Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: March-July 1997
Recording location: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producers: Don Was & The Glimmer Twins Chief engineers: Rob Fraboni & Dan Bosworth
Mixer: Tom Lord-Alge Performed onstage: 1997-98
Acoustic bass: Jeff Sarli
Electric guitars: Keith Richards (incl. solo), Ron Wood & Waddy Wachtel
Lead vocal: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Keith Richards, Bernard Fowler & Blondie Chaplin
Saxophone: Joe Sublett
Tambourine: Blondie Chaplin
Percussion: Jim Keltner
I wrote Flip the Switch, and (Mick) had a lot of input on that.
It's 25 minutes long, the actual track we cut. And 10 of those minutes are me and Jim Keltner just going, and then Keith. I think this is what happened: Keith put a song that we'd been doing a few days before onto this rhythm, he suddenly sort of said That's the rhythm. But that's how Keith works, you know. He suddenly just... We were mucking around, you know.
The momentum of Charlie and Keltner was a like a train (laughs). We all just jumped on.
It's very fast. It's like 160 plus beats a minute and it started off as a drum thing with Charlie and Jim Keltner playing. It wasn't a song at all. And Keith fashioned this lick and song around this groove, so that was a live groove. It wasn't some groove that we messed with and loosened it.
Beat-wise the fastest track the Stones have ever cut or any other rock and roll song. It even beats Rip This Joint, which is always considered to be the fastest track ever cut (laughs). But it does come roaring at this beautiful beat and that's why I've been saying about Charlie Watts. (The album) starts with Charlie and it actually ends with Charlie, the whole record, so you know, I can go on and on about him, and everybody else yeah, great, really. But to me the real pleasure is playing with Charlie Watts, who is right on the top of his game. And that makes it much easier for me. Then I can really fly, you know what I mean.
Actually, Rip This Joint was the fastest track the Stones ever cut - until Flip the Switch, which is a couple of beats faster. There's something about that speed when you cut it in half and the acoustic bass plays that tempo. I just love the air that you get. Same as the acoustic guitar. There's a power you can get from an upright bass if you record it right. It just has a different feel than electric bass. It doesn't thump so much. And it doesn't have such a precise note sound. There's a wider, fatter bounce on it. It puts the roll back into the rock.
I mean, it's a very strange lyric, really, about death and about madness and... criminality and so on. Quite heavy stuff, really. No, but it's a good one. It's an excellent one to start a record with.
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