People are making a big deal out of Fatboy Slim and Soulwax doing remixes of tracks from the Rolling Stones’ back catalog, but this is truly much ado about nothing. The band, after all, was one of the first rock acts to play the remix game with “Miss You,” and beginning with their 1983 album Undercover, they would commission remixes of nearly every song they released as a single. Few bands understand crossover potential like the Stones. Whether you were at the concert hall or in the club, the Stones loved you. And your money.
The remix genre didn’t have much of a personality when “Miss You” was made, but it definitely had one by the time Undercover arrived. The band went the ‘extend the album version’ route with the album’s first single, “Undercover of the Night,” but when it came time to issuing remixes of the third single “Too Much Blood,” the band chose New York freestyler Arthur Baker to man the boards. The difference between the remixes for “Undercover” and “Too Much Blood,” to borrow an expression from comedian Larry Miller, is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.
While the modus operandi of remixers today is to strip a song of all of its definable characteristics, Baker did the opposite; he would keep the track more or less intact, and would add a couple elements to punch things up. In this case, punching up the track meant two new keyboard lines – one of which, a Funkadelic-style synth bass, doesn’t appear until after the third chorus – and a whole mess of percussion. What was once a song is now a party, and now that everyone is feeling festive, Baker decides to have a little fun.
Baker’s mix of “Too Much Blood” is 12:33. That is not a typo. Twelve and a half minutes of Stones-y goodness, nearly twice the already lengthy album version. If that seems like a tad too much remix for a song that has little more than a catchy chorus at its core, fret not. Baker has some tricks up his sleeve, and doesn’t even begin to play his hand until the 2:42 mark, when he turns the big horn riff on its ear. Wham, wham, wham, wham, wha-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-wham-wham-wh-wh-wh-wh-WHAM! Holy shit, what was that? Actually, it’s the work of frequent Baker collaborators the Latin Rascals, the edit-happy duo that carved up Warren Zevon’s “Leave My Monkey Alone” in the White Label installment from a few weeks ago. Heck, even the Lord-Alge brothers, both Chris and Tom, got their hands on this remix.
If the edits are what you enjoy, then you will luuuuuuuuurve the “bonus groove” segment of the track. The song seemingly ends at the 8:35 mark, only to rise from the dead – a fitting analogy given the gruesome story Mick tells after the first chorus about the Japanese guy in Paris who cut up his girlfriend and put her in his refrigerator – and go completely apeshit for another four minutes. Backwards drum tracks, Mick’s voice sampled at various speeds, and what would ultimately become half of Phil Harding’s playbook, from the galloping kick drum to the syncopated clap track, make the track’s third act a bonus dub mix of sorts. You can dance to it all, of course, but it’s much more fun to simply listen to.
Regrettably, we do not have the song’s dub mix to post with it. (Must get USB turntable, stat.) It’s worth inclusion solely for the part where Baker has fun with Jagger chastising Michael Jackson for his “Thriller” video. “Very fucking funny, Michael!” Jagger yells. The next year, of course, Mick would duet with Michael on “State of Shock.” Very fucking funny, Mick.