talent. At first, the sequence chronicling Jagger’s visit to Jean’s studio to record the final track on Goddess In The Doorway seems oddly incongruous. As Clef and Mick do a faux electric slide side by side, Jean’s posse looks on with puzzled glances. Read: “Yeah, I know he’s Mick Jagger, but GODDAMN, that white boy’s old!!” But this is followed by a shot of said white boy laying down his vocals to a track playing in his headset. With his voice all we can hear, Jagger shimmies and shakes, flails wildly and smacks his lips, obviously enjoying the song and his vocal. It amounts to not only a testament to his still-strong voice; it also acts as a clinic for those burgeoning rockstars in short pants over at MTV who seem to use their “Diary” platform as an excuse to bitch and moan about how tough touring is. Jagger takes it in stride, finishes his vocal track, and before we know it is relaxing in the limo, chatting politely on a cell phone about his excitement over working with Jean. All in a day’s work for an aging Glimmer Twin.
In another vignette, Mick jets to Miami Beach for a session with Lenny Kravitz. Upon entering Lenny’s lair, one of Jagger’s pals describes the combination home/studio as a rock star’s 21st century vision of a 60s rocker’s intergalactic bachelor pad wetdream. Or something like that. Which would also describe Kravitz’ production of “God Gave Me Everything I Want,” a crunchy, double-tracked slice of rawk that, if it didn’t sound almost exactly like Lenny’s own new single, would be the perfect re-introduction of Jagger to a new generation. (Or maybe that’s exactly the point…). But that’s just good ol’ Lenny, continuing to one-hour martinize the greasy, analog work of his 60s and 70s AOR heroes.
Either way, when at the end of “Being Mick” the man of the hour takes the stage in LA for the song’s premier performance, his funky chicken in stride as he fronts a band of well-coifed young guns, Jagger tears into the aggressive vocal with mirth that suggests he’s still virile in more ways than one. Whatever you think of Mick’s opulent lifestyle, his past (or current) dalliances, or his charmingly detached austerity, at 58 he’s still a rocker. And in the end, perhaps that’s what being Mick Jagger is really all about.