People are making a big deal out of Fatboy Slim and Soulwax doing remixes of tracks from the Rolling Stonesâ€™ 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 â€œMiss You,â€ 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 didnâ€™t have much of a personality when â€œMiss Youâ€ was made, but it definitely had one by the time Undercover arrived. The band went the â€˜extend the album versionâ€™ route with the albumâ€™s first single, â€œUndercover of the Night,â€ but when it came time to issuing remixes of the third single â€œToo Much Blood,â€ the band chose New York freestyler Arthur Baker to man the boards. The difference between the remixes for â€œUndercoverâ€ and â€œToo Much Blood,â€ 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 â€“ one of which, a Funkadelic-style synth bass, doesnâ€™t appear until after the third chorus â€“ 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.
Bakerâ€™s mix of â€œToo Much Bloodâ€ 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 doesnâ€™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, itâ€™s the work of frequent Baker collaborators the Latin Rascals, the edit-happy duo that carved up Warren Zevonâ€™s â€œLeave My Monkey Aloneâ€ 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 â€œbonus grooveâ€ segment of the track. The song seemingly ends at the 8:35 mark, only to rise from the dead â€“ 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 â€“ and go completely apeshit for another four minutes. Backwards drum tracks, Mickâ€™s voice sampled at various speeds, and what would ultimately become half of Phil Hardingâ€™s playbook, from the galloping kick drum to the syncopated clap track, make the trackâ€™s third act a bonus dub mix of sorts. You can dance to it all, of course, but itâ€™s much more fun to simply listen to.
Regrettably, we do not have the songâ€™s dub mix to post with it. (Must get USB turntable, stat.) Itâ€™s worth inclusion solely for the part where Baker has fun with Jagger chastising Michael Jackson for his â€œThrillerâ€ video. â€œVery fucking funny, Michael!â€ Jagger yells. The next year, of course, Mick would duet with Michael on â€œState of Shock.â€ Very fucking funny, Mick.