INTERVIEWING A LEGEND: THRILL OF A LIFETIME S. Ferguson & E. Cavanaugh,
The Evening Gazette,
1 October, 1981
I knew that it was possible that I would have an opportunity to interview Mick Jagger, but I never really believed it until that rainy Monday evening.
I answered the phone in my casual way, and before handing the phone to my father I asked who was calling. "Cathy," she replied. The name rang a bell. Many thoughts raced through my mind. If this was the call telling us that we would be meeting Mick Jagger, what would I wear? What would I say? How would I act?
Sudden Butterflies. When my thoughts became reality, my first thought was I would have to prepare a day-old face and get clothes to wear. (What do you wear to meet a legend?) I had to get rid of the butterflies that had suddenly taken up residence in my stomach. I just knew that something would go wrong.
My companion was Eve Cavanaugh, my aunt and a sophomore at my school, Marianhill in Southbridge. She was so nervous, and afraid that she would sneeze during the interview, but it was really great to see someone so happy to know that we would be meeting a legend.
The ride up to Long View was full of many thoughts. There just was not enough time to prepare myself for what was about to happen. We were ushered into the living room by one of Mr. Jagger's bodyguards, Jim Callahan.
We settled on the couch. Evening Magazine was on T.V. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man. He was thin with dark brown hair, not short but not long. I knew when he put his lips together and slyly glanced our way that it was Mick Jagger. He was wearing jeans and a low-cut V-neck sweater with a blue shirt under it. He was wearing sneakers with green socks.
I knew then that the interview would be even better than I had ever expected. Pointing over towards a man who had a camera, Mick explained that he was going to videotape the entire interview and mail us a copy. He said, "He's going to use us as guinea pigs tonight. We're his first experiment."
When we asked Mick how he liked North Brookfield and the people here, he replied. "It's great. Very much like the town I grew up in. I think the people are very hospitable and very friendly."
He mentioned, "I like Barre and New Braintree especially, out of the towns I saw while I was jogging." He said he jogged several times in New Braintree, by the Adams Farm. It has a red barn in back, he said, and was a beautiful farm.
Next we asked him his impression of Long View. "It was wonderful, peaceful, and the staff treated us great," he said.
I said I had to know if he really jogged. "Yes, I jog every other day for five miles." Of course, after he jogs he lifts weights, he said. (What a hero.) He even eats health foods.
At one point he turned to Eve and asked her what she wanted to do when she graduated from high school. Eve replied that she would like to attend law school if her grades were good enough. He answered, "I was taking law courses. They were so boring you could have fallen asleep during them. A lawyer's life must be very dull."
Mick asked if we would like some tea, and that brought smiles to our faces. Eve and I had Cokes instead and he and my father had a Heineken. (We saved the bottle.) When a lady brought a beer and Coke out, she placed the Coke in front of Eve and looked at Mick and then at my father, not knowing where to put the beer. Mick said, "The beers are for the girls, we ordered Cokes." The beer ended up with my dad and Mick's beer and my Coke came later.
Singer in a Choir. Eve asked Mick how he got to be a singer. "I was in a choir and at 12 I had a band. While I was in law school I cut my first record that made the charts and then I decided to go into what I am doing now."
We asked him if there is a difference between American and British people. After a pause he answered, "Well, over here you all think that we are snobs, but over there we think you are the snobs. It is not true. There isn't much difference."
I asked how long his tour would last and he answered, "I hope to be home for Christmas. By then I will probably be flat on my back," he said as he looked out the picture window we were in front of. Lightning was coloring the sky and you could hear thunder in the distance. He recalled to us that once, while he was recording in Vermont during a thunder storm he witnessed lightning hit a tree and the tree split in two.
He continued. "There is always a week in between tours, but somehow a concert or an interview is thrown in and the week is gone. But if I get a chance, I would like to come back to Long View to visit again." This was in reply to a question we asked regarding a rumor we had heard that they would be coming back before they left for London.
My last question to him was, what is it like to be Mick Jagger? "It's no big deal. I'm just like you or someone else," was his reply with not much concentration. "I've been to the Fair (a local department store in Spencer) to buy a warm-up suit. I've been to the I.G.A. in North Brookfield several times. Nobody stopped me or even gave me a second glance." (Where was I?)
Although Mick Jagger did not think it was a big thrill, Eve and I felt it was the thrill of a lifetime.
'Ordinary Person'. Eve summed up her thoughts and feelings this way. "I did not know what I was going to say to him but I could not just smile. When I met him, talking came easy. He was so nice, just like an ordinary person, except he wasn't. I loved the way he talked. It wasn't like the way he sings. It was with so much more authority. I do not think he could have left a better impression if he were a bigger star. To me he is the greatest."
Monday, Sept. 21, will always stick in my mind. I did not know what to expect, but I left with a very good impression of him. He was an ordinary person. He seemed interested in us as we were in him. I thanked him for giving us the interview. It was an experience that I may not get to do again in my lifetime.
Now I can say that if I do decide to be a reporter, my first interview was with a legend, Mick Jagger.
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.