Without doubt, it is the end of a certain part of the Sixties as we knew it. We managed to put it off for so long, it was still amazing that this dream we dared to pursue still had legs and remained the foundation behind most new music. Age and the Internet were two hits to the body. We do not have a recorded music business in any way similar to that we grew up with; all of our stuff and what followed is on top of the mountain and the newcomers are struggling to get up the hill. So it's an ideal time for the movie, a representation of what life was like for both the musician and the music fan at the end of the first part of the Sixties. A few years ago, it might not have been as interesting – the end of certain parts of the game were a long way off.
Vision was not part the game, getting from moment to moment was. Everybody had done a movie – even Gerry & the Pacemakers. I succumbed to that pressure, which was a mistake because it involved following, not leading. Perhaps it was because I was infatuated by film. I just wanted to get the Stones in the mood for dealing with the film business and deciding what we would or would not do. I figured if they'd been filmed for a few days they'd be up for the crap that was to come. It was also a great opportunity to see which of the Stones the camera fancied, and it turned out to be Charlie Watts, hence the title of the movie.
We were busy. We had to find a follow-up to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and that was "Get Off of My Cloud," then we had to have a follow-up to that. The world was very different then. You did not have all these systems that needed product. I think the BBC might have paid 500 quid for it, but they really were not interested. The Stones in the U.K. were still the unwashed and unwanted, in spite of the hits, and in the U.S. you did Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin. Anyway, I didn't want it out. I think Peter took the film to the Berlin Film Festival and some noted film geezer said that out of all the entries, Charlie is My Darling would be the only one that would hold up in 50 years time. Quite an astute dude. I think Peter was suggested to us by Sean Kenny, the set designer. Sean had seen his Allen Ginsberg film. Peter was perfect.
Once we could not get A Clockwork Orange, I lost interest. I paid lip service to the idea of Only Lovers Left Alive; great title, average tale. Anyway, the Stones were not really that interested. They knew what fit and what didn't. We didn't have to discuss it. Our world was changing at a tremendous rate. Vietnam, civil and racial unrest, Kent State, the second half of the 69's, drugs as a way of life. Charlie Is My Darling looked like "the Bowery boys go to Belfast" compared to what was going on.
It's a good time to see all of the footage, it would not have been then. I would not have wanted anyone to see Mick and Keith composing after a show in a hotel room. Now, well, Mick's late night rendition of "Tell Me " is something I wish he'd done in the White House. It's a great document to a time that would be done with by the end of '65; '66 was a completely different animal.
Composing in a hotel room onscreen was not part of the process of the time. Only the result was required. Today, of course, is different and the process requires you put as much as you can on the table.
Well, I saw the tailor who cut Keith and my tweed jackets quite recently. He was still on Berwick Street in Soho. I don't do memories, I do dreams.
Hectic. I'm not being flippant – dreams had come true. The Stones were less "made it in America" as "made by America." America was wonderful to us. I mean, we recorded on Sunset and Ivar, at RCA, and at Chess Studios on South Michigan in Chicago. Nice going for three years.
Wonderful, once Keith and Mick came up with "Get off of my Cloud," meaning that there was no time to sit back and bask in the light of "Satisfaction." We needed another single released in a dozen weeks; that was the way the world worked. I know it works the same way today if you are Katy Perry, but in a reverse process: release first, singles later. I was amazed that when I first heard "Get Off of My Cloud," there was no absolutely no acknowledgement or nod to "Satisfaction " whatsoever. The band just drove right over it and said, "Here we are again!"