Gary James' Interview With Glen Carroll of
The Rolling Stones Tribute Band
They have performed in Russia, Australia, China, Europe, Central and South America as well as hundreds of cities across the United States. They are recognized as the Number One Ranked International Rolling Stones Tribute Band. Entertainment Weekly says: "For those Rolling Stones' fans shut out of The Rolling Stones' tours by ticket prices and traveling distances, Sticky Fingers are the next best thing to being there!" The New York Village Voice says: "Sticky Fingers is the greatest Rock 'n' Roll tribute band in the world. The Rolling Stones' show you've been waiting for." We spoke to Glen Carroll, who portrays Mick Jagger in Sticky Fingers.
Q - Okay Glen, how did Sticky Fingers get this ranking of being the Number One International Rolling Stones Tribute Band?
A - Well, we started playing out of the United States; started as a local band. Then it was regional. Then it became national from LA back and forth. Then we started getting pulled down to places for buyers in Central America. We started playing the Hard Rock and the House Of Blues. All of a sudden they are bringing us to Bali, Indonesia and Moscow, Russia, Australia. So, we've been to more international venus and stages than most national acts with several album releases.
Q - I can believe that. I've interviewed enough tribute acts to know that a Stones tribute act is in high demand.
A - Oh, yeah.
Q - How long have you been with Sticky Fingers?
A - I started in '89. The band began in '81.
Q - You probably had the jump on a lot of these bands. You were in a tribute band before it became popular to do.
A - That's right. We were doing it for the right reasons, because we really loved it. Friends of mine in Beatlemania, where there's an entirely different aspect of a tribute show, that's totally supply and demand. Where can you go to see The Beatles? At the time they were playing on Broadway, the Winter Garden Theater, a Leber - Krebs production I think, Beatlemania did exceedingly well. For years they've had it great in Vegas, but my gentlemen are still out there doing fine, 50 something years later. I've also earned enough credit in the game where when they are playing a venue, we play outside. We are literally billed as the largest tailgate party in the world. The radio stations, which are mostly owned by just a few companies, they'll have before concert parties, ticket giveaways, after concert parties. So, I've been really blessed and fortunate that I haven't had to buy a Stones' ticket in about 20 something years. It is more of a corporate and private thing now than a public thing we used to do, earlier in the day. We have significant players in the band on any given performance.
Q - Who is booking Sticky Fingers? Is it Dr. Gail Mason?
A - Yeah. She's the manager.
Q - Is she a PhD or an MD?
A - She's a DVM. She owns three medical hospitals and employs about 60 doctors and I don't know how many technicians. She was one of the Small Business People of America a few years ago. She loves music. She's put on shows at Carnegie Hall, and shows that lead up to Carnegie Hall. She was at that level putting on classical concerts for divas. This was some years ago up until recently. Then she and I met. She's brilliant. She's got an incredible mind for business and she knows what something's worth. She's been booking the band for almost 5 years. She gets the absolute best that musicians could hope for. Even this weekend for example, we are playing out at Long Island in a very exclusive country club. No cell phones are allowed on premises. No one can wear jeans. Some people might find that restrictive. I actually find it quite nice. Very civilized, but those crowds get just as loud as anybody else. (Laughs). You never know what it's going to be. Some days it's a big biker's festival and other days it's a bunch of Wall Street folks on Long Island.
Q - Where do you base your self?
A - It's probably more or less where I'm at, at the time. I have a house in Florida and a house in new England. Steve Holly has been playing drums for me for the last year. He also plays with Ian Hunter. He was also in Paul McCartney And Wings. So when he says, "I can't do it this upcoming weekend," I'm actually bringing up a guy from Nashville. In California I have an entirely different band there, just because of logistics. Flying four or five guys, they are amazing guitar players in bands. It's nice to have a band. You are looking to have more than just one great band in your life. To have a couple of them is something I'm pretty happy with.
Q - Do different countries give Sticky Fingers different reactions?
A - That's something really amazing that I've noticed. Again, Moscow, Indonesia, China, Europe, you see them singing with you. They know the lyrics. They know them as well as you do. Many of them learn English by these Stones' lyrics. I'll see it on Facebook. I've got like 115,000 fans of the band and they constantly post stuff. I'll hit the translate button and it'll be "Sticky Fingers Rock And Roll it is only." It doesn't always translate exactly to English. But you gotta love these people! They can't speak English themselves, but they know the lyrics to the songs. You'd be surprised how many teenagers learn who Pavlov is from the song "Bitch" before they learned from science. Jagger uses some really great lyrics for those who are into lyrics.
Q - Does Jagger and company know about this band?
A - Do you know about our original record?
Q - I do not.
A - On my original record, the sax player of The Rolling Stones, Bobby Keys, he's in my original band. The guitar player that Keith Richards used in the Expensive Winos and on tour all those years, Waddy Wachtel, he's the guitar player. Jagger's drummer, Kenny Aronoff, he's in that band. Bernard Fowler, a backup singer for The Stones, he's in that band. Kenny Aronson is bass. He actually got auditioned by The Stones. He's "Bass Player Of The Year" by Rolling Stone magazine. He's played with Dylan, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, but when Bill Wyman retired, he was brought in, but Darryl Jones as you know was elected. It's a hell of a band. We call it "Sticky Fingers: Like A Rolling Stone". It was a 2013 Best Album by the Aquarian. We got a number one single in there. Waddy is actually Keith's best friend. I know he was telling him about the record as we were working on it. Bobby called me once from Keith Richard's place as I was working on the album and asked me if I might be able to come to Richard's studio sometime. I was shitting myself because when Bobby Keys says it, you know it's real, plus I was playing 'live' with Bobby Keys. They've talked about me to The Stones. I know they've even heard the CD. Back when The Stones played the Staples Center and were working with Landmark Entertainment, they were going to put out a little carnival show that would arrive in town and have some rides and sell tickets to see The Stones. I was in town when they came in on the blimp. I think it was 2004, maybe 10 years ago. We were called by a guy who was working with Jagger, Landmark Entertainment. I personally gave him our press packet and he said, "This is going to go to Jagger's hands." That was pretty nice. I've met Ronnie Wood before, Bill Wyman.
Q - When did you see your first Stones concert?
A - '76, Earl's Court, London. I cut high school to go see them. A friend and I hitchhiked.
Q - What's it like to portray Mick Jagger on stage?
A - Very groovy. I don't wear the scarf at home. I turn off the switch when I come offstage and I have to switch it on before I go on stage, but those 90 minutes or 2 hours, it's really wonderful trying to walk a close imitation in a man's shoes. It's a real blessing. I'm very fortunate in many ways that I can do what I do.