When Bill did this interview, he was in New York doing the promotional rounds
for his solo project Willie and the Poor Boys, and also to check in
on the Stones' mixing sessions for the Dirty Work LP.


How are you doing?

A lot of people here, aren't there?

Yes, sir. Thank you very much for being here. This is the first time you've seen this show.

Yeah, backstage.

And you've not watched it because...

Well I've been working and I haven't been here for 3 years so -

Been out of the country. Now, 23 years, you've kept a diary of all the activities...


For longer... Is this a day-to-day diary?


Minute to minute?

Well... (laughs)

But I mean pretty detailed stuff.


Does anything stand out in your mind right now as being a peculiar entry in your diary - 23 years, or longer, of activity with you and the Rolling Stones? Highlights?

TODAY would be one.

TODAY would be a highlight?

No, it would be a peculiar one. (Audience laughs)

Anything concerning you and the band?

Many things.

Yeah, like what?

(Laughs)... I couldn't tell you.

Couldn't tell me at ALL?

It'll get cut out.

No it won't. Now, come on, let's just try one, the most recent.

No, I'll tell you an old one.

OK, that's good.

We were in Toronto recording once and - Charlie Watts never sleeps.

NEVER sleeps?

No. He went for a walk in the town, you know, he was looking for something to eat. So he went to this little Indian restaurant he found. But before that, he looked around and found a shop, a little tailor shop. And he found some trousers he wanted and they said, "They're a bit big". He buys them second-hand sometimes, you know, old ones from the '40s, you know?

(sarcastically) Charlie's down on his luck, isn't he?

Yeah (laughs). And... so they said, "Come back in a couple of hours, they'll be ready". So he went to this Indian restaurant, and he hadn't slept for about 4 days so he gets -

(interrupts) FOUR days?!? (Audience laughs)

Yeah... no, that's NORMAL.

FOUR days and he says, "I feel like doing a little shopping"?

Yeah. (Audience laughs).

(sarcastically) Gosh, how could a thing like that happen? (Audience laughs)

(Laughs) We don't have shops in England... Anyway... So he sits there and he falls asleep, you know, with all these Indian guys around him. And about 2 hours later, they're waking him up, you know? And he's surrounded by cops as well. And we're in Toronto, they're pretty heavy down there. And - so they're shaking him up, they say, "Who are you?" and he's got all that stubble on (his face) and everything, you know. "What are you doing?" And he says, "Well, where... where am I?" And they say, "Well, you're in Toronto." He says, "TORONTO? What am I doing in Toronto?" You know, and they think this guy's CRAZY. And he said, "Well, what time is it?" And they said, "It's a quarter to three in the afternoon". And he says, "Oh, great, my trousers are gonna be ready." (Audience laughs) You should have Charlie on the show.

Yeah, but every time we call he's napping so - (Audience laughs). Now... But YOU, I think - and correct me if I'm wrong and I guess you will - were the first member of the Rolling Stones to be arrested?


Is that true? How long into the group was this?

About a year.

And... the circumstances, can you tell us about this?

We were coming back from a gig and I wanted to have a wee-wee, so we stopped at a garage... (Audience laughs) and they refused to let me, so I did it anyway (Audience laughs). They wouldn't let me use the toilet, you see, so I went back to the car and Mick said, "Come on, Bill, we'll find one" and Brian Jones as well...

That's the kind of guy Mick is - (Audience laughs) - "By God, WE'LL find you a place."

So the 3 of us went over there and they still wouldn't let us use it, so we just did it there and got arrested. And we had to pay about 20 pounds, which was about $30 then.

But you felt like a jerk, didn't you?

Ah... YEAH, we got publicity for a about a year on that one. It was then we realized what we had to do to get publicity, you see.

(Laughs) Now, do you see the members of the band on a regular basis or do you see so much of them when you're on the road that you don't spend any time with them socially?

No, we're not that close together, cause we live in different countries. Charlie and I, we live in England now, we lived in France before. And the other three live here.

So... like when was the last time you saw the group as a whole?

The day before yesterday.

Is that right?

Well, Charlie isn't here, but he's coming on Monday, we're doing some mixing here.

Ah... And you live in a big castle that's HAUNTED?

I've got a little castle, yeah.

And it's haunted?


Now, how do you know this?

Well, you get touched and things, you know... (Audience laughs)

Yeah, but in your case, that may have nothing to do with it being haunted, you know?

(Laughs) ... Umm... No, it's haunted. People have seen things. I'VE never seen anything but I've been touched a few times.


I like it! (Audience laughs) It's a woman. It's a young woman of about 30, all in black.

So you're just in another room and suddenly you feel the presence of another person?

Oh, it goes very cold, yes.

And you can actually feel...

Oh, YEAH. You get really grabbed, you know?

Is it frightening a little?

No, not at all. It WAS the first time but the second time I've quite - (laughs) - enjoyed it. (Audience laughs).

Ah... Tell me about Willie and the Poor Boys.

Well, I'm Willie. Cause when we were at school, they used to call me little Willie. I never quite worked that one out, I didn't understand... It looked alright to me, you know, and - (Audience laughs and applauds) - the Poor Boys... We did it for Ronnie Lane, the ARMS cause. We did a tour in '83 with Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton...

And the proceeds will also go...

To the ARMS charity, for Ronnie, in Houston. And we just phoned up a bunch of mates and we just did some roots/R&B music and it did very well.

Good, good.

It still is.

How much longer are you gonna be with the Rolling Stones? How much longer are they gonna be around? Are you TIRED of it yet?

About 20 minutes, I think (laughs).

20 minutes, and that's IT?

NO, but, I mean, we're still having a good time and -

... and that's all that counts.

Back to Main Page