It'll come around again, I should think. It's totally up to Mick and Keith. They've got the hardest bit to do, which is to write the songs. I mean, I could say we're starting next week and no one would listen. What would we do? We'd end up with another album of drum instrumentals, and I don't think the others would be too keen.
I think we'll be touring the Stones again quite soon. I'm sure it will happen.
I'd be scared of stopping. What I do is play the drums. I've never found anything to take its place. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't do it. As you get older, you suddenly have this number in front of you and you haven't got a great deal of time left. You panic a bit. Two years' touring out of that is prime time, and two years is too long to keep doing the same thing.
I've been thinking about this for a while. When we started playing you played for screaming girls of 16. Since the Spice Girls that's all changed; now they're 4. Now I do think that a 60-year-old bloke - who shall be nameless - and his drummer singing about honky tonk women is a bit daft in today's pop world. But if there's an audience for us, why not? We could go on until we are at least 70.
I can ensure you that the Rolling Stones will go out on tour again, only at this point I can't say exactly when. It will, however, be in the foreseeable future.
I don't think we ever intended to do any touring this year. We were always talking about working next year and we've been planning what we're going to do. We're going to be working next year which is coming up to our 40th anniversary... I think there should be something new and good out there but what it's going to be, I don't know...
(The last) tour was so long, I don't think even Keith and Ronnie would want to do that again. Strange things happen to you on a tour that long. No matter how rooted you are, it plays with your perspective on life. It's too long to be getting so much attention. I don't feel I'm being creative enough on tour. I know how Honky Tonk Women goes by now and I don't need a lot of my faculties to sing it. A tour like that becomes a test of how strong you can be. It becomes a fitness thing, which isn't really where you want to be.
I think I am very mature for my age. I have moments when I am very grown up (laughs). No one likes getting old, but enjoying life is not the prerogative of young people. That's a very narrow view. I think it is wrong to behave as if you are 19 years old all the time, but it doesn't mean I have to be boring, sit around, reminisce and dismiss modern life as some awful incursion into my reverie about what I did in the 1960s.
(The press' comments about the Rolling Stones' ages has) got worse and worse. Does it just prove that journalists can add up how much four people's ages come to? Thank God Bill's not in the group. Audiences don't seem to worry - it's only the press that seems to care. They are the ones who are old and old-fashioned and old hat. Rock & roll has been around for fifty years. So it's inevitable that some of the people doing it are quite old and have been around a long time. You don't have to be a genius to work that out. But it has established for itself a rather venerable history. It may not be that intricate a form of music, or that intellectual a form of music, but it's certainly there and has established a tradition. Pink Floyd touring at their age is just as interesting to some people as Duke Ellington touring was.
The Stones would keep going even if they all died... I don't know (how long the Stones will keep performing). For as long as they can still do it with some sense of dignity, I suppose. (And some sense of energy.) Which will hopefully be for a little bit longer.
The secret of the Stones is a fierce kind of loyalty and no desire to quit. Everybody's getting a little older but nobody really feels that there isn't more inside. We'e still waiting for the band to grow up. Even if there's only three of us left eventually.
No, this won't be the last tour. What I said before is, If it's the last tour, fine. But it probably won't be the last time we'll play. The last tour was two years long. I don't think we can do a 2-year tour again. Who knows? When we started the last one, it was for a year... If things are really great on this, (the tour might be extended). All the temptation will be to carry on.
People started asking Is this going to be your last tour? in 1966 - I distinctly remember that. I've always dated that. I'm not the Oracle of Delphi... so I don't know. As I was in the blimp, I was thinking about after the 2003 section of the tour what we were going to do. I was actually planning gigs for 2004.
When a band has stayed together this long, there is a certain secret professional pride in that. But I don't think any of us would go around saying that - certainly not to each other, or even to ourselves. I guess there's just a thing in our society about decades - numbers that end in zero.
I've been feeling very grown-up for a long time. (Growing older) takes some adjusting to, but I think I did it.
There's a great feeling in the band that we ain't really found all that the Rolling Stones can do yet. I've no doubt Townshend and Daltrey are feeling the same way, and no doubt the Ox was until the unfortunate occurrence. But I was glad they carried on. It's real showbiz, like a vaudeville tradition. I find it intriguing that old trousers Townshend and Daltrey still have a certain desire to get out there and do it. And good fucking luck, they're not shabby at what they do.
I'm timeless now, I'm beyond time.
We're not here for nostalgia, we're not here to light the birthday candles or anything like that. But it's very nice to be forty years old in the band. (Laughs) I'm a lot older in real life, (touring) keeps me young.
The Stones without me - it was a possibility in the late '70s. But we're down to the hardcore now: Charlie, Mick and me. If you took one of those three out, we'd say, That's it. But at the moment, no one has the least intention of leaving the band. So we should be all right.
You sometimes wish the press would review the show as a show instead of doing all this pontification about your history. Some of the journalists have been doing this as long as we have, and they don't know what to say anymore, so they add up our ages and print that. But I'm not complaining, because the reviews are really good.
We...are...just...here. It's a vague mission you can't give up until you keel over.
People WANT to pull the rug out from under you, because they're bald and fat and can't move for shit. It's pure physical envy - that we shouldn't be here. How dare they defy logic? If I didn't think it would work, I would be the first to say, Forget it. But we're fighting people's misconceptions about what rock & roll is supposed to be. You're supposed to do it when you're 20, 25 - as if you're a tennis player and you have three hip surgeries and you're done. We play rock & roll because it's what turned us on. Mudy Waters and Howlin' Wolf - the idea of retiring was ludicrous to them. You keep going - and why not?
It's obvious you can't do this forever. But it's pointless to speculate. I don't see the future beyond 18 months. I honestly don't know what we'll do.
Now the word is age-LESS or time-LESS. If you carry on long enough, you're going to confound your critics. The wrinkled rocker bit - so what? When you get my age, you'll get wrinkles too.
If you want to live a long life, join the Rolling Stones.
(How long we'll last is) even harder nowadays to answer. A couple of years ago, I would have said, one or two more years. But now the sky's the limit. It's rocking better than ever.
I think that's true, yeah. (I always knew I'd come back to the Stones after doing solo albums). Oh yeah. Absolutely. I think that the Stones - it's a fortunate and also slightly unfortunate thing that you have this long, long history because... in some ways you're put in a box... to do a certain kind of thing. But I think that it has a great longevity and it has a great history all of its own.
I read in the paper today that this is probably our last show at the Garden. I don’t think so!
See you there.
If it all ended tomorrow - I don't mean if we all die, but if we simply stopped playing - that would be all right, I'd do something else or play with somebody else. I've never worried about the band stopping. If it does, it does.
It's a strange thing. At the moment we're in this very graceful regeneration. We had to go through that wrinkled rockers phase... They weren't supposed to like us in the first place, by a miracle they did. The Stones have something going that we're not really allowed to drop the ball. You could term it another addiction, but it takes two to tango and as long as the audience is there we'll see where it goes. It's a continuing adventure.
I think every birthday you get to, you sort of can't believe. When you're 21, you can't believe you're 21, when you're 30, you can't believe you're 30. You start getting a bit better at this as you go on because you've already done 40 - that was big, difficult, incredulous. So, you just have to accept it.
I used to say, We've been together for 20 years, but Duke Ellington was together for 40 years. Now we're level with Duke Ellington! You shouldn't read history backwards, but it's very weird, because the equivalent of a song like Street Fighting Man is like me beeing a teenager and listening to Louis Armstrong. I used to love the music, but to me at the time it used to sound very old.
There is still a feeling that there is more for us to do, and that this is no time to get off the bus... All of us are still willing to schlep from hotel to hotel and spend enless hours in planes. Maybe we're creatures of habit. There's also the possibility that we're addicted to it, yet at the same time beyond that we share the feeling that we still enjoy playing up onstage and there are thousands of people who are enjoying it with us... The important thing about the Rolling Stones now is to see how far it can go.
I have resigned at the end of every tour since 1969. I thought the Forty Licks tour might be the last tour we would undertake of that size and that length, but then I said the same thing at the end of the Bridges to Babylon tour.
My dad said to me on his death bed, We never stop growing... That was the last thing he said, and then I closed his eyes. He always said that younger people think older people know everything, but older people know they don't know shit from shit anyway. Nobody stops growing, otherwise there's no point on doing the trip in the first place.
It's strictly a feeling I have: We won't go totally fallow. Everyone's moaning, Oh, my back! but I don't think they want to let it all drop. It's easier to keep the machine well-oiled. That's my prophecy.
I can't see us stopping. Not at the moment. Maybe we won't tour as we did - 16 months nonstop - but more regularly. I don't like to stay away from the stage too long, but I don't see us as just a live act. I think we have to do a record soon.
I think from the Stones point of view, it's obvious we've got this body of work and so there's no pressure on us to come up with new stuff. We carry around a lot of damn good baggage. But if we've got something new that's really good, we've got the opportunity to throw it in. But at the moment, I'm not sure how we're going to handle this, quite honestly.
One expects some storms and some choppy waters. We're Magellan. Or Frankie Drake. I was hoping for that, and miraculously we've got there through some rough old seas.
We have to clear the engine room first. We have to clear Charlie first. If he's willing, I think the rest of us will be.
It looks as if the Stones are starting in the next month or so... Originally we weren't even thinking of starting until October.
Keith and I have been writing lots of songs for the new Rolling Stones album. We haven't booked the tour yet and when we do we'll let you know, but there will definitely be another one... We just started (writing), and it will be out sometime next year. We'll start recording in November. It should be good. I've been writing the last month for that, and I'm quite excited by what I've got so far.
I don't know who's going to be ready yet - (the new) Wembley Stadium or the Rolling Stones. Charlie's a lot better. He's had all his treatments and he's been pronounced sort of free and clear of everything, so we're very pleased about that. And Keith and I have been writing new material for the Stones' new album. I don't know when the Stones will actually tour, but I suspect we'll do the album and then we'll do a tour.
We don't announce it as our last tour. We never think about it - we take each tour as it comes.
I always feel like (it's the last tour) at the end of a tour. They never ask you at the end (laughs).
If it ended tomorrow, it wouldn't bother me. I'd play with someone else. The only thing is when the Stones finish I hope it's not a big deal, a big fuss. Just go quietly.
(The media) wonder why we're still here. Well, why not? We're a great band. We love to play. If there's that many people who love to hear us, what's the beef? I intend to get a lot older and a lot more wrinkled. So sharpen your pen... I'll do your show, David Letterman, and you come do mine.
You wouldn't want only old people to do it. It would be awful. But if you have creative energy, age doesn't matter. Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon painted with energy late in life. The Rolling Stones kept their creative forces, maybe because we don't make records every 10 minutes.
The idea of retiring is like killing yourself. It's almost like hara kiri. I intend to live to 100 and go down in history.
This is a long tour. I don't know what happens after this tour.
The way these guys are going at the moment it's a pretty remote chance that this is the last (tour). They are bloody teenagers, the lot of them. I'm trying to keep up.
If we were bored to death, honestly I don't think we would do it. We do enjoy ourselves doing it. Everyone has been saying How come they can enjoy themselves? They should be bored to death doing this. We're still having a lot of fun.
I don't know (if it's the last tour) - I don't care if it is or if it isn't. If I'm standing at the end of Europe (next August), which is the last leg at the moment, and they offer something else I imagine we'll say Yes and off we'll go. What is hard is doing these things for a year long - they are quite tiring, being away that long.
We realised that if we want to keep going, (reviewers talking about our age) is something we have to go through. Apparently, you are supposed to play rock & roll until you are 25 and then you are supposed to croak or disappear. Would anyone have dared asked Duke Ellington when he was going to give it up?
We look forward to doing more.
You get this insane idea that you can only do this between 17 and 25, but you know, I'm not a tennis player. I'll show you how long it can be done.
I don't want to retire. I always think you get a bit older when you retire, not that I'm not old now.
(W)e'll go back out (on the road), probably, next year. We'll probably do some Europe; we owe them some dates.
He'll talk to me about that one day, maybe.
I'm not sure about dates but I have no doubt (the Stones) will be on the road. But where and when yet I don't know. You know, I can't say. I do actually know but I'm not going to tell it!
I've noticed it more in the last few years - people are (at Stones shows) with their sons and their grandchildren. But that's great, to see it passed on. You actually start to feel a responsibility, you know? They're not just your grandchildren, they're mine. It's quite humbling, in a way, if you think about it. It's nice to leave your mark, you know? I can say, yeah, I've touched a lot of people's souls and a lot of people's hearts.
When the end comes, it'll come, you know? I'm good at duckin' and diving. And I've had so many close brushes with the specter of death already. I had a great time. I mean, hey, there's been a lot of pain, but all in all, what a life, you know? So far, so good. When they let me out of school, I'll be a motherfucker.
I'll do it in my wheelchair.
My question (to those who wonder why the Stones are still on the road) would be, Why not? Come up with a reason why not. This is what we love to do. And quite honestly, I don't know what I'd do without it. It's almost a duty. How many millions are there out there (who want to see the Stones)? Who am I to deny you ME?
I've never even thought about (my funeral)... I don't want nothing. Hey, when I'm gone, I'm gone... Very small affair. I'll just take three slaves with me. Mind you, it's a long way off (laughs). I'm looking to be a good 150 before I think about croaking. By the time I'm finished, man, they'll have spare parts for everybody.
(How long we go on is) a function of many things. If you still enjoy what you are doing, and the audience is still coming, then it's a two-way street. Beyond that, how long is a crystal-ball question... I don't know, I can't look into a crystal ball. I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours and we've got no plans to stop any of that really. So you never know what happens to you, but as far as I'm concerned I'm sure we will continue.
Hopefully, we will announce a big Asia tour soon, which might include Japan.
I think we're up there with Count Basie and Duke Ellington (in terms of endurance), and even those kept changing their membership. I supposed the astounding thing - not to us, but from outside - is still this idea that rock 'n' roll is supposed to be for people from 18 to 25, and then you're out. We never felt that way about it, although when we started, we were looking at that first record contract and thinking, Oh, Christ, two years at the most.
I think we might make another album. Once we get over doing promotion on this film.
I think we should carry on. It seems that whenever we stop I get ill. The last time we had a break I got throat cancer.
I don't think the Stones have any intention of doing anything for a year or so. Sooner or later, there will be a phone call, usually from Mick: Keith, feel like doing anything?... I've never heard anything about not going out (on tour) again. I'm basically giving the guys a year off. I'm not pushing. But I might withdraw their wages (laughs) and see how they feel then.
I’m trying to gather the boys together. One way or another, I’ll get them back in line.
(The band relations are) all very good. I saw Mick and Charlie last week. Everything is great... Let's hope (the Stones tour next year).
On to the 2010s