Mick Jagger’s Cigarettes

by Greg Kihn

We opened several shows for the Stones back in 1981 beginning at the Seattle Kingdome.  After the gig I went to find Bill Graham to thank him (something my mother made me promise to do.)  Bill grabbed my arm and led me through multiple layers of security to the Stones dressing room!  There I was, with the Rolling Stones!  I sat down on the couch between Mick & Jerry Hall and Charlie Watts.  I swear Jerry Hall was checking me out, and (gasp!) Mick too.  Maybe I read too much into it but I swear they were giving me the eye.  Maybe I imagined it, but I don’t think so.

Charlie Watts engaged me in conversation.  He was super nice.  We talked about the gig.  He told me he liked my band and thought we did a good job not overplaying.  The natural inclinationn on a big stage like that is to jump around too much and generally overplay and blow your voice out.  Charlie told me he likes to pretend he’s playing a small club.  I didn’t tell him I played EVERY GIG like it was a small club, because 9 out of 10 times, it was!

Keith and Ron were busy tuning guitars and riffing on practice amps.  They were all chain smoking.  At the time, I still smoked (I quit years ago) and I didn’t have any ciggys of my own.  So, I asked Mick Jagger for a cigarette.  He handed me his pack and said, “Here, man.  Take the whole pack.”  It turns out that each of the band members got an entire carton of cigarettes in the contract rider.  I accepted the pack of Marlboros (hard box) from Mick and lit one up.  I slipped the pack in my pocket and forgot about it.

When I got back to my dressing room and my guys found out I met the Stones and they didn’t, they bad-vibed me for hours.  However, after I apologized, I realized I had Mick’s ciggys in my pocket.  So I whipped them out.  “Look!”  I shouted, “I’ve got the sacred cigarettes of Jagger!”

Gary Phillips took the cigarettes home and put them on his mantel along with a set list from Keith’s monitor.  It was a little shrine to the Stones.

Well, we were scheduled to leave for another tour a few days later with Journey and Gary had a friend house-sit.  Can you guess what happened?  Yep, the friend smoked all the Marlboros, not realizing they were from Mick Jagger.  “Where are the sacred cigarettes?”  Gary screamed.   “I smoked ’em…”  “OK, where are the butts?”  Gary smoked those butts like they were roaches and I even think he might have actually gotten high.

I can’t tell you what it’s like playing in front of 80,000 people, but here’s a link to a video of the Stones from that night.  You can see how big it was.


They have since torn the Kingdome down, it was imploded on March 26. 2000, but I’ll never forget my gigs there with the Stones.  The venue might be gone, but the memories live on!