You're too deep in, you can't get out
|Mick Jagger & Charlie Watts (February 2018): The last time?
Mick: I haven’t really thought about this set of gigs being our last tour, to be honest. There is going to come a point when we don’t want to do it any more, for whatever reason, but I’m not thinking about that this summer.
I think you have to be honest … if you weren’t enjoying it or it was too much of an ask physically, to do it with the energy you would really require. You would have to seriously consider it, but I haven’t reached that point yet.
Charlie: I’ve got absolutely no idea. I’m looking forward to Sunday 8th July, which is the last show. That’s as far as I can think ahead with The Rolling Stones.
|Mick Jagger (February 2018): Conserving energy on tour
As soon as we come off stage, I’m in a car usually going back to the hotel. I’m pretty tired. But after an hour, I feel OK. But you can sometimes make the mistake of going out dancing, which is not always a good idea because you’ve got to conserve a bit of energy. On the last tour, I did make one or two mistakes like that. I got a bit over-exuberant on the after-show front. That’s no good, but I don’t usually feel that bad.
We play quite a long show – sometimes two hours and 15 minutes – so you’ve got to conserve some sort of energy. It’s like sport. You don’t go 100% all the time. It may appear you are, but you’re not. At the end, you feel OK, you’re not gonna lie flat on your back, that wouldn’t be a good ending. So I don’t feel too bad, normally.
|Charlie Watts & Keith Richards (February 2018): The end of the band
Charlie: I hope (when the band ends) that everyone says, That’ll be it. I’d hate for it to be a bloody big argument. That would be a real sad moment. But to say this is the last show wouldn’t be a particularly sad moment, not to me anyway. I’ll just carry on as I was yesterday or today.
I think if Mick or Keith retired then it would be (the end). But they could get another drummer, another guitar player. If Darryl didn’t want to do it anymore we’d have a nightmare finding another bass player but Mick and Keith would or could carry on. If Mick said I’m retiring I don’t know how we’d do a show without him, or Keith.
Keith: There's never ever been a word about it muttered among ourselves. I guess the day's obviously going to come, some day. But not in the near future. We're all looking forward to doing what we're doing, especially back in Blighty.... I never think about it. Never. I know loads of other people worry about it, and I let them concern themselves with it. Me, I'll wait for it to happen.
|Charlie Watts (February 2018): The new album
When we did the blues album Blue and Lonesome, that was in the middle of the second lot of sessions for the album. We’ve done another lot since then. So we’ve done three or four sets of sessions. But I don’t write the songs so I don’t have the final say. Once we’ve played them I’m not interested really (laughs). But Mick has to live with them and put his voice on them. Keith will sit for hours listening. I don’t know where we are with them to be honest. Every time we go in to the studio I think, Well that was the one. But it’s whether they’re happy with it and I don’t know if they are yet.
|Keith Richards (Late February-early March 2018): The new album
We’re working on it right now! I’m in the studio and I’m waiting for Mick to turn up. We’re doing a few days knocking some songs around and playing about, so work is in progress as I speak... He'll be here in half an hour and we'll be sitting face to face, making music, like always.
|Keith Richards (Late February-early March 2018): Trying sobriety
I'm not saying I'm definitely off all of this (alcohol). In six months' time, I might be on it again. But at the moment, for a couple of months, I haven't touched it... It's novel (laughs).
|Keith Richards (Late February-early March 2018): Heatlh of the band
So far, no one is tottering and falling over... Everyone is in remarkable shape and, yeah, as long as that holds up, I think we’ll keep at it... So far as I know, (Mick) doesn’t feel any pain. He would tell me if he did, I’m sure! He’s just in good form, I mean we all are.
|Keith Richards (Late February-early March 2018): The death of rock
I don't think eras end, they sort of fold and meld into each other. If rock & roll is at an end, when was the beginning? It's part of the blues, it's built into the musical framework of the world. If we're talking about fashion and all the other things, everything was rock for a while - you can't expect that to go on forever. But we'll see. We're going to be playing to several million people in the coming months, so I wouldn't call that dead.
|Ron Wood & Mick Jagger (March-April 2018): Starting the tour in Ireland
Ron: It was a nice surprise to find out that Ireland is going to be the first gig of the new tour because we’re going to try keep that momentum going from the earlier dates. When we finished the last leg, only a few months ago in Paris, Keith said to me, We’ve only just started to warm up. That’s the feeling with all of us, Mick and Charlie were the same, and we just felt like we were just beginning to let rip. Hopefully that momentum will keep up for Croke Park. I’m pretty sure that it will.
Mick: It should be really fun, we haven't played in Ireland for ages and we're really looking forward to coming.
|Charlie Watts (February 2018): Life as a Rolling Stone... 55 years on
I don’t really talk about (the Stones) much. They don’t really enter my life to be honest. If Mick rings up it’s not The Rolling Stones. Obviously there’s a bit of me that thinks it’s work. But he usually rings to ask my opinion on a design or something. He gets very annoyed with me because I don’t have a mobile. So he can’t get an instant reply – he’s a real speed freak. It has to go via the postman, then I have to ring him and hope he’s in. He gets a bit pissed off nowadays with that. Years ago, that’s how we used to design the stage. But now it’s a bit quicker. It’s easier to do it when we’re altogether. But other than that, they don’t really enter my life to be honest.
|Keith Richards (Mid-March 2018): Working with Mick|
The secret is that neither of us know what we’re going to do until we put ourselves together. And then just see what happens… I can walk in and say I hope Mick’s got a song because I haven’t got a thing (laughs) Probably vice versa at times. But the fact is when we get together we come up with something else anyway… It was a great week last week. We just - I don’t know we did about 10, 12 different things that didn’t exist until that moment. And that’s a great thing , you know, ‘cause it’s a sort of creative thing.
|Mick Jagger (April 2018): The Stones' success across 55 years
I mean it is a bit mind-boggling if you think about it. It's not something to be taken for granted I think. Why would you still after all this time when there's so many musicians out there, and there's so many great ones, and there's so many people with great songs, why would you still be in any way in demand? It's really a mystery but I'm very thankful for it. However the mystery unfolds, I'm very thankful that people still come along. It's brilliant for me.
|Mick Jagger (April 2018): Performing and writing songs
I still really enjoy it, you know... The last tour we did, the last European tours we did were really a lot of fun. We just keep going doing it... (I)t's not always easy being in a band but you sort of rub along and make the most of it. There's pluses and minuses, you know. In the end when you go on stage and you're doing the music together, I think it all gels and then everyone is really happy in being there and it all works perfectly. It's better than anything else.
My main job is to be the cheerleader for this band and sing, you know, and get out there and entertain. That's my main job. My other job is to write songs really, and then I've got lots of other things that I have to do. They're the most things that I like doing, is being out there and gently cavorting. I also said it before, I love writing.
|Keith Richards (2018): Touring the UK
The whole tour takes us through, oh man, England and Britain and Scotland and Wales. I mean to do it all in one go again is going to be very interesting... We started there. They'll probably be our most critical audience. Playing hometown makes you a bit nervous.
(Touring is) a habit. It's a lovely habit; it's one of the few I haven't given up. It's a joy to play with these guys, that's all. And they all want to do it. I mean who's going to be the first one of us to say I want to get off this bus. You know, get out of here, right? I mean, it's like... til you drop, you know.
|Mick Jagger (July 8, 2018): Onstage in Warsaw
I'm too old to judge, but young enough to sing. You know we came to Poland a long time ago, in 1967. It was fantastic. I hope that you get to hang on to everything youy've learned since then. God bless you.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (August 16, 2018): Goodbye Aretha
Mick: Very sad to hear the news about Aretha, she was so inspiring and wherever you were she always brought you to church.
Keith: It’s a sad day but what a glorious lady. Her voice says it all!
|Rolling Stones manager Joyce Smith (August 2018): The Rolling Stones in the next twelve months
They are certainly hoping to create some new music, maybe looking at some other genres. They’re creative people. They’re in a little bit of a holiday period at the minute, but they hope to be back in the studio soon, watch this space.
(If) you look at what the fans are saying, the fans that have been to see them on the last tour, it’s generally this: We watch (Mick and Keith) on stage, and the chemistry has never been better. That echoes my current experience and I honestly think that’s the case. It’s like being brothers or being married, nothing’s perfect, nothing’s made in heaven. And you’ve got to have some tension to make it as special as it is. But do they get on, do they work amazingly together – and do they love each other? Absolutely.
Yes, this is a holiday, and I’d rather not necessarily flag anything at the minute, only because plans are still being determined. The schedule is being prepared about where we’re going to be over the next 12 months, in terms of some studio work, maybe some live plans or other projects that are coming through the door. Absolutely, yes (we will hear from the Rolling Stones in the next twelve months).
|Keith Richards (November 2018): Recording with Mick and Don Was|
Mick and I got together for a few days a month or so ago in the studio, just playing around. It was great, man. We knocked out a few songs together with Don Was. We’re just working things through. We had a great time — got some nice stuff out of it.
|Ron Wood (Early October 2018): New painting adventure and upcoming Stones plans
Now we’ve just come off tour, I’ve been using my new studio to paint landscapes with guitars growing out of them. I’m combining my music and art. I’m on a really exciting adventure at the moment and have done about 20 oil paintings since the tour finished. I feel the same way about painting as I do about making music again.
I’ve got a feeling we’ll be carrying on back in the studio within the next few months. (I think the album wi)ll prompt another tour. You know me, I’m always hopeful!
|Mick Jagger (November 2018): A cameo
I just actually finished doing a cameo part in a movie which is kind of a twisted thriller, which is called The Burnt Orange Heresy. I just finished doing that in Italy. I did a couple weeks on that, so it’ll be out next year. It was only a small part, but fun to do.
|Ron Wood (November 2018): One More Yard
As someone who has had to deal with cancer, I am delighted to be part of this new awareness initiative – it's a great idea backed by some brilliant scientific people. I love the track One More Yard – a sad true story set to a haunting melody. It was a pleasure playing on it. I hope everyone gets behind this charity, and there will be more to come!
|Ron Wood (November 2018): The Chuck Berry concerts
A friend of mine, Ben Waters, he got together with Sally and said, What are you producing at the moment? She said, There’s a vacancy at Ronnie Scott’s in November. Ben said, Do you think Ronnie would come and join me? Why don’t we do a tribute to Chuck Berry? He plays just like Chuck’s piano player Johnnie Johnson. And I thought, Hmm, that sounds good. So I started with Almost Grown and Back in the U.S.A. And before I knew it, I had a whole repertoire. So I sang some. Imelda May sang some. It came out really wonderful. We did three gigs. And on the last night, Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck got up and we played a few together. Jeff Beck, I used to play bass with.
|Mick Jagger (November 2018): No Filter: From Europe to America
The thing about the European shows was that it was like midsummer, and the first half of the show was in sunlight basically, the lights didn’t really read into half of these shows.. I had to approach it more like it was a cheerful festival vibe. When it’s still light at the beginning, it affects the way you somehow choose the numbers, the attitude, your demeanor and the way the audience behaves. It’s outside.
I thought it was going to rain all the time. We did a lot of gigs in the U.K. and I had ordered a lot of rain clothes but then never used them. I was actually rather dreading this early spring-summer tour in northern Europe. We were thinking, Why are we doing this? It’s going to be terrible. But it was beautiful, and very unusual. I think it only rained a little the day we played Dublin, and by the time we went on it was finished.
For me it became a two-part show. The first half was sunny and bright, the second half more dark. For the U.S. shows, at least the first two-thirds of them, it’s all going to be in darkness, so I don’t have worry about that (shift in tone). I don’t anticipate much rain when we get to California.
(No Filter i)s supposed to mean that it’s pretty straight ahead and no frills.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (November 2018): Natural chemicals
Mick: When you go out in front of all those people you get an enormous rush of chemicals in your body — your own chemicals, not chemicals you’ve put in (laughs). Let’s face it, it is a huge buzz. Must be like playing football or something.
Basically your life’s attuned to doing those few hours onstage, and everything else is a build up to that. Of course, you get to enjoy yourself at other times, but really you’re thinking about the next show or the show you’re doing that night. A lot of prep time goes into that — keeping yourself (together) so you can get through the whole thing without screwing up physically and mentally and keeping yourself really sharp. But I really enjoy it.
Keith: If Mick can do it, I can do it.
|Keith Richards (November 2018): Deciding on a tour
Well, actually I think the idea was thrown out just at the end of that last tour. And in its very basic forms, it’s, Let's do another one — and where? Sometimes it seems to be quite haphazard, how it happens. But in a way there’s an inner clock in the Stones when they feel that they’re timing things right – as a band and for themselves. After all, we’ll have been off the road nearly nine months by the time we start this one. And so we’re going to have quite a long rehearsal (period) because we have to. You can’t just jump in after nine months and expect it all to fall together. Quite a lot of work goes in beforehand, you know.
|Keith Richards, Mick Jagger & Ron Wood (November 2018): Keeping on keeping on
Keith: Well first off it’s great to be there playing back in America actually, I mean it’s been a while, basically our stomping ground from the early 60s, so I always feel like I’m coming home. We finished off a few months ago in Europe and it just felt so good that when they said do you want to do the States? Yeah! Because I didn’t want to get off, I mean I thought we were just getting going.
Other (artists) have said this could be the last one. I never think of it that way. No, this is a hello again tour... If (those artists) mean it, that's the way it is. I just haven't got around to thinking in that head yet. I don't know, you never know. Maybe this will be the last one, I don't know.
Mick: Well we’ve been pretty regularly on the road – we’ve not been doing long, long, long stints we’ve been doing a lot of short ones. Last year we did a lot in UK and a little bit in Europe. We’re keeping our hand in and not getting too rusty, I hope. I haven’t been to quite a few of these places in a while.
We haven’t really had that conversation (about how long we'll continue touring). We’ve been quite happy doing these shows the way we’re doing them. Nobody’s really talking about stopping. But sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re still doing it.
Ron: The secret (to our longevity) is we keep raising the bar. Every time we go into rehearsal a new high is being created and a new bar is being raised. By the time we get on stage in front of that audience again all your aches and pains go out the window. You’ve got to be in top form. You’ve go to step out there and get it together. I love it. It keeps you young.
|Ron Wood (November 2018): The new 14-to-15-shows tour model
Unity for the enjoyment of the people, because this world is so full of bad news. We just want to put a smile on people’s faces. Come out, bring your kids and have a great time. Just get lost in the music. We have at least three generations of fans out there now! (laughs)
|Ron Wood (November 2018): The Stones' message for 2018
14 shows is a lot of work! (laughs) We’ve been in this kind of mode since 2014, doing 14 shows and such. We’ve got Christmas coming up and pretty soon it will be Apri . Yeah, we’re not getting any younger! It’s quite demanding to do this every three or four days considering all the traveling and hotels and wardrobe and interviews and moving around the family, and meet-and-greets. But it's great. I love it.
|Keith Richards (November 2018): Hanging out on tour
Charlie usually keeps very much to himself on the road. And usually by the time you get back from a show, you’re kind of knackered. But if we go to the bar or something, he’ll pop in. And we’ll throw dinners occasionally. But yeah otherwise you’re usually very much in working mode on the road.
Once you’re actually on the road, everybody pretty much does their own thing. There’s a couple nights you hang and a couple you don’t. We don’t all get in one room and play, being the Rolling Stones or anything. It’s a very professional event.
|Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (Late November-early December 2018): Working on the Stones' next album
Mick: Before we go on tour next year, we’ll do some more work on that. We’ll see how that goes.
I think it’s a shame we haven’t released more new music. So, I would hope we’re going to release some music. We do have a huge catalog.
(Writing new songs is) going good. I’ve got lots of stuff. I’m doing some more writing this week. And I’m always, like, messing around. I enjoy the writing process a lot. I mean, you always think the last thing you wrote is really wonderful, and sometimes they’re really not (laughs). But it’s really fun doing it, and it’s really enjoyable doing new things.
Keith: (T)here might be a session sometime in December, but I’m not crossing my fingers on that.
(I can't say when it's going to be ready.) Like I say, early stages. I would say if I’m looking at it, we’re going to do this tour, so maybe this time next year, I would say. Maybe. That looks like a reasonable projection... I can’t describe (the sound of) it – you know that! It’s guitars, drums and bass.
Mick and I got together the last few months with Don Was in the studio, and we’ve been knocking up some ideas. We want to do some more sessions, but not sure when. We might do something in February and March. It’s progressing. All I can say, there are a couple of nice things happening, with the promise of a lot more, and we’re having fun doing it. We get together, and it’s always, Got anything new? Did anything else occur? And a couple of songs always pop up.
You jump into this familiar spot, even if we’ve been away for months. It’s comfortable kicking around ideas. We’ve been doing this for a while, so it’s not difficult to start up again. Mick is a great rhythm guitar player -- I always enjoyed playing guitar with him because we’re both rhythm guys really. We’re writing with two guitars, and I might throw piano or bass on here and there.
Ron: (W)e’ve been hacking songs into shape. I’m gonna go off to Paris and see Mick next week and see what his latest thoughts are after he’s got together with Keith. It’s an ongoing thing of comparing what is on the cooker at the moment and some ideas we’ve had for years that we may embellish upon. It’s quite interesting building this new album. You can’t say there’s a title for it. The tracks haven’t actually been chosen yet.
Mick and Keith wanted to make sure the songs (we've done) were really good, so we’ve sort of taken a step back again, have a listen: put more into the pot.
|Keith Richards & Ron Wood (December 2018): Keith quitting alcohol...
Keith: It’s been about a year now. I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it... (I'll still have) a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer... It was time to quit. Just like all the other stuff...
You can call it (an adjustment) yeah (laughs). But I don’t notice any difference really – except for I don’t drink. I wasn’t feeling (right). I’ve done it. I didn’t want that anymore... It was interesting to play sober (this year).
Ron: He’s a pleasure to work with. Much more mellow. He’s open to more ideas, whereas before I’d kind of grit my teeth and go, He’s gonna give me some shit for saying this. Now, he’ll say, That’s cool, man. It just wasn’t working anymore, you know. I think the Keith that we used to know and love had this cutoff point where if he had one more, he’d go over the top and he’d be nasty. The cutoff point became shorter and shorter, you know, and he realized that.
I was lucky to get on the wagon when I did and was ready for all the stuff that came at me, cancer and all that. Luckily it was all in one place and I had it removed. I got my life again – I got a second chance and my little girls and my whole life now is so much better. I think Keith is seeing that kind of thing as well. And then he went on to the beers for a while, he cut down slowly, and now, you know, good luck to him. If he’s gonna keep it up, I’ll be there, full support.
We’re weaving (our guitars) a lot more conscientiously now. We’re much more aware of the gaps and the spaces between. We’re in our seventies, but we’re still rocking like we’re 40-year-olds, you know?
|Keith Richards (December 2018): ...and reducing cigarette smoking|
(L)ately, in fact - spread the news! - I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day, and I'm still working on it. Because I realized I don't need it. I realized it's just a useless habit. But hey, when you're 75, habits are pretty ingrained.
|Keith Richards (December 12, 2018): Working on the Stones album at Germano Studios|
Mick and I get together in this studio for a couple of weeks throughout the year... (I)t's all in the early stages, but there's some interesting stuff coming out taht isn't necessarily... it ain't the Stones trying to be the Stones. It's the Stones still trying to be! (laughs)
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