Both born in Dartford, England, in 1943, Mick and Keith also share strong similarities in their astrological make-up: both are marked by a Fire sign (Leo, Sagittarius) in the Sun position and an Earth (Taurus, Virgo) sign in the moon position - Earth/Fire combinations known for their energy, drivenness, staying power and hardheadedness. They are true soul brothers...
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Just sitting in that train carriage in Dartford, it was almost like we made a deal without knowing it. Like Robert Johnson at the crossroads. I don't know why it should have happened, but there was a bond made there that despite everything else goes on and on - like a solid deal.
I think it's essential (having a partner). You don't have to have a partner for everything you do. But having partners sometimes helps you and sometimes hinders you. You have good times and bad times with them. It's just the nature of it. People also like partnerships because they can identify with the drama of two people in partnerships. They can feed off a partnership, and that keeps people entertained. Besides, if you have a successful partnership, it's self-sustaining.
Mick and Keith first met when they were toddlers, somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6, circa 1947-49, because they lived in the same neighbourhood in Dartford, England, and attended together Wentworth County Primary School. Yes, that's how long we've known each other. He also lived around the corner from me, so we'd see each other on our tricycles and hang around here and there. Later, we started going to different schools, but I'd still run into him now and again. I once saw Mick outside Dartford Library selling ice creams from a refrigerated trolley-summer job.
We're very close, and we always have been. He was born my brother by accident by different parents... That sounds all right to me.
I can't remember when I didn't know (Keith). We lived one street away; his mother knew my mother, and we were at primary school together from 7 to 11. We used to play together, and we weren't the closest friends, but we were friends. Keith and I went to different schools when we were 11, but he went to a school which was really near where I used to live. But I always knew where he lived, because my mother would never lose contact with anybody, and she knew where they moved. I used to see him coming home from his school, which was less than a mile away from where I lived.
After Keith's family eventually moved away to another part of town, the Twins met again around 1960, on the way to school on the Dartford train and the rest, as they say, is history... Right. In a town like Dartford, if anybody's headed for London or any stop in between, then in Dartford station, you're bound to meet. The thing about Mick and my meeting was that he was carrying two albums with him - Rockin' At The Hops, by Chuck Berry, and The Best of Muddy Waters. I had only HEARD about Muddy up to that point. So we're on the train and I say, Man, I know all Chuck Berry's licks. Mick says, You play guitar? He had a little youthclub band (Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys), doing Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran stuff. He was very heavily into blues, already had his connection - you couldn't get that music in England.
The weirdest thing was that we were both very much into the same things, so that somewhere within us - despite all our differences, which still exist - there was an intensity about what we liked and what we didn't like.
For some reason Keith and I wrote together. Maybe because we knew each other for so long and we're friends. I had no experience to back it with as far as songwriting was concerned. Brian was a much better musician. But it seemed very natural and Keith and I seemed quite good at it. Brian was quite problematical and it was obvious to Keith and myself after trying it a few times that it was going to work... I had a slight talent for wording, and Keith always had a lot of talent for melody from the beginning. Everything, including the riffs, came from Keith.
We used to see the same couple in the bar, who kept saying to us, Who ARE you? What's it all about? Come on, give us a clue. Just give us a glimmer. That's when Mick and I started to call ourselves the Glimmer Twins.
At the Muscle Shoals airport there was a small terminal building with a large window through which, it seemed, most of the local population and the people from the surrounding cities of Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia were looking out at the landing field. Keith was slouching against a post in front of the window, wearing an antique Hungarian gypsy jacket, and just to start things off right in Alabama, Mick walked up in full view of the watching rednecks and kissed Keith sweetly on the cheek. How are you, babe? All right, Keith said. We been driving around looking at the woods this morning, it's beautiful around here.
When Brian was in the band I'm sure Mick and Keith were very close, because Brian was the scapegoat for a lot of problems. It's impossible to gauge what kind of effect Brian's death had on Mick and Keith personally. It must have been very heavy. It probably changed their relationship. What's strange is that Keith became more like Brian. Mick was always the sort of sophisticated intellectual. And Keith accepted the life-style. It was probably more difficult for Keith.
Mick will come into the studio and his word is law. UNLESS Keith is there. If Keith is present he asks his opinion.
Keith is the leader of the band until such times that Mick will walk into a studio with a song that's written and finished. If it's Mick's song and he's got it stuck in his head how it's gonna be it'll be done that way usually.
Basically Mick and Keith have always produced the sessions. They make the final decisions. And until they've made them there's no album. They were the real creative force and motivation coming up with the songs.
In a lot of ways (the tensions between Mick and Keith) all started with Exile (On Main Street), when we recorded at Keith's house. Part of the band's survival is unity, but in some ways Keith looks at it as HIS group. Jagger is one of the group. It's me and them these days.
What I think is that the two of them, Mick and Keith, are going to have to face each other eventually. They should get married.
They're a lot smarter than people think. In different ways Mick and Keith have manipulated the media and understood the power of TV and the press better than anyone, except maybe Lennon in the early days and Dylan. The Beatles were very commercialized but always had one point of view. The Stones always had two points of view. They work off each other. They are two different things. And the group has been able to evolve without either of them losing their basic characteristics.
(Keith) hates (Mick's) GUTS sometimes, but other times loves him to death.
They'll pull each other down when they're not together. But one has to play the saint and one's gotta play the bad guy. That's how they work. They're not about to tell each other what to do 'cause they're big boys now. But Mick would die for Keith, and I think Keith would die for Mick. When Keith is in a fix, Mick is the guy who pulls it together. Neither of them are particularly moralistic or philosophical. They don't preach to each other.
Keith and Mick have too much respect for themselves and the group to let anything get in the way. They're above letting petty arguments affect them. They both realize they're friends who would do anything for each other. Mick is the first one to say Keith is the music of the group. He's got utter respect for Keith. There's no false apple-polishing with them. After all these years they know EXACTLY who the other guy is. They have little fights, but they always get back together. Their relationship stretches way beyond their women, the band, albums or anything else. The bond is much deeper.
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