The 1970s

Not amazed that the band is still going, just amazed they get anything together. That's our claim to fame, you know. Carry on lads, regardless. Should be the title of our next film. We're a terrible band, really. But we are the OLDEST. That's some sort of distinction, isn't it? Especially in this country. The only difference betwen us and Westminster Abbey, you know, is we don't do weddings and coronations.

   - Charlie Watts, 1970

I think musicians should live out of suitcases and not out of country houses. I can't see myself doing all this when I'm 30. I'll draw the line, then.

   - Mick Jagger, August 1970

In the end, I'm probably going to be like Cary Grant with a lot of old ladies writing letters to me.

   - Mick Jagger, late 1970

Charlie, are we going to break up then? Are you getting tired of all this? (Laughs) Naw, we're not breaking up. And if we did, we wouldn't be as bitchy as them.

- Mick Jagger, March 1971, asked if the Stones
plan to break up like the Beatles

Ugh, it's horrible to be the Grand Old Men. If all this talk gets any worse I'll be getting another band. I don't know why, but it's not nice to be asked that question. It makes us sound like survivors from a holocaust. I suppose I should be grateful that I survived the Swinging Blue Jeans era, but that was the era before us I always believed.

- Mick Jagger, 1971

I can't even imagine what it's like, to be 70. When I was 20 I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be 28.... (30)'s only two years away. I don't know, (it's hard to imagine). Thirty still seems like a real trip to me. And I know 33 is a real trip: 33 is a year. Everybody who reaches 33 goes through some weird things.

- Keith Richards, June 1971

I think Mick Taylor wants to play on stage with somebody. I think he's a bit frustrated. We're not touring all the time: I don't want to tour all the time... Now I want to go to America and look around. Go to L.A. Maybe Texas. Nooooo Orleans. Then Florida... Yeah, we've had hundreds of ideas on how to do this (next American) tour. Like we were thinking of doing it in a caravan. In coaches and do all sorts of places we wouldn't normally get to. Like... the South.... Either we're going to play in a club with 500 people and actually play or we're going to play really big crowds. Playing to 5000 is really nonsensical; it's not intimate. I mean, the best I've ever played has been in a club, but I haven't done that in ages. So I really don't know what to DO anymore... We'll tour Japan before America. The (Led) Zeppelin were just there...

- Mick Jagger, September 1971

Naw. I'd like to come back and play another in the autumn myself, in all the places we missed...

- Mick Jagger, March 1972, asked
if this will be the last tour

I doubt it. We need the money.

- Keith Richards, March 1972, asked
if this will be the last tour

It can't go on forever. The thing that bugs me is that I get treated like The Grandfather of Pop, just like James Brown is regarded as The Grandfather of Soul - and I do get treated like that. Now, I'm only three years older than David Bowie. Or is it two? I don't know why we've kept going. I think really because we were successful. But that's sort of begging the question.

- Mick Jagger, 1972

Q:       Can you picture yourself at the age 60 doing what you do now?
Mick:   (jokes) Yeah, easily, yeah.
Q:       Really?
Mick:   (still joking) Oh yeah.
Q:       Going onstage with a cane and... moving the way you do?
Mick:   With a cane... (seriously) No, there's a lot of people that do it at 60 and I think it's a bit weird, you know, but they seem to still get their rocks off at it. Marlene Dietrich, she still does it, and she's more than 60.

   - Mick Jagger, August 1972,
interviewed by Dick Cavett

Of course (the Stones could appear for another 10 years). That's why when everybody that does interviews says How long will it last?... Because of the generation we're in and because of the enormity of their success and the greatness of what they did the Beatles are always used as a class... We've always been referred to the Beatles, for obvious reasons, but it really doesn't matter because we're nothing like them... (Y)ou must remember the Beatles were in a terrible situation really... They really didn't know what they were doing in the end, I don't think. Whereas it never happened like that with us - it was always, like, the band was doing something. If the band don't go and work, Mick'll go and work on his own. That'll be a confrontation, but it never works like that because Mick doesn't do that.

- Charlie Watts, 1973

A knighthood, I'd take, nothing less than a knighthood. But you gotta last a long time to get a knighthood.

  - Mick Jagger, 1974

There'll almost definitely be a spring tour in America, maybe a little more relaxed than last time - not so many one-nighters. Maybe we could split it up a bit because every time we go back we play bigger and bigger stadiums. If we have to play these big places obviously we'll have to do it but if possible we'd like to do what we experimented with last time in L.A. in playing a small place like the Palladium as well. The reason that we haven't done more live gigs recently is because until this album comes out we haven't really got any new material to lay on anyone. We've only got the same old show that we've been doing for the last couple of years and we don't want to repeat ourselves anymore.

  - Keith Richards, September 1974

I'll be keeping it up until my body starts to fall apart and that's a long time off. The Stones might not last for ever but we'll be going until sometime this side of ever.

  - Mick Jagger, 1974

I don't know really how (Mick Taylor leaving) will affect us. I never have known how long we're going to go on. I just can't really say. I mean, we won't go on forever! We have various ideas for solo efforts. I'd like to try something like that, maybe films, you know? But I seem to get so involved with the band and I'm so lazy, that I never find time.

  - Mick Jagger, December 1974

Last time we toured, they said the same thing. It isn't going to be the last tour... it might be, but it's not been planned to be. I hate that question. I've been asked that question ever since I was 19 years old.

- Mick Jagger, May 1975

I only meant to do it for two years. I guess the band would just disperse one day and say goodbye. I would continue to write and sing, but I'd rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I'm 45.

- Mick Jagger, May 1975

I've been playing rock and roll and blues, and I started playing blues when I was very young. Fourteen... and that was mature music compared to Venus and Blue Jeans which was the hit at the time I started. The band I was in at the time was playin' music by 40-year-old men. So this guy says to me the other day, You're over 30, how can you write rock and roll songs? But I started off by singing songs by 40, 50, 60-year-old men... You Gotta Move was written by a 70-year-old man. I mean what does it matter? The thing about rock and roll is - I never wanted to be a rock and roll star. I've never been into singing teenage lyrics, and when I started I did these songs written by old people. Perhaps that's why people were sometimes shocked by my lyrics... well, not shocked, but interested, at a point where there was no real interest in lyrics...
- Mick Jagger, May 1975

I want to play places that are uncharted rock & roll territory. Much as I love America, a lot of America we never played in - we've never played Wichita. But I'd like to go to Asia, I'd like to go to India, I'd like to play the Middle East. I'd like to play more in Eastern Europe. All those places, there is zero money, you know, but you are hoping to break even. Which is a concept most people who run rock & roll tours can't grasp, because what's the point of spending a year touring and earning no money when you could be back in America, earning money. But that's what I would like to do.

- Mick Jagger, May 1975

I think that we would like to do some gigs next year. I don't really know how long the band's gonna last. Lots of bands of other kinds, not rock bands, have stayed together. Not always with great results.

  - Mick Jagger, June 1975

The last time? I don't know where that comes from. Nobody in the band gives off that impression or even thinks that. They said it in '69; they said it in '72; why the fuck should THIS be the last time? What else are we gonna do? Get a job in an ad agency?

  - Keith Richards, on tour in 1975

Ah. But, see, I never was a teenager. I don't remember doing any teenage songs. But I do know what he means. Pete, though, has got My Generation to cope with. We don't have anything like that. I mean, we stopped doing Satisfaction quite a long while ago.

  - Mick Jagger, June 1975, asked about Pete Townshend
talking about teenage rock songs

(Groans) Now you're asking me the same question as... we must be coming to the end of the interview... Oh, OK, well by next year I'll probably be bored, probably won't do anymore. So you better come and see us this year it might be your last chance...

  - Mick Jagger, April 1976, asked if this
will be the last tour

It does get boring people asking me, Is this the last Stones tour? They've been asking that since 1964.

  - Mick Jagger, 1976

Well, I have to stop at some point, this Rolling Stones-on-the-stage-jumping-about. I suppose when you just feel it's ridiculous. I mean, when one has still got all the energy to do it, I don't see why you shouldn't do it.

- Mick Jagger, April 1976

It's hard. When bands have been around this long they should be dead and buried. But we're still here and you have to live with it. Live with us. To write something new about the Stones is gonna be difficult. Everybody knows the image. But the easiest thing to do is slag it off... The thing is we still feel it's getting better for US. Playing is still a turn on. All the hassles are still not enough when weighed against the turn on to call it quits.

  - Keith Richards, 1976

Nothing is the end of this band. We'll always be able to play somewhere. We're a determined group of lads. Nothing short of nuclear weapons are gonna put this lot out of action.

  - Keith Richards, January 1977

Chet Flippo: (The journalists') bottom line is that the Canadian newspapers are going to say that last night's show could well have been the last Rolling Stones performance ever.
Mick: Oh no, not again. Our Knebworth concert was supposed to be the last Rolling Stones performance.
Charlie: And there was another last one sometime in America.
Mick: We'll let you know when the last one is. Or maybe we won't let you know.
Charlie: When my drums start to blow up, that's the last one.
Mick: Well, I think that's all rubbish. That is just journalistic claptrap. That's just looking for a pathetic angle.

- Mick Jagger & Charlie Watts, March 6, 1977, following Keith Richards' arrest

Q: Would the Stones tour without Keith?
Mick: If Keith were in jail for a long time, a long, long time? Yeah, I should say so... Obviously we wouldn't if Keith was only in jail for a month or two months, but if he was in jail for a long period of time, I suppose we'd have to.
Q: For 4 or 5 years?
Mick: Yeah. We can't wait 5 years. In 5 years, we won't be touring at all. Not much anyway, just a few lounges.

- Mick Jagger, March 1977

I don't think that I feel any differently about (the future of the group), as far as I know it is just going on right now. There is no reason for it to not to. I mean, (the others) can do what they like. If someone is unable to be with the others for a while, for one reason or another, then there will just be a gap, but it will go on. I don't think it will come to that. As long as people are going to come and hear, the Stones will go on. I mean Charlie is getting better and better, man, you can't just let that go when things are improving all the time. For the band, in its own perverse way, we all feel it's getting better. We are learning and understanding more about what we are playing and, from that point, it will go on. I mean, there was a time when nobody thought an act could last more than two years. You had that sort of planned obsolescence. Especially when we started. Two years, forget it! But Muddy Waters has just put a out a great new album. There's no reason that rock and roll has to be played by adolescents and juveniles. It was great when it was played by them, at least when I was one. It still feels better from this end, yuou know. Fred McDowell, all my favorite cats like that kept on playing till they dropped - 70, 80 years old. It's like wine, man, they just get better.

  - Keith Richards, March 1977

There's no other way to go. The future has to be in smaller places, otherwise they'll have to build bigger auditoriums to beat the attendance records. It's not even so much going back. It's just not staying out of touch. The band can do itself musically so much more good doing a few gigs like that.

  - Keith Richards, March 1977, after playing
the El Mocambo Club in Toronto

I mean people have annoyed me a bit by intimating that (Love You Live)'s the last album. JESUS CHRIST. Nine months of listening to the Rolling Stones is not MY idea of heaven.

  - Mick Jagger, September 1977

Oh bullshit. I can say, you know, Yeah, it's the last one, you better buy it. There ain't gonna be any more. I remember telling my father exactly that when Little Richard retired. I tried to get money out of my old man for the record - I said, Richard's retired. This is the last record. I got to get this record. Gimme seven and six 'cause he's not gonna make any more records. And my father said, I'm glad he's retired anyway. I ain't giving you the money to buy that trash! (laughs)

  - Mick Jagger, September 1977, asked if Love You Live
will be the last Stones album

(W)e promised we would make certain albums - four new albums - and so we will. I'll do it, you know. An Englishman's word and all that. And it really works. It's not a joke.

 - Mick Jagger, September 1977, following
a new record contract

(T)here are definite tour plans. We haven't booked the halls. I mean one dosn't book the halls yet. We hope to tour the U.S. in the spring, when the album's out, and then I'd like to tour Australia and Japan.

 - Mick Jagger, September 1977

(I)f Keith got a LIFE SENTENCE, and I could never see him again except through PRISON BARS, I guess I would have to play with someone else, what else could I do? I could stop playing, but it seems a silly thing to do, I don't want to stop playing. But I don't think Keith will end up behind bars, so it's a hypothetical question.

 - Mick Jagger, September 1977

It'll be three years? Well, what do you know! Of course, we don't want to be too unaccessible, or should I say inaccessible. If we get the album finished, I think we can go out on the road the early part of next year.

 - Mick Jagger, September 1977, told
when the last U.S. tour was

Oh yeah. I hope so. There's no way to tell. We know a lot of the old black boys have kept going forever. A lot of the old roots boys, the old blues players, and as far as we're concerned, they're virtually playing the same thing. They kept going till the day they dropped. They still are. B. B. King's close to 60. Jimmy Reed died last year and he was going to the end. Chuck Berry's still going. Muddy Waters just had one of his biggest albums ever, Howlin' Wolf kept going to the very end, Sleepy John just died last month, he was preparing to go on a European tour. I mean, Elvis was the one that I would have said, but he happened to have went early.

 - Keith Richards, December 1977, asked if
the Stones can go on another 15 years

(The rumor that the Stones will break up soon) is rubbish. They said it in 1969, too. They say it all the time. Both (the Rolling Stones and the Who) are fragile because they've got problems of various kinds. The Who's are different from ours. In our case, if Keith gets put into prison, it makes the future of our band a bit shaky.

 - Mick Jagger, May 1978

No. I certainly won't (be singing Satisfaction when I'm 42).
 - Mick Jagger, May 1978

Flippo: So how are things with this crew, Prince Rupert?
Loewenstein: The Rolling Stones ship of state is on a very even keel. Tip-top. Yes, indeed...
Flippo: Well, will there be a Rolling Stones in 1981 or even 1984?
Loewenstein: Oh yes, indeed onto 1987 and 1991 and on and on.

 - Stones financial adviser Rupert Loewenstein,
interviewed by Chet Flippo, July 1978

Since rock & roll is only 22 or 23 years old, nobody knows at what age you can do it any more. Whereas, the artists that we - the Stones - respect and admire - some of the best ones are still going strong. They've still got a lot to offer... Mick and I jammed with Muddy (Waters) last week... Music - rock music that is - isn't very old and those musicians who moan about peing passed it are just a bunch of old women. It's that side of them that's taking over and blurring any persepective. Age has very little to do with it; it's your mental outlook.

 - Keith Richards, July 1978

On to the 1980s

 Back to Main Page