They've been outcasts all their lives
and Alexis Korner: Mick Taylor wanting out
Bill: Taylor felt he was wasting his time. He didn't like spending ten hours working on a track he could master in three hours.
Alexis Korner: When Mick Taylor joined the band his attitude was It's OK getting the money and playing with the band but I'm splitting after 18 months to do my own thing. I told him to join but I told him it was ridiculous to believe he'd leave within 18 months. Once you get used to the Stones and a life of ease with various habits there's no getting out.
(1973): Without a home
Charlie will stay in the South of France all the time. I just don't. Even two weeks in one place gets to be a maximum. The only time we stay anywhere longer is to finish off an album. I could go back to South of France but I never liked it there; soon as we cut the first album we left; I left im-ME-diately. I vist Ireland a lot; I had a house there for six months, and I prefer London, but I can't go there. So I'm very happy moving every two weeks. I've got it down.
(1973): Old numbers in Australia
Actually we were doing a bunch of old numbers when we were touring Australia. Route 66 we did... Bye Bye Johnnie and It's All Over Now. One thing about working up the old songs is that Mick Taylor doesn't know 'em and would have to learn 'em from the beginning. I mean, there are songs like Have Mercy which I'd love to work up again.
March 1973 and the start of the end
While Keith was away I'd be starting to get off heroin, really trying, but then he'd return and he'd get me on it just as bad as before. People who used to be friends began to get very bitchy toward me. Keith had this entourage of hangers-on who were always around the house, came for a weekend, stayed on for weeks and months, always a house full of freeloading sycophants, Yes,Keith, yes, anything you say, Keith, no private life, no time to talk, the suppliers bringing us the heroin, but that's all we had in common.
Friends with Ronnie
Ronnie Wood is an old friend of mine. He's probably the guy that I've known longest. I know him since I was 15, we used to play together when he was in the Birds. I always knew that Ronnie Wood was going to take over from me when I left... I went to his house first because I knew Ronnie, and then Mick and Keith started coming out there. I don't actually think they knew Ronnie that well. They knew Rod Stewart and they knew the Faces, they knew Ronnie a little bit but they didn't know him that well. But him and Keith became good friends.
Ending it with Jimmy Miller
Jimmy Miller went in a lion and came out a lamb. We wore him out completely... Jimmy was great, but the more successful he became the more he got like Brian... (H)e ended up carving swastikas into the wooden console at Island Studios. It took him 3 months to carve a swastika. Meanwhile, Mick and I finished up Goats Head Soup.
(1973): The Keith Richards image
You see, I don't really give a damn what they - what the media or whatever you call 'em - write about me. You know, I'd just like to see all those c*cksuckers spending an hour onstage doing what I do, and see how they stand up to it. I just presume they have nothing better to do, or that they're hard up for a story, or whatever. It still goes on and I just go along with the Bad publicity is better than no publicity idea. I mean, if they wrote about me as the sweet, gentle, loving family man, it would probably do me more damage. And be equally untrue. They don't know anything anyway. They'll just blow anything up out of all proportions like that Ron Wood to replace Keith Richards story which started off as a mildly funny drunken joke we thought up at Tramps one night, and which Fleet Street got hold of and blew up.
Same with the busts. Everyone thinks I've been busted hundreds of time when in fact this now is only the second time I'ver even been brought up before a court. I mean Mick Jagger's been busted more than I have, but because you're a celebrity or whatever, everyone gets to hear about it.
I suppose we ask for it if we record things like Star Star. Christ, I don't do these things intentionally. I just wrote it. If girls can do that, I can certainly write about it, because it's what I see.
(1973): Back on the road
I like it on the road. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't go out there, I'd go mad.
(October 1973): Good shows, OK shows
I know when I've given a lousy performance and I know when I'm great. I've worked myself into a state where I know I'd never ever give a very, very bad performance, but concerts vary and I think it's amusing that most writers can never really distinguish between a mediocre gig and a great one. Like those Wembley concerts, where I just wasn't on form - almost everyone said how great I was when I knew I wasn't doing my best. I mean, the first show there was horrible! But then there were concerts like the first show at Birmingham - were you there? - now that was a gtreat one, because the audience just stayed rigid in their seats and I found myself playing to the air which was beautiful in a way. I perform for anyone who's putting out some kind of reaction, and if there's no perceivable reaction I'll perform to the air. And that's sometimes when my finest moments happen.
(Sept. 1973): Onstage
Right now, I'm sticking pretty much to playing rhythm onstage. It depends on the number actually, but since Brian died, I've had to pay more attention to rhythm guitar anyway. I move more now simply because back when we were playing old halls I had to stand next to Charlie's drums in order to catch the beat, the sound was always so bad.
I like numbers to be organized - my thing is organization, I suppose - kicking the number off, pacing it and ending it. Either I fuck it up completely or it really comes together.
(1978): Gram Parsons' death
It was (a shock), because Gram was one of my closest friends. Unfortunately many of my closest friends have died suddenly. It's like they've always been very compulsive people and Gram was no exception. Maybe it's the attraction of opposites? While they were with me, I could always hold them down... I could take care of Gram. But once he'd moved back to L.A. or whatever to form his own band, I started hearing stories... oh shit.
The blood change legend
Someone asked me how I cleaned up, so I told them I went to Switzerland and had my blood completely changed. I was just fooling around. I opened my jacket and said, How do you like my blood change? That's all it was, a joke. I was fucking sick of answering that question. So I gave them a story...
Keith Richards and heroin
Keith is the only fuckin' guy I know who manages to keep some semblance of reality going on when he's smacked out. The guy is so strong it's ridiculous. We were in a hotel room one day in Amsterdam around '73. There were four or five of us and Keith laid out some speedballs. And I said, C'mon let's do another one. And Keith said to me, Andy, you've really got to try to keep this under control. And I thought, fuck me, KEITH RICHARDS is telling ME to cool out. I MUST be going overboard.
Watts (Oct. 1973): Money in Europe
It's hardly a financially successful operation. The last time we toured Europe we actually lost money. Can you imagine that? Having to slave around playing all these places and then finding out you've lost money. This might just be the first European tour we make any money on, though I don't know. Really, I'll be the last one of all to know about it.
Andy Johns: Keith and fire
People are saying, Fuckin' great, Keith got off again, and all of a sudden smoke starts coming in. We rush into the other room and one of the beds is completely aflame. One side of the double bed was on fire. It was incredible, we'd already been to court, Keith nearly got done, and here we are and the kids nearly get it. I thought, I'm getting out of here, man! People are running up and down the corridor calling us fuckin' rock and roll bastards, screaming we're trying to kill them all.
Making a solo album
I felt like I was on my own out in the wild somewhere and I could not get back to being one of the lads. I needed to get away from being a Rolling Stone. Keith's whole life might be the Rolling Stones, but mine isn't.
"It's Only Rock 'n Roll"
Mick (Jagger) and I worked out I Can Feel the Fire and after we'd done that, he said, Help me with this song, It's Only Rock n Roll, 'cause I wanna see how it turns out. So, say on a Tuesday evening: two guitars - Mick and I - and Mick singing lead vocal and David Bowie and myself on backup vocals. Then I overdubbed the rest of the instruments last and it sounded like a good demo. So the next night, we wanted to put it in a more presentable shape so we got hold of Kenny Jones who plays the drums on the actual record. Ah... I ended up with just my acoustic guitar that I laid originally. Keith replaced - RIGHTLY SO - the guitars that I'd done electrically.
road manager: Keith Richards turning 30
No one expected Keith to make thirty. He disappointed a lot of people by turning thirty, but not me. I expect him to turn old. Keith's life is like the film On The Beach when they say, The last ones alive will be drunks and rabbits. Drink kept the radiation away. And it's the same with Keith. When everybody is gone and done what they're gonna do, Keith will be the only one left alive. Just like the rabbits and the drunks.
Late December 1973: Mick Jagger takes part in a jam/recording session with
John Lennon and others at the
Record Plant in Los Angeles, recording the unreleased Too Many Cooks.
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