In Brief

The day Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger in the face

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A Rolling Stones fanzine editor, who followed the band around the world for 17 years, getting the occasional interview in reward for his tenacity, has published a book in which he claims that relations between Mick Jagger and the rest of the band so awkward that the other called him 'Brenda' behind his back and that one occasion at least, it came to blows.

Bill German, who started the Beggars Banquet fanzine in 1978 when he was still at high school in Brooklyn, describes a meeting held in Amsterdam to discuss whether the Stones should break up or carry on. At one point, Jagger referred to Charlie Watts as "my drummer".

Writes German: "[Jagger said] something like: 'None of this should matter to you because you're only my drummer.'

"[Watts] kept it bottled inside until he got back to his hotel room. He then clicked off his TV, put on his shoes, walked down the hall and knocked on Mick's door. When the lead singer of the Rolling Stones opened it, his drummer clocked him on the jaw. Charlie then turned round and calmly walked away.

"Keith [Richards] saw Charlie in the hallway and asked him where he was coming from. The laconic Charlie answered: 'I've just punched Mick Jagger in the face' - and kept walking."

German claims that guitarist Ronnie Wood's take on Jagger was that he was "a nice bunch of guys". Wood told German: "It all depends which one you get. He changes his accent every time you speak to him and he can turn you on or turn you off on any given day. You never know which Mick you're going to get."

German had his own run-in with a not-nice Jagger after writing in Beggars Banquet that the Stones' frontman had not wanted to appear in the famous Live Aid concert in 1985, but had given in to emotional blackmail.

Jagger was furious, denying he had had to be persuaded. He came close to German - within two or three inches of his face - and ripped into him: "I don't like what you wrote! It's not true! I don't like it!'

"Mick was so close to my face, I thought he was going to bite my cheek off. I guess he does that to intimidate people, and I've got to admit it worked."

German's book, Under Their Thumb, is published by Aurum Press. Why Brenda? Keith Richards coined the nickname after coming across a book by the novelist Brenda Jagger.

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