Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Rated T- for strong use of TRUTH
DISCLAIMER: It has come to my attention that a plagiarized version of the Mick Jagger story has been heard while attending recent Jason Bieler acoustic shows. I use the word plagiarized for the simple fact that Jason was NOT there, nor did he have any part in the story, other than hearing it, stealing it, and telling it as his own. Jason's practice of idea theft or lying is nothing new, as honesty has never been his forte. Therapists have referred to such a person as a Shameless Revisionist, i.e., a compulsive liar, who lies to benefit oneself.
The story you're about to read can be told correctly by only the three people involved. Those three people are Rolling Stones Singer Mick Jagger, Saigon kick bassist Chris McLernon, and Saigon Kick drummer Phil Varone, or as I like to call him; me. What you are about to read is the story of a day at Atlantic Records, and how a simple bathroom break, would turn into….Well, read for yourself.
This story is based on actual events
None of the names have been changed
believe or not, this really happened
A drummer, a bass player, and Mick Jagger walk into a men's room…
It was fall of 1993, as Saigon Kick arrived at Atlantic Record, New York to begin a press junket promoting the release of our third album titled Water. A press junket meant full days at Atlantic Records, with each member doing phone interviews, photo shoots, in-person interviews, and any other type of promotion scheduled by Director of Marketing, Silvio Bonvini. At this point in our career, Saigon Kick had been on the Atlantic Records Roster for over three years, earned a gold record with "The Lizard", and a #8 platinum selling single with "Love Is On The Way." I'm not braggadocios. I'm just making a point that will be relevant as the story goes on.
The day would begin as any typical press day at Atlantic, with the band heading to the second floor and gathering in Silvio Bonvini's office for the daily schedule. Atlantic was like our second home, so it was always fun to run amuck for the day, visit friends on the staff and of course; invade the music vault. Silvio's office would double as our home base for the day, and between interviews, we would listen to music, tell dumb stories and do anything else to pass the time until the next interview. A good time killer was always the pee time bathroom break. The men's room was located on the third floor by the publicity department, which meant a longer walk and more time killed. On one such break, fellow band mate, and partner in comedy, Chris McLernon would join me. As we headed out on our quest for the bathroom, I can't help but think we resembled a cliché bathroom scene straight out of the movies. You know, the dreaded always have to go in pairs to the bathroom scene, as one actor over exaggerates the sudden need to pee but won't survive without BFF accompaniment. Once in the bathroom, both actors feel safe and immune, yet unaware that a chain of bizarre events is about to unfold around them. In our case, we just needed to pee.
A long walk is not ideal in the context of having to pee, but with Chris, more time meant more opportunity for comedy. Chris is one of the funniest humans I know and possesses incredible comedic patience in his quest for laughter. In other words, Chris make Phil laugh, Phil laugh long time, Phil laugh, laugh, laugh. (caveman talk intentional) The bathroom trip wasn't the first time a Saigon Kick species was let loose to roam the halls of Atlantic Records, and although the walk proved to be long, it would also prove to be uneventful. When I say uneventful, I mean other than almost peeing myself, because of the walk… it was long… the walk…and stuff…with the pee… The men's room was a normal men's room, equipped with two stalls, two urinals separated by a trash can and the ever popular sink with soap dispenser combo. I picked my urinal, planted my feet, and began a pee that would rival the likes of Sea Biscuit, and leave the folks at Guinness Book in a catatonic state. Sadly, the lack of Guinness officials and the absence of a calibrated timepiece would ultimately render my last sentence moot.
As my record pee continued, so continued the practice of good hygiene as Chris moved to the sink and took advantage of the before mentioned sink/soap dispenser combo. Along with the advanced hygiene section, the men's room provided incredible acoustics as Chris would test the limits and burst into song. Some could argue the so-called incredible "acoustics" is just an annoying echo, but if you ask me, that's nitpicking. Chris's song choice was a comedic version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", only to be described as Christopher Walken, meets Ethel Merman, sprinkled with Kermit the Frog. The only thing that could top this men's room moment would have to be something out of legend, and something out of legend is exactly what happened next. What happened next would make a guitar player lie and plagiarize a story some twenty-five later. What happened next would turn a once friendly Atlantic Records into a prison lockdown, followed by an intense manhunt. What happened next would be the catalyst of swift and resolute ass chewing's from the top floor down. My god Phil, what the fuck happened? I'm glad you asked. Mick Jagger walking into the men's room, that's what the fuck happened.
Mick Jagger walked into the men's room, looked Chris dead in the eyes, headed to the stall, and quickly locked the stall door. I looked at Chris for sighting confirmation by mouthing the words, "Holy shit. Was that Mick Jagger?" Chris without missing a note acknowledged with a nod only to continue his beautiful, but harsh rendition of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The scene suddenly went silent like some bizarre slow-motion sequence of confusion, excitement, and surrealism, anchored by an out-of-place soundtrack song like "Memories." What seemed to be minutes, was only seconds as the slow motion segment would abruptly end with the sound of an unlocking stall, followed by the dramatic exit of one Mick Jagger. The singing stopped, the peeing finally ended, and all that remained was confusion, observations, and questions. Confusion: Mick Jagger's hasty men's room exit. Observation: Mick Jagger is shockingly short. Question: Did Mick wash his hands?
Seeing Mick Jagger, while exciting was not that shocking. After all, it was Atlantic Records, Mick was a label mate, and like Mick, we were doing press for an upcoming release. Shocking was Mick's manic behavior followed by a sudden, flamboyant men's room exit. I want to go on the record and say, at no time did Chris, nor I try in any way to talk, touch, shake or breach Mick Jagger's personal space while we shared that brief, but very odd men's room moment. Chris and I would exit the men's room in a "nondramatic" fashion, and along with wielding freshly washed hands, try to make sense of the event that just unfolded in front of our eyes. As we arrived back to Silvio's office, we would tell the story of our men's room encounter with each detail, as I write it today. If the story were to end with just the men's room encounter, it would still by definition be a cool story to tell, but not cool enough to plagiarize. The plagiarized story would have both Chris and me unaware that a chain of bizarre events was about to unfold, transforming a once normal bathroom break into a scene out of an action movie. Again, we just needed to pee.
Although an odd encounter, I was excited by the possibility of properly meeting Mick, i.e., not in a men's room, but as a fellow Rock Star. I would go as far as attempting to invoke the professional courtesy, Rock Star club rule, which in my mind read I'm a Rock Star, he's a Rock Star, and we are no different. It became painfully obvious how different we were, as invoke quickly turned to revoke, with a loud knock on Silvio's office door by an angry Vince Faraci, Atlantic Records G.M. An angry Vince Faraci knocking on your door would be the answer to the Jeopardy question, what situation at work would be referred too as "not good". Silvio opened the door and headed out into the hall for an unscheduled ass chewing, but not before closing the door behind him. We sat quietly listening and trying to determine if Saigon Kick was the topic of this "not good" moment, but with the door closed, it proved to be impossible. What we did hear can only be described as a very angry, very threatening, muffled murmur. After what seemed to be a lifetime, the murmur stopped, the office door opened, and Silvio calmly walked in. We would soon learn that Saigon Kick was, in fact, the topic of this "not good" visit from Vince, as Silvio yelled, "What the fuck did you do to Mick Jagger?!"
At this time in the story, I would like to refresh your memory with my earlier on the record statement regarding Mr. Jagger and the men's room. "At no time did Chris, nor I try in any way to talk, touch, shake, or breach Mick Jagger's personal space while we shared that brief, but very odd men's room moment."
I would also like to submit, the sequence of events on the Mick Jagger, men's room day.
Chris and Phil enter Men's room
Phil pees, Chris sings
Mick Jagger enters the Men's room.
Phil continues to pee, Chris continues to sing
Mick Jagger stares Chris down than quickly locks himself in the bathroom stall
Phil quietly turns to Chris for Mick Jagger confirmation
Mick Jagger nervously exits in dramatic fashion
Chris and Phil are left stunned and confused
Mick tells his P.R. rep about two shady characters in men's room
P.R. rep calls security, police and Upper Brass
Mick gives a statement; the two suspects made him feel uncomfortable, and he feared for his life.
Security is dispatched, police are called
Upper brass immediately blames Saigon Kick because we are in the building, not because of evidence ... I know right, so offensive…
Chris and Phil become suspects and wanted for an assault on Mick Jagger
Chris and Phil tell men's room story to Silvio still unaware of the chaos Mick Jagger is causing.
Phil still unaware of his suspect status asks to meet Mick properly
Ass chewing orders were given from upper brass
Vince pounds on Silvio's door
Phil's request is denied
Ass chewing begins
Silvio's ass falls victim to the first unscheduled ass chewing
Chris and Phil are added to the ass chewing list and accused of making Mick Jagger uncomfortable and fear for his life
Chris and Phil plead innocent and adamantly say, "we just had to pee"
A short investigation reveals the truth, Chris and Phil are cleared of any wrongdoing.
Chris and Phil unofficially diagnose Mick Jagger as delusional and stop listening to Rolling Stones records. ( personally, I never liked the Stones, the Beatles are my band )
Phil and Chris have a great story to tell and apparently steal.
In the hallway, Silvio's scolding by Vince Faraci, was quick, angry and to the point, ending with Vince saying and I quote, "Wrangle the circus before you are all thrown out."
We would never see Mick Jagger again. We would never be criminally charged. We would never be thrown out of Atlantic Records because of Mick's delusional state, and wild imagination. We did, however, get a great gift of story to pass on for others to enjoy. How many people can say they scared the living shit out of an iconic Rock Star by merely having to pee? When I say "Scared the living shit out of": I really mean triggered him into a paranoid-induced psychotic episode, making us suspects in a delusional, fabricated assault, which in turn threatened our recording contract and launched a manhunt from security and police.
Once Again, we just needed to pee.
Why this paragraph after the story, because I had too…
FOR THE GAME OF THRONES FANS LIKE MYSELF: If Jason were on Game of Thrones, he would carry the title, Jason The Revisionist, First of His Name, King of Lies and His many Liars, Lord of House Shameless and Protector of the Fib…