Tea With The Rolling Stones
This story is part of a collection celebrating the best—and wildest—Warhol conversations from the Interview archives.
Interview has its own archives of Rolling Stones-related material, most notably a December 1977 interview with members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Interview founder Andy Warhol, Interview European Editor Catherine Guinness, and Venezuelan artist Victor Huge. Three rock stars, a pop art visionary, a member of the Euro-literati and a South American artist thrown in for good measure—just the kind of Studio 54 hangover we’re nostalgic for.
Throughout the deeply engaging conversation, Jagger modestly reveals to Warhol that the fancy footsteps that inspired “Moves like Jagger” were honed on the Studio 54 dance floor. At The Factory Board Room overlooking unique Union Square, the crew talk dining and ditching competitive orgies, Bianca Jagger’s skin regimen, and Jagger asks Warhol perhaps the most blush-worthy question the seen-it-all visionary has heard. Accompanied by Earl McGrath, President of Rolling Stones Records, which recently released Love You Live.Andy Warhol is assisting during this interview by Interview’s European Editor, Catherine Guinness, and towards the end, Victor Huge, the Venezuelan artiste.
MICK JAGGER: Hiiiii!
KEITH RICHARDS: Hiii!
RON WOOD: Hii!
JAGGER: Do you know Catherine?
CATHERINE GUINNESS: No.
JAGGER: Catherine: Keith, Ron.
JAGGER: Are we going to get bored?
RICHARDS: [reading thoughtfully Daily Express] “Kids ruin Elton’s new restaurant.”
WOOD: Yeah, Rolling Stones wreck restaurant.
JAGGER: They all went for a meal.
ANDY WARHOL: Did you? When was that?
RICHARDS: Stuck chewing gum all over the—
JAGGER: Did you? You naughty boy. Is it a chi-chi restaurant?
WOOD: But anyway, it wasn’t that good. The food wasn’t any good.
RICHARDS: The food was useless.
WOOD: So we left what we thought it was worth.
JAGGER: No, you told me that. They said 80 quid and—
RICHARDS: We left 30 and it wasn’t enough.
JAGGER: How many people?
JAGGER: That’s a bit cheap. You can’t get a meal for a fiver, even a bad one.
EARL MCGRATH: Where?
WOOD: In Covent Garden.
JAGGER: It’s called Friends. We’re gonna advertise it.
WARHOL: Where do you eat in New York?
WOOD: I like that Barbetta place.
JAGGER: Ronnie likes Barbetta ‘cause it’s so romantic.
WARHOL: On West 48th Street?
JAGGER: Yeah, yeah.
WARHOL: Did you go to Studio 54 last night?
JAGGER: Yeah. I think one visit every two weeks is not overdoing it. I went with Ken Norton.
WARHOL: You went with Ken Norton?
JAGGER: That was my date.
JAGGER: We danced and everything.
WARHOL: You danced with Ken Norton? You’ll probably be page one of the Post today.
MCGRATH: Page six.
JAGGER: No, no, nobody saw. We danced at the back together, blending into the wallpaper.
GUINNESS: Have you been there, Keith?
RICHARDS: No, no.
WARHOL: Do you like discos?
GUINNESS: Do you remember your first meeting with Andy?
JAGGER: With Andy? Wasn’t it at Jane Holzer’s?
WARHOL: Baby Jane Holzer’s.
JAGGER: At a party. Do you remember, Keith? You were there.
WARHOL: It was the first time you were in New York.
RICHARDS: I don’t know who she is.
JAGGER: And it was our first party when we came to New York. Now he’s going to remember.
GUINNESS: Was it a good party?
JAGGER: Well, everyone seems to remember it, even Keith does now. Everyone was there. Everyone was there.
RICHARDS: I thought that was well worth remembering.
JAGGER: But Andy and I never spoke to each other again for about seven years.
JAGGER: I don’t know. But then he did… for some reason. We had to work together, let’s see, from 1963 to 1969.
WARHOL: When I had to photograph your zipper for the cover of Sticky Fingers.
JAGGER: Yeah, that’s when we had to talk to each other… again.
RICHARDS: I met Murray the K on this ridiculous—
JAGGER: Oh, the weirdest thing was when Murray the K was really down on his luck and he’d just started up this new radio thing. I was just gonna go on stage and he had this Uher tape recorder and he says, “Mick, I’m back in the business and I’ve got this syndicated show and I just want you to say a few words just for old times, you remember Murray the K, ha, ha.” And just then the strap breaks on his Uher and it goes smashing to the ground and I said, “Well, that’s the last word.”
RICHARDS: Poor Old Murray.
MCGRATH: Do you know that Ahmet used to call him up and say, “Could I speak to Murray the K. It’s Ahmet The E.”
JAGGER: It’s like Anouk Aimée tripping over the curb in the last month’s Interview.
WARHOL: She said she always trips.
JAGGER: “I always do things like that.” What a silly girl then. Is it camp enough, this interview? I always want to get into the feel of it, you know. A bit.
GUINNESS: Do you think you’re being too serious?
JAGGER: No, we’re just too butch.
GUINNESS: It’s a bit butch, it’s true.
WARHOL: Is it true that original melodies are running out?
JAGGER: I don’t believe in original melodies. There are only so many computations of eight notes.
GUINNESS: Which is rather a lot. I think it’s eight to the power…
JAGGER: Eight to the power of eight.
WARHOL: Where do you think the new music is coming from?
JAGGER: You gotta ask Keith. He’s a musician.
WARHOL: Do you think punk rock is new?
JAGGER: Come on punk rock questions, come on get your answers.
RICHARDSS: It ain’t.
WOOD: It’s a good breather, isn’t it?
JAGGER: Yeah. I’ll breathe out for that one.
RICHARDS: Punk rock?
JAGGER: Some’s rubbish and some’s great. I think in England it’s much more of a real thing that it is here. I think here, it’s kind of like an affectation. In London you got all these kinds that are really out of work, you know, they got nothing else to do but play in rock groups. Rather similar to us.
RICHARDS: It’s always been the same.
(Callard and Bowsers candy)
JAGGER: Debbie Reynolds! What party, honey?
GUINNESS: Your birthday party.
JAGGER: Was she?
JAGGER: Oh. Well she didn’t affect me.
WARHOL: Are you going away, Keith?
RICHARDS: Am I going away? We all are, yes.
JAGGER: We’re all going to Paris, France.
RICHARDS: We’re going to make a record.
WOOD: The trouble is none of us has told each other when.
JAGGER: Look, we’re gonna meet there on Wednesday.
GUINNESS: To record. Why record in Paris?
JAGGER: We haven’t recorded there yet.
RICHARDS: We go where it’s available.
JAGGER: Nobody will have us.
WARHOL: Does it make a difference where you record?
JAGGER: These days most studios are the same, to be honest so—
RICHARDS: They’re like Holiday Inns.
JAGGER: We get the studio cheap, so that’s on reason. Also, Paris is a nice town so we hope to have a nice time.
(“Love You Live” album jacket)
JAGGER: No matter what Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious do, they can’t be more disgusting that The Rolling Stones are in an orgy of biting.
GUINNESS: What do you think of the Sex Pistols?
RICHARDS: They look great. That’s all that matters.
GUINNESS: Have the Sex Pistols tried to beat you up?
JAGGER: Oh no. They’ve stopped short at violence. I think even Sid Vicious is basically a nice guy, but Johnny Rotten keeps talking bad about me. He’ll get his rotten teeth kicked in one day.
RICHARDS: They’re fucking just asking for it if they always insist on catching public transport on the way home for their gigs.
JAGGER: They still live with their mums you know. Johnny Rotten says, “I still live with my mum, in a block of flats.”
RICHARDS: He moved to the slums, right?
JAGGER: He’s not revealing it though.
RICHARDS: I think his mum kicked him out.
(Mama Rotten jokes)
GUINNESS: So how’s Margaret Thatcher doing these days?
JAGGER: Far better than Margaret Trudeau.
GUINNESS: That’s right. The Daily Mail, which is rather left wing, as you would agree, Mick, had a big thing praising her.
JAGGER: It might be left wing to your father, but it’s certainly not left wing to me. How’s your father these days? He got kicked out of The Monday Club didn’t he?
GUINNESS: No, he resigned, he was…
JAGGER: He was kicked out, come on, give up, resigned!
RICHARDS: Given the boot… come on.
WARHOL: How many hotels have you been kicked out of?
JAGGER: Oh, not many, about three hundred.
WARHOL: What was your biggest bill for damages?
MCGRATH: $8,000 at The Bristol in Vienna.
JAGGER: And we didn’t pay, I hope.
WARHOL: Why? Because you gave them so much publicity?
JAGGER: It was Ahmet’s fault.
WARHOL: Ahmet did it all?
JAGGER: No, you see, he said I’d quieted down somewhat…
MCGRATH: So they waited until the last night of the tour and they tore my room apart.
JAGGER: HA HA HA HA HA. It was rather nicely done, in sort of imitation Empire style with those little cabinets with little paintings and shit—”No, not the chandelier!”
WARHOL: It must be really exciting.
WARHOL: How’s Jade?
JAGGER: She’s very well, she’s just started school in England. She says it’s a very nice school, but there aren’t enough boys.
GUINNESS: Where’s she living?
JAGGER: She lives in London. She’s not a tax exile.
GUINNESS: When you walk around New York, do you get recognized all the time?
RICHARDS: I don’t know if they recognize me or not. I’m not really conscious of it. If somebody stops me, then I suddenly realize that people are looking at me, but other times they may be doing it and I don’t even know because I’m engrossed in something else.
WARHOL: If you want to be seen you can put your chin up more and if you want to disappear—you can wear a wig.
RICHARDS: Exactly. Like walking through the Plaza lobby when the Zeppelin are staying there—you’re automatically under scrutiny, everyone is looking for a rock star.
JAGGER: If you walk through any hotel lobby where some other group is staying, you’re asking for it.
WOOD: It’s full of short men in raincoats making statements for their group’s managers.
WARHOL: Do managers all have the same look?
JAGGER: They all look like Brian Ferry.
WARHOL: Do you sign autographs if people ask you?
RICHARDS: Oh yeah. It’s such a small thing and it’s obviously important to them in some way.
WARHOL: Do you play your guitars every day, Keith?
RICHARDS: Just about.
WOOD: We build up towards playing every day, but it takes a few days to generate it—it just happens.
GUINNESS: And to get into the same city must take a few weeks.
RICHARDS: No it takes longer than that.
WOOD: Yeah it does.
WARHOL: Are you writing now?
RICHARDS: All the time.
GUINNESS: How was New Jersey?
RICHARDS: You may mean Westchester. That’s where I’ve been all summer. It’s really suburbia.
WOOD: Country air.
GUINNESS: What do you do out there?
WOOD: Play with Marlon.
WOOD: Keith’s eldest child.
WARHOL: How many children do you have?
WARHOL: How old are they?
RICHARDS: Two and five.
WARHOL: Where do they live?
RICHARDS: With me usually, except at the moment my daughter is with my mother in England.
WOOD: That’s Dandy.
RICHARDS: She’s called Dandy.
WARHOL: What a beautiful name.
GUINNESS: Your mother?
RICHARDS: No, my daughter.
JAGGER: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having sex, you know.
GUINNESS: At what age?
JAGGER: Any age.
WARHOL: I think that five is too young.
JAGGER: To have sex? Rubbish. This is really sort of taboo in society—people never thought that children had any sexual ideas at all; in fact, children are highly sexual. They don’t have to fuck each other but they obviously have sexual ideas. Everybody who has a child knows that. Freud was the first person that dared to say that children had sexual ideas and they almost stoned him into the ground for that. It was absolutely taboo.
GUINNESS: He said that they had ideas that he interpreted as being sexual ideas.
JAGGER: I can’t remember the exact text, Catherine.
GUINNESS: It’s true though.
JAGGER: The whole thing that came out was that he said children had sexual ideas; and everyone else, until then, had just brushed it under the carpet and ignored the whole fucking thing. I mean, little boys have erections; and everyone knows that—who has children, or boys.
GUINNESS: How old were you?
JAGGER: I can’t remember. Who can remember their first wet dream? Can you remember yours, Andy? How old were you?
WARHOL: I must have been…
JAGGER: Andy was a late bloomer.
GUINNESS: But I mean, five or six?
GUINNESS: I think eleven.
JAGGER: Children have erections before that.
RICHARDS: My little boy has hard-ons all the time. When they wet their little nappies they have it.
VICTOR HUGE: I was born with an erection.
JAGGER: You would be, wouldn’t you.
WARHOL: Some people die with one.
JAGGER: You don’t like the idea because you’re such a prim English Miss, Catherine.
GUINNESS: That’s why, I know.
HUGE: In England there is a very sort of sexual idea for children.
HUGE: What you were saying about sexual ideas for children—it’s true.
JAGGER: I mean, all the games that kids play at various ages—you’ve got all sorts of sexual orientations about taking girls’ clothes off and looking at each other.
GUINNESS: Ah, that’s what you think.
JAGGER: What do you mean, Catherine? What other interpretations can you possibly put on it—if you want to see a girl’s navel?
WARHOL: What was that book they did with all the photographs of naked kids?
JAGGER: It was called, it was called…
MCGRATH: Show Me.
JAGGER: It really was a piece of shit. I hated it. That was just for adults to turn on.
WARHOL: Have you ever been to porn movies?
JAGGER: I’ve been to some, but I don’t really like them very much. They don’t turn me on very much. I like to go to films.
GUINNESS: Have you seen Pasolini’s Salo?
JAGGER: No, I haven’t actually, but a friend of mine told me all about it.
RICHARDS: That’s what everybody says. Nobody has seen Pasolini.
GUINNESS: I have.
JAGGER: What’s it about, Catherine?
GUINNESS: It’s about four ugly men doing all the most perverted things they could possibly think of to about twelve beautiful teenagers.
RICHARDS: Girls and boys?
GUINNESS: Girls and boys.
JAGGER: That film caused a lot of stir in London. The police seized it.
RICHARDS: They had The Texas Chainsaw Massacre playing down the street.
JAGGER: But you see what Keith means is that it is so violent and it’s playing.
WARHOL: Censors are the same thing all over—they have such a contradictory way of judging things.
END SIDE ONE/TURN TAPE…
JAGGER: It’s full of shit.
WARHOL: You have to see Desperate Living, the new John Waters film.
JAGGER: Is it good?
WARHOL: They eat somebody in that one.
JAGGER: They eat someone?
WARHOL: Dressed up as a turkey.
JAGGER: You want to see that one, Catherine? I’ll take you on a date to see that one.
GUINNESS: All right.
Richards and Wood wander off
GUINNESS: The others, unlike you, have rolled away.
JAGGER: They sort of wander in and out, it’s a very casual scene.
HUGE: Please excuse me. Who does their hair?
JAGGER: Keith and Ronnie? They do it themselves. They’re always cutting it off in my bathroom and making a mess.
WARHOL: They do their own hair? But hairdressers are really important now. Why don’t you have one traveling with your group?
JAGGER: What a camp suggestion, Andy! I wish Anouk Aimée was here to fall over the curb with me.
WARHOL: We were in front of Fort Lauderdale and this guy told me the bathroom was clear, so I went in…
JAGGER: The bathroom was what?
WARHOL: Clear. So I went in and—
JAGGER: This is a clear bathroom.
WARHOL: So I went in and four other people came in after me and it was so embarrassing because one guy said to another “You’re peeing next to…,” And that guy turned to me and said, “Are you who I think you are?”
JAGGER: Oh my God, that’s my unfavorite line of all.
WARHOL: But do people follow you into bathrooms just so they can say they peed next to you.
JAGGER: I don’t know. I never asked them what they’re doing there. I just address them civilly and tell them what the bathrooms are for. I mean, they’re not for hanging around and making social comments as far as I’m concerned.
GUINNESS: Would you say that the bathroom’s usually fuller when you leave than when you arrive?
JAGGER: It all depends on whether I piss on them or not.
HUGE: Listen, when I went to your opening…
JAGGER: What opening is that?
HUGE: The record opening at Trax.
JAGGER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
HUGE: In the movies they showed of your tours, you look very much like Bianca.
JAGGER: No, she looks like me, man.
HUGE: No, all your gestures are like hers.
JAGGER: Did you know her before you knew me?
HUGE: Yes, I’ve known her for years.
JAGGER: Well I existed before her. I came first.
WARHOL: They’re both from South America.
JAGGER: She’s from Central America. She’s not from South America.
HUGE: It’s the same thing. Close.
JAGGER: It may be worse for Victor. I’ve been to both places.
HUGE: You look very much like her. Every year you look more like her.
JAGGER: Maybe next year’s gonna be different.
HUGE: Are you divorcing her? Are you divorcing Bianca?
JAGGER: No! Not as far as I know.
HUGE: Do you get off with her?
JAGGER: Do I get off with her?
HUGE: On her?
JAGGER: That’s rude!
HUGE: No, because in the movies you look beautiful like her.
JAGGER: Well, I’m glad I’m as beautiful as my beautiful fucking wife.
WARHOL: She’s beautiful.
JAGGER: She’s very cute. And she’s very beautiful.
WARHOL: She’s photogenic.
JAGGER: She’s photogenic.
WARHOL: She’s a good dancer.
JAGGER: She’s a good dancer. What else can I say?
WARHOL: She has really soft skin.
JAGGER: She has really soft and beautiful skin.
HUGE: What soap does she use?
JAGGER: She never uses any soap.
WARHOL: She takes a bath after she does her make-up.
JAGGER: Then she takes a bath. And she’s very quick.
WARHOL: It’s a great system. She gets all made-up then she hops in her hot bath. Do you put your make-up on before your bath?
JAGGER: Are you kidding? I haven’t had a bath and I can’t bother to take my make-up off.
HUGE: Why do you look clean?
JAGGER: You don’t have to bathe every day to look clean. It’s just an illusion.
WARHOL: Illusion? How do you do that?
JAGGER: It’s very easy.
Read more stories from the Celebrating Warhol collection.