Michael Anthony's bass tech once feared he was being "taken" by Mick Jagger

Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 7:36PM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Michael Anthony's longtime bass tech Kevin "Dugie" Dugan got himself into hot water with Mick Jagger when he accidentally knocked him over backstage during the heat of a gig in 1981.

Van Halen was onstage opening up for The Rolling Stones when Anthony encountered a problem with his No. 1 bass.

Dugan recalled the episode during a recent conversation with Ultimate Guitar. With the band onstage, he was responding to Anthony's problem in a whirlwind, rushing to a storage box backstage where two men were standing in his path.

“I see Bill Graham, the promoter, and he's leaning on my workbox talking to some other guy,” Dugan remembers. “So, I yell, ‘Bill! Get out of the way!’ Bill jumps out of the way, and I grab the door of my workbox and throw it open. … The other guy he was talking to — the door hits him in the chest, and he flies back on his ass about five feet. I yell, 'Sorry,' grabbed the strings, ran back out, changed strings and got Michael his number one bass back.”

With the first crisis dealt with, Dugan found Graham to apologize. It was there that he realized Jagger was the person he'd knocked over. Graham was diplomatic, but Dugan never got to apologize to Jagger. By that time the frontman was presumably getting ready to take the stage with the Stones.

But word of what happened traveled quickly.

"Michael comes offstage, and I'm not sure how he found out so quickly, but the first thing he says is, 'You knocked Mick Jagger on his ass?'" Dugan recalls.

A few years later, one of Dugan's colleagues, Jim Barber, was staying with him in Los Angeles to work on a Mick Jagger solo album. Dugan went to meet Barber at LAX to help him load his gear into a van bound for the studio.

"So, I started helping go back and forth and grab gear and put it in the van, and every time I'm walking past this limo," Dugan continued.

During one trip, two crewmen near the limo stepped into Dugan's path.

"They open the door to the limo, blocking my path, and they push me into the limo and slam the door shut. … Mick Jagger is sitting there by himself, and he looks at me and he goes, ‘I understand we've met before.' … I’m sitting there thinking, ‘What the f--k?’”

Jagger began speaking, first asking Dugan to help him secure Anthony for a guest appearance on his album. He then invited him to dinner, before his mood abruptly fell.

"All of the sudden, his facial expression changed, and he lunged at me, grabbed me by my shirt … pulls me towards him and says, ‘If you ever knock me on my ass again, I'll have you killed!’”

As a mixture of confusion and horror began to set in, Jagger began to crack up.

“[Jagger] rolls the window down, and there were 10 people outside laughing and saying, ‘We got you!’ That was pretty funny. The fact that Jim got Mick to do that is something else.”

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission

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