Then we all got locked down
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (Early February 2020): North America Part 2|
Mick: We chose to do a shorter tour (last year), which is fine with me. This is, in a way, a continuation of last year's shows.
Keith: I think both Mick and I felt that on the last tour we were just getting going... [W]e've got to continue this.
|Keith Richards (Early February 2020): Giving up smoking|
I've given up smoking...since October. Done that, been there (laughs).
|Ron Wood (Early February 2020): The Stones' next album shaping up|
That’s ongoing. We are very happy with the way studio work’s coming on, but, as you know, the Stones never make an album overnight. But aside from our busy schedule touring, we’re just fitting little studio visits in and it’s shaping up nicely... (It'll be) a proper new studio album.
|Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood & Charlie Watts (March 17, 2020): Message to fans|
We’re hugely disappointed to have to postpone the tour. We are sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to it as much as we were, but the health and safety of everyone has to take priority. We will all get through this together - and we’ll see you very soon.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (April 2020): Releasing a fitting song from the album in progress|
Mick: It wasn’t written for now but it was written about being in a place which was full of life, and then now there’s all bereft of life, so to speak. And when I went back to what I’d written originally lyrically, it was all full of plague terms and things like that. I never actually used that, but it was all there. It was very close to the times that we’re living through now. But Keith and I both had the idea that we should release it. But I said, Well I’ve got to rewrite it. Some of it is not going to work and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark. So I slightly rewrote it. I didn’t have to rewrite very much to be honest. It’s very much how I originally did it. I was just jamming.
Keith: It’s a strange thing, you know what I mean? But it’s just something that happens between Mick and me without us having to really think about it. Mick had come up with a song and we recorded it over a year ago, I think last February in LA. It’s sort of eerie when suddenly it’s coming to life, I mean the ghost comes to life. Mick and I have been in touch, but obviously only via the satellite. I had said to Don about a month or so ago, I said, Hey, this is a time for the ghost town track. And then Mick called me and said the same thing and that great minds think alike. And they said, Yeah I need to fix some of the lyrics or the vocal. So we sort of did it from outer space. But I actually liked the way it turned out.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (April 2020): Using the lockdown to work on the album|
Mick: I mean, for me, I’m very lucky because I’m in a profession, if you want, that I’m able to work. Right now we would have been rehearsing to go on tour. Fortunately I have other facets and so I’m very lucky so I can do stuff like redo the song that we just talked about. I’ve been writing other songs, new songs, finishing off other ones so I can work a lot from home... I want to finish off some of these tracks that we’ve recorded. I can do that myself at home here in this room where we’re talking now. I can work in here and I can work with other band members and finish off things that are sort of halfway. And start creating new things completely. If we can’t all get together, we can send bits and people can work on them at home or in a studio or whatever. It shows you it was relatively easy to do that piece for the TV show in the Can’t Get What you Want piece. That was relatively easy to set to sort of make a track and kick it off and then send it to everyone else and ask them to play it. It’s the stuff you can do. But I mean there’s obviously no substitute for being together. I’m sure that it’s not going to be forever, that you won’t be able to get together and do music.
Keith: I didn’t mean to be so stingy with you guys. I didn’t know it was that long. Look, there’s more coming. Okay. I mean, because we were cutting Living in a Ghost Town as part of a new album along with several other tracks. And we just pulled this one out because I mean obviously I’m not staring you in the face and you say, You got to say it now. But otherwise there is, I promise you more stuff to come... We’ve got another five or six tracks and there’s a lot of sort of soul feel about it for some reason without anybody intending to. I’m keeping an eye on it and also Mick and I are obviously right now we’ve got nothing else to do but write some more songs, right?
|Mick Jagger (April 2020): Making a great Stones album|
Yeah, (the last original Stones album) was so long ago that you want it to be really good. So I don’t just want ti to be, you know, a good album, I want it to be great. Yeah so I’m very hard on myself. If I write something with Keith or whatever, you know, it’s going to be great, it can’t just be good. So I mean we’ve been recording, we’ve got some really good stuff, but I mean don’t hold your breath.
|Keith Richards (April 2020): Locking down|
(I'm h)unkering down with the family and a couple of friends and a dog or two and just holding it out. We got a new puppy just a week ago just to keep ourselves occupied. It’s coming out as Honey I think. Yeah, it’s a little French bulldog. About three months old. She’s really sort of enlivened the household.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (April & August 2020): Postponing the tour|
Mick: Postponing tours is really bad. And the whole touring thing, we don’t know what’s going to be happening. We don’t know when there’s going to be the next football match. We don’t know when the next tour outside’s going to be. You would imagine that playing outside would be more healthy than playing inside, one would imagine, but you don’t know. And people are saying, Well are you going to be playing in a stadium that’s 40,000 people? You’re going to have 20,000 people in there, for instance. But this is all in the realm of conjecture... We’re totally in the world of theorising and conjecture as far as concerts are concerned at the moment, so we don’t know. We just have to guess that these possibilities could happen. This could happen, this could happen. We’re not going to have live concerts for a little bit I think, but hopefully it won’t be forever.
Keith: I mean the idea now of getting back on the road, and for us all to be back in crowds again without giving a shit - that’s going to be a beautiful thing, right? Just going to have to hunker down for a bit and then we can get it together. Let’s see how things go, hopefully, next year.
I really enjoyed that last tour, it was a great trek. I was very disappointed in March when we said, Uh oh, this thing’s looking bad. A week later, they started to say, We’ll cancel the first few gigs. And I said, I have a feeling. Nah, this thing’s too big for us. It’s too big for anybody, you know?
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (May 2020): Little Richard|
Mick: I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard, he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50’s. When we were on tour with him I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me. He contributed so much to popular music I will miss you Richard, God bless.
Keith: So sad to hear that my old friend Little Richard has passed. There will never be another!!! He was the true spirit of Rock’n Roll!
|The Rolling Stones (June 1, 2020): Black lives matter|
Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie stand with all who object to racism, violence or bigotry.
|Mick Jagger (June 1, 2020): Observing Blackout Tuesday|
It's heartbreaking to see America tearing itself apart again over issues of race. Tomorrow I stand with my fellow artists and observe blackout Tuesday to combat racial discrimination and social injustice. I pray that looking beyond this day we can all work together to overcome this hatred and division and start to heal the pain and suffering that everybody is feeling in the country. We owe that to future generations.
|Mick Jagger (July 22, 2020): Working on the new album|
Don’t hold you breath! We recorded a bunch of tracks at the same time we did Living in a Ghost Town... Actually I’ve been finishing off the vocals and some other instruments on them, and doing some mixes on them. So I’m working on it... (We'll need to) get together and do a couple more sessions... We’re not really going to get together right now. But it sounds good, what we’ve already done - (it) sounds pretty good to me.
|Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (August 2020): Filling lockdown time|
Mick: I’ve been singing quite a lot, and I’ve been exercising quite a lot, so I’m keeping that bit together. I’m not in such a bad position. Can’t feel sorry for yourself. But yeah, I miss performing... I’ve been in Europe, in the country, and I’ve always had outdoor-space access. I’m feeling really sorry for some of my friends who don’t have as much, or can’t get out, or if they do get out, it’s a bit fraught. Every time I read the American newspapers, it looks just horrific.
I have been able to go out, so that’s been a great thing for me. The weather’s been lovely. It hasn’t been, like, the middle of November and rainy. That would be depressing. It was a beautiful spring, and that was amazing - I’m normally not in my place long enough to watch the blossoms unfold. And then I did a few bits of work here and there. I finished off that Ghost Town track. Then I finished off these extras for Goats Head Soup, which I did at home. And I’ve been finishing off more tracks that we recorded before that we hadn’t finished. I’m doing some of that now. I’m writing some new songs and getting along with some documentary projects for different things. A few movie things I can get on with. You know, you try to keep yourself busy, because there’s quite a lot of downtime. But I still try to enjoy that as much as possible, like a lot of people.
Since lockdown began, we’re all just going for comfort - and I don’t just mean the band. We’ve just thrown style out the window. I haven’t worn a jacket in ages (laughs). In my online buying mode I’ve just been buying loads of sweatpants. I’ve got a big selection now, I’ve never had so many sweatpants.
Keith: We’ve just been hunkering down here, watching the garden grow... I’m feeling very lucky that I have some space so I can get out. And apart from that, man, I managed to (finish) Ghost Town... It’s not very often ( I go out). We do go drift out and stop by a sidewalk cafe. Oh yeah, I’m a masked man. I mean, it’s what you have to do. I don’t care what it looks like or anything else. It’s ridiculous. This is bloody Alice in Wonderland, you know?
Ron: We’re not holding our breath (for resuming touring), otherwise we’d have collapsed. But we are happily carrying on day by day...chores, and enjoying our families.
I thought, I’m not going to let it depress me anyway. Sometimes I may have a musical period or maybe it’s just the art and I don’t play the music... That’s what I’ve been doing lately – not playing. Not through choice. And I’m looking forward to the day when I can be playing again. But it’s been an honour spending a lot of the lockdown paying tribute to artists that turned me on at college and through my younger years. I did some tributes to Delacroix, to Picasso and El Greco.
|Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (August 2020): Continuing work on the next Stones album|
Mick: Living in a Ghost Town was part of a group of songs we’d recorded quite recently... Now I’m singing on some of the other ones that we did from that time period, finishing those off, too.
Keith: I think we have five, six, or seven tracks we’ve slowly been putting together. Right now, seeing if this (pandemic)’s going to go on, maybe we should think about putting them out in another way.
Ron: There’s some lovely music on the hob, you know, it’s on the back burner. We’re bringing it towards the front of the hob now, but gradually. The thing is, we can’t all get together at the moment to do it, but I’ve been working on music. I’ve got a couple of albums ready to go as well. Everything is, you know... life is on hold.
|Mick Jagger (August 2020): On the timetable for finishing and releasing the new album|
I don’t know. I guess it depends. I don’t know when we’re going to get together at the moment. We don’t know when we’re going to get together and record. It’s got to be in safe circumstances and all that stuff. I’m sure we’ll get together soon, but I’ve got to finish off the stuff we’ve already done. So that gives me an opportunity now to get that out of the way. It sounds good. It’s pretty varied. A bit of all kinds of different kinds of music in there.
|Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (August 2020): Resuming the U.S. tour in the future|
Mick: The larger point, really, is - in the short, medium, and long term - how is everyone that performs live going to function in the future? We don’t know. In Europe, we’ve had small-scale concerts. We’ve had socially-distanced concerts. You can see (concerts) starting in some parts of the world - New Zealand, Australia and so on. But… as far as the U.S. is concerned, we don’t really know what the future holds. So many people are out of work, losing money. Is it ever going to be the same again? Will it be always different? We just don’t know at the moment.
We might be playing to very few people. Even though we might be lucky enough to have sold tickets, we might not be able to play to them all at once.
Keith: So I always have this feeling of, like, sudden redundancy, which I have no doubt millions of other people have had, as well. But apart from that, I suppose, in everybody’s mind, we presume that things will look up next year. Otherwise, nobody’s going to be able to play for anybody, are they?
I hope, like everybody else, there’s a very good vaccine as soon as possible. And a change of regime wouldn’t be bad. Let’s leave it at that, man.
You might call (playing live) a habit. I mean, that’s what we do. And also there’s that thing between us, like, Who’s going to be the first one to get off the bus?’You have to be kicked off or drop off, right? So it’s like that. I really can’t imagine doing anything else.
|Keith Richards (September 8, 2020): Update on the current situation for the new album|
We’re biding our time at the moment. I’m going to do a little bit work on it with Don Was, our producer, next month. And just to prod things along a bit. But otherwise until we can all get back together again, you know, we’re like an octopus with all the legs chopped off (laughs).
(Mick and I talk a)ll the time… exchanging ideas. But it’s a bit (laughs): I’d rather be looking at you in the face, man! (laughs)… (We) phone (each other) usually. Either that or I do sometimes text and take a photograph - I’ll write it, take a photograph, and send it to him.
|Mick Jagger (August 31, 2020): RS No. 9 & clothes style|
There are some T-shirts I quite like and a couple of hoodies that I wouldn’t mind having. Oh and there are face masks too, of course... I can’t see me wearing th(e Stones Red) myself. You have to appreciate that not everyone has your taste. There’s no tie-dye though, you’ll notice.
I guess I am (the most style-conscious member in the band). Though everyone’s got different ideas. Charlie’s very fashion conscious, Ronnie’s got his own style. Everyone’s got their own look.
My daughters are pretty kind about my fashion choices. But daughters are much more unkind to their mothers than they are to their fathers I think (laughs). Because they can empathise with their mothers’ choice of clothing and say, No, don’t wear that, while the other side is saying, You’re not going out like that are you? But they’re pretty good with me. Though with some of my stage clothes they go, God, that’s not so great. But that’s the thing about stage clothes. You have to imagine them in a completely different environment, not standing in front of the mirror in your front room..
|Keith Richards (Late September 2020): In the studio|
I realized coming into the studio yesterday that I was in this room in very early March, and we were just doing what we were doing and the next day, shit hit the fan (laughs). So yesterday I had that déjà vu feeling. At the moment, I’m just overjoyed to be working. There’s not a lot of work out there, you know?
(Mick and I are) communicating from across the Atlantic and then waiting for a vaccine... (jokes) I have thousands of songs. I've got enough to keep me busy.
|Keith Richards (October 2020): Current priorities for the Rolling Stones|
I think at the moment it probably has to be getting a record done, because I don’t see the possibility of people getting together in crowds in the foreseeable months. So I think we work on the record. We’re just trying to figure out how and when - the end of this year or January?
|Keith Richards (Early November 2020): Mick's "Pride Before a Fall"|
I think it’s something he’s cooked up during this period. I guess he’s getting antsy. I haven’t checked it out yet... a private venture, I guess!
|Mick Jagger (November 7, 2020): Mister President, Mr. Immigration Man|
I’m so looking forward to coming back to an America free of harsh words and name calling and be amongst people who I know have common ground and harmony. It’s a challenge but it can be done!
|Keith Richards (Early November 2020): Continuing the lockdown|
I’ve been in hiding, basically. Hunkering down with the family and a few friends because we have to stay in a bubble you know. I’ve been out to a restaurant with outdoor seating a couple times but now it’s getting a bit chilly so we’re eating in. Thank God the wife’s a good cook, bless her heart! Now I’m a non-smoker and a non-drinker. It’s tough under these conditions but so far, so good.
We’ve got a little work-out room in the basement. I treadmill occasionally but I had no need to during the summer because I’ve got a big garden. I took walks and kept moving. Winter’s going to be a bit rough but with a bit of luck I might get out to the islands in January, to Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. I like to go south for the winter!
Mick and I talk maybe once a month, Ronnie occasionally. (jokes) Charlie never speaks on the phone but we’ve communicated by sign language... (Mick and Ronnie are) hanging in there, man, just like the rest of us. I mean everybody’s just trying to wear their masks, wash their hands and socially distance... you’ve got to laugh really, haven’t you?
|Keith Richards (Early November 2020): Plans for 2021|
Everything is in the air until we can actually get together safely in a studio again. And by then we might feel differently about what we want to sound like, so it could be a bit fractured.
I’m just hoping that some time next year, or as soon as possible, everybody can get back together again and have a damn good time
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