We haven't really talked it through, but I don't think I'd be out of order by saying that I doubt we would actually get somone new in the band who would be a permanent Rolling Stone. We'll go out on the tour and make a record with a bass player and then we'll see how that works over a two-year period.
I think to keep that band together in the future, there's a definite possibility of some great Stones stuff to come. I'm not ruling out another golden period of the Stones if everything falls into place and the full moon's come in the right place (laughs).
We don't (need a permanent bass player). We want someone for the next project, which will be making an album and going on a tour, probably. After that, I'm not guaranteeing he's going to work for the next 25 years (laughs).
I don't really know (what it signifies). I don't really set a lot of store by these anniversaries. Rolling Stone Magazine seems to have them all the time, but the Rolling Stones never celebrated their 15th or 20th or 25th year in show business.
When I went to see John Lee Hooker for the first time - when I was, like 17 - I thought, Wow, he's SO OLD. He'll never be able to carry on much longer. And he must have been about 38 then. And he's still here! Either you're dead or you move along.
I'm always a bit worried about (becoming obsessed with age) 'cause it always makes you set a lot more store by it than you should really be bothered with. I mean, as long as you can deliver the goods, I think - compose and sing and make the record and perform. I never seem to tire of writing and performing. I LOVE putting on those big shows.
It's kind of like an adventure, the Stones. You can't give up now. Once you're in, you take it to the end. If you got off the bus now you'd spend the rest of your life wondering where the end of the line was. We're the only ones here, so in a way there's a duty to see how far you can take it. I think there's a possibility of another gold period in the Stones somewhere.
I just don't want to see the Stones grasping hungrily to be up to date and have hit records, I just want the Stones to do the best they can. They're the only ones who can do it. I want to make really good stuff. If we get hits out of it fantastic, but if not they'll be damn good records, and they'll still last, and they'll be around a long time.
I hate that thing where you say it's the last tour and beg for sympathy, (like) if you don't come, you never see them again. I'm not gonna say it's the last tour. I think it's a mistake to say that.
We're out on a limb all on our own - nobody's kept it together this long. It's like one of those old maps where there are dragons, and it says END OF THE WORLD. Where is it? You don't know. You're supposed to fall off here. We have no road maps, no way of knowing how to deal with this. But everyone wanted to do it. We can still show 'em a trick or two. And learn a trick or two in the process. I'm very proud of the career, as long as it's gone. Still, it's the old story - who's going to get off of this bus while you're still feeling good about it?
I just say no (when someone wants me to answer if this is the last tour) - because I don't know the answer. My thing about it is, I hate trading off it. I see a lot of bands do that. It's not a new thing, either, it's ancient. Like an old actor: This is my last tour. I'm not doing Hamlet anymore. You'll never see it again. It's just something to sell tickets with. My personal thing is always I will do the next Rolling Stones record and tour. I am very happy. But I will not promise any more. Because I don't want to promise something I don't know I can really deliver... Of course (grins), whenever we play, it's always the last time someone will see us. They might get run over by a bus the next day. For them, it WAS the last time.
Man, I don't know how long I'm going to live. I was No. 1 on the death list for 20 years. Here's all I know: I look around and say, There's Mick, there's Charlie, and here's me, and we're the Rolling Stones, and God knows how that happened. It's just you and your mates from way back. And then you start playing, and it feels the same as it did in the beginning.
On any given night, we're still a damn good band. And on some nights, maybe even the best band in the world. So screw the press and their slagging about the Geritol Tour. You assholes. Wait until you get our age and see how you run. I got news for you, we're still a bunch of tough bastards. Strings us up and we still won't die.
You're probably more ready for (touring) now than you were (in 1964). And after all, in those days a show lasted 20 minutes... You know, the teenage days. So that wasn't really so much hard work... The guys are probably in better shape now then they've ever been. Really. First off, you've got to be to even contemplate doing this, you know. When you're rehearsing, you're working maybe 10, 12 hours a day with the guitar around your neck. So by the time you get onstage and do two hours - although obviously doing a show, the lights and adrenalin, you put a lot more in there - it's kind of nothing after 12 hours a day.
(Touring at 50 is m)uch more difficult. Much more difficult. It's just physically more difficult because you're not 20. You know, you're going to get more tired, and you get more injuries. (Chuckles). You just will. And if you don't think you will, then wait till they come!
Keeping a band together this long, it was bound to hit a rock patch somewhere. And when that happens to most bands, that's usually it. The ship founders on that rock forever. The strength of the Stones is that they didn't. We went through it all, Mick and I went through whatever we went through, and put it all back together. And now we've got it on a very interesting track again. To us, it's like the Rolling Stones II. We're almost like starting agin, you know.
If we made it through the 1980s, we can go on forever.
With age, what you learn most is doing what you do even better. That doesn't mean Louis Armstrong at 70 was better than Louis Armstrong at 20. But he did get Louis Armstrong across better. And the same is true of the Stones. It must seem strange that we do the same thing with the same boys all these years later. It seems strange to me. But it's like when you get drunk at a bar and wonder later how you got home. You know where you are - you're home - but how did you get there? That's the mystery.
I should be interviewing you. You've never known a world without the Rolling Stones. For you, there has always been the sun and the moon and the Rolling Stones. And me? I've known Mick Jagger since before rock & roll.
It's surprising how much you do remember. Someone comes up and says, I saw you in Heidelberg in 1976. Do you remember the guy who ran out onstage? And you say, Fucking hell, I do remember!
Keeping a band together this long, it was bound to hit a rock patch somewhere... We went through it all, Mick and I went through whatever we went through, and put it all back together. And now we've got it on a very interesting track again. To us, it's like Rolling Stones II. We're almost like starting again, you know.
This is one of the things we're proud of, to keep a band together this long and still deliver new things. We're not on a nostalgia trip. We're not playing for people who remember when they got laid to one song in the '60s. We're trying to connect then with now and keep going.
Everybody brings (the age thing) up. I don't really care. My singing's better than it ever has been. I can't quite do the sort of jumps I used to. But I do other things, different dances. And I can still cover a lot of ground, so it doesn't really worry me very much. I can do everything I did 5 years ago, just as good, if not better. I have a lot of control...
Not bad for a bunch of old farts.
It's a good way of making a living. I think we'll just keep making a living at it.
I haven't made up my mind (about returning to the United States in the new year)... (It) would be a bad mistake (repeating the same show). We have to do another show... I don't think Charlie's wildly enthusiastic, nor am I. Sure, you can keep touring forever if you want, but I don't know whether Keith and Ronnie have thought it through. I don't think they'll turn anything down.
No. I can't even spell the word. It's just the latest tour.
(The future is) a mystery. I don't know what's going to happen with the Rolling Stones. I mean, one is always very confident about the future. But what's actually going to happen is a mystery... 'Cause anything can happen in life and quite frequently does. We don't have set plans. But I dare say the Rolling Stones will do more shows together. But I don't know exactly what framework the next tour in the United States would take, nor do I know what form the next Rolling Stones music will take. But I'm sure there will be Rolling Stones music and there will be Rolling Stones shows.
We're still going. People's idea of the Stones changes from when they first heard them; there's many ideas and concepts of what the Stones are to listeners, just depending on how long they've known us. We're constantly going forward as well, always looking for the Stones in the same way.
Mick: (Joking around) So... there's one thing though. When I was very young, before I got involved in music, I kind of fancied myself as being a tough... a tough, original investigative journalist and there's always this one thing I wanted to do. Hang on a minute... (Walks into the crowd and faces the other Stones.) I want to ask the Rolling Stones a very original question: Is this going to be your... (pauses) last... tour? (Applause and laughter from the journalists assembled.)
Keith: Yeah, this and the next five.
I still feel like I'm 23. My kids are, like, You're so old. That's the hardest thing about old - when the kids kind of rub it in.
(Laughs) Do you think we know? Everyone always says this is the last, or that's the last. Nobody has taken it this far down the line. We have got to go out there and find out if it can be done. ... It would be a terrible waste for us to get this far down the line and not carry on.
I talked to (Bill Wyman) the day before yesterday, but he gave it up. He got to a point in his life and gave it up. We'll all do that. I'll do that some day... I will, I'm sure. I don't think I'll ever stop playing, but I'll certainly stop touring. It's nerve-racking.
I want to do it like Muddy Waters did it - till I drop. I have no reason to stop. I enjoy it. That's what I'm good at, and I'll do it without an audience if I have to. I always think of it in those terms, at the same time knowing the psychology of what goes on in the music business and kind of understanding it. Because no band has ever survived this long, so the actual emphasis is on the longevity and the survival. We could have written all the jokes ourselves. You know what they're going to start saying, so you just have to ride it out. In a way it spurs the band on a bit - You stupid little turd, watch THIS! At the beginning of the Voodoo Lounge tour we all sensed that people were coming to see if we could still make it for two hours. But these boys are a lot tougher than you think. We're all late bloomers, you know what I mean? (laughs) In actual fact, we thrive on it. Voodoo Lounge kicked all that shit ouf of the way for us. It was really wearying - that's what makes you feel old, people telling you, exaggerating it. I wish anybody my age was in my shape. I'd wish it on them all.
I suppose you do think about the time that's allotted to you more than when you were younger. The mortality thing obviously has a stronger pull for you. It's an imminent truth; it's not necessarily a bad thing. You realize - much earlier than my age now - that you won't be able to play for England's football team, just to take a really crass example. So you can't have that life again. Unless you believe in reincarnation or whatever. Reincarnation? That's a whole other question. I find people who talk about that sort of thing in interviews idiotic. And I don't want to go down with them.
We will carry on until we're old men like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf... (We'll play) Soldier Infirmary Field, maybe! (laughs) We'll have to cross that bridge when we can't walk anymore. But I don't see why we can't carry on playing places like (Chicago's) Soldier Field forever.
I'd hate to have to go around thinking about health and shit like that. It's never occurred to me. This is what I am, this is what I've got, and I do what I do. It's such a sturdy frame, this; I even abused it to see how far it could go, but that was a long time ago. Hey, I've got the measure of this thing.
When we were first asked (if this was the last time) in 1966, I said it would be the last time. But I'm usually wrong.
(Some TV comedians) can't understand why I can do what I can do "at my age". What is it with these guys? Because they can't do it? Just because chicks throw their panties at me and I'm 54? So I'm sorry, you little boys who can't get that action... Sometimes you feel a certain pressure of being wished to death. That kind of can get to you. It just stinks a bit. Shit, they've been wishing me dead since the early '70s, man.
You'd think that us still playing would be a positive thing. For twenty odd years we've had to fight the question of how long can you go on. That's our question as well. It's not that we have the answer, but we can go on long enough. The band's rocking, and they're loving what they're doing.
I want to continue to do music that I'm very involved with. I love performing and I don't see why we can't carry on doing it in various ways. It doesn't always have to be exactly the same.
How can we stop? You tell me. We've been through there. I don't know. I don't make plans. Why should I stop?
Mick: Every time you go out, I suppose it's like testing yourself again. But I just find it enjoyable and challenging, and, you know, it's not going to go on forever, is it?
Q: There seems to be no end in sight.
Mick: Well, it can't last forever, so I'm glad to be able to do it for as long as possible. In some ways, it's a bit of a joke; but in other ways, people seem to really enjoy it. The audience really, really loves this stuff, so it makes me feel good about it.
People reach creative peaks at different times and you never know when it's going to come again. Especially with a team, with a band. So, in a way, I suppose the quest is: Let's find out how long a rock & roll band can go. Nobody knows because the music's not been around for that long. There's a certain missionary sense that goes unspoken amongst us. And I've always felt that there's a slight racial bias because if you're white you're not supposed to do it. If I was black, nobody would go on about how old I was, they'd say wonderful that he's still going. They wouldn't go on about thinning hairlines and wrinkles and all that crap.
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