There ain't no stopping me
(1980): Heroin chic
Well, one of the things I was pointing out in a recent interview was that people think of heroin as a glamorous drug whereas really it's very expensive and not very good... So I thought there was this glamorizing of it by the magazines and TV, and that was what the danger was going to be with heroin... And then I couldn't BELIEVE the cover of the Soho when it came out - with that beautiful blond girl, and the heroin... because it's not like that at all. And even the INSIDE piece was all about these people who could sort of handle it on the weekend, you know what I mean? And it isn't like that at all... It is not a recreational drug. I don't think there is such a thing as a recreational drug, but anyway, heroin certainly isn't it... I think it's really irresponsible.
(1981): The Glimmer Twins at work
The story is that Mick and Keith are the producers. They work together on the basic tracks, but from then on they work separately and form their own opinions. So you end up with various mixes that Keith's done, as well as alternate mixes that Mick has done of the same material. At that point they haggle out which versions of each tune are best. I've never heard of them erasing each other's tapes (laughs) - it's more a question of fighting it out over which version of any given song will appear on the album.
(1980): Life with the Rolling Stones
You do get frustrated in a band like the Stones because it can be restrictive. There are five people with five different tastes: Keith might be mad about reggae and Jerry Lee Lewis; Mick's listening to the New York radio stations and funk; Charlie's back in England listening to Bix Beiderbecke; and I'm in the south of France listening to Hank Williams.
Sometimes, for a year or so, I'll find it very difficult to relate to Keith because he's totally opposite to me: the way he lives, what he likes, what he does, his friends, EVERYTHING. I have very little in common with him except the Rolling Stones. Then suddenly - POP! - he'd say something and we'd be mates for a yaer, then just as suddenly I'd feel pushed away. Or maybe I was pushing away, avoiding, sometimes with Mick. There are factors that hold the band together, apart from the music, but we don't see each other so much. Mick and Keith might see each other 'cause they're livin' in the same town. Woody and Keith might see each other a bit. I see Charlie occasionally. But we tend to come together ONLY when there's work. It really is like Christmas with the family; you get on all right, but you KNOW you wouldn't be able to stand it if they were living with you for a month. And I wouldn't! I wouldn't be able to stand to live with Keith or Mick, and I'm sure they couldn't stand it either.
(1980): Does he miss being onstage?
Yes. Desperately. No, I do, yes. I really want to get up there. Whether Bill can get up there or not is another matter. (Jokes) He said he was going to retire, didn't he? In two years. He named the date. We've got two years to find another bass player.
(1980): Rolling Stones music
Most Rolling Stones albums have been varied... I think it's really interesting to play in a band like that. It's not the times... There is a whole, weird sort of... What I was trying to explain earlier on is that we all change around our instruments, for instance, you know. Like... apart from the drums and everything. But, you know, everyone in the band has a go at something else. And that you come up with different sounds - like Indian Girl compared to Emotional Rescue is very different - it could be another band! You know what I mean?
I think... I find that interesting. And I think that's one of the things about this band which is... If it does anything good about it - I think that's one of the really good things about it. 'Cause everyone has a go. It's real English amateurism, really, when it actually comes down to it... It's always been like that.
(June 1980): Plans for the year
My idea is to get out another album this year and then we can get those motherfuckers out on the road! Instead of the same old treadmill of the road, studio, road, studio, we can take extended road trips or do anything we want to do; be movie stars or make solo albums.
Making Tattoo You
I spent 3 months going through like the last four, five albums finding stuff that had been either forgotten about or at the time rejected. And then I presented it to the band and I said, Hey, look guys, you've got all this great stuff sitting in the can and it's great material, do something with it.
(September 1980): The Rolling Stones
You know, they're congratulating the Stones on being together 112 years. Whoopee (laughs), you know... whoopee. At least Charlie and Bill still got their families. In the '80s they'll be asking, Why are these guys still together? Can't they hack it on their own? Why do they have to be surrounded by a gang? Is the little leader frightened someone's gonna knife him in the back? That's gonna be the question. They're gonna look at the Beatles and Stones and all those guys as relics...
They'll be showing pictures of the guy with lipstick wriggling his ass and the four guys with the evil black makeup on their eyes trying to look raunchy. That's gonna be the joke in the future.
(1984) & Mick Jagger (1995): John Lennon's assassination
Keith: Yeah, John and I, we hung out for a short period of time but it was quite intense. We used to hang out around '67, '68, drive around England for like days on end. And he was a sweet guy, he had a load of front - as they say in England, more front than Harrods. You know, he had a large exterior in that he was a real sweetheart of a guy. And if there was one way that guy shouldn't have gone, it was like that. But, at the same time, knowing John, I can imagine that he probably cracked a joke to himself as it happened. John was THAT human, you know...
I was just down the road when it happened and it - There's a million other people that it could've happened to, you know... (C)ome on, look what that guy gave and look what he got in return.
Mick: (H)e wrote really wonderful songs and performed them wonderfully... (G)reat songwriting, great personality, and he had all these other sides, which added to it: the writing, the drawing, the little books, the all-embracing, modernistic push, which was refreshing without being pretentious.
I was very sad and surprised (when I heard he had been shot). And it was all so horribly ironic. He thought he had found a place to be on his own, have this life, and he was quite taken with the idea that he was no longer in the Beatles, that he didn't have to have a lot of protection, bodyguards.... He wanted freedom to walk the block and get in the cab, and he felt in these big cities you can be anonymous.
I just felt very sad for the lost of someone that I loved very much. I didn 't write it up as a piece in The Guardian.
December 22, 1980: Ron Wood records again with Ringo Starr in Los Angeles.
Return to Time Is On Our Side main page