I can't even feel the pain no more
I once took that apomorphine cure that Burroughs swears by. Dr. Dent was dead, but his assitant whom he trained, this lovely old dear called Smitty, who's like mother hen, still runs the clinic. I had her down to my place for five days, and she just sort of comes in and says, Here's your shot, dear, there's a good boy, or You've been a naughty boy, you've taken something, yes you have, I can tell. But it's a pretty medieval cure. You just vomit all the time.
In 72 hours, if you can get through it, you're clean. But that's never the problem. The problem is when you go back to your social sircle - who are all drug pushers and junkies. In five minutes you can be on the stuff again.
I didn't want to go but we were advised it was the only way to sort out our financial affairs. Which were disastrous at that time. We'd been a top band for eight years and none had seen any money. If we were going to earn the kind of money to... get ourselves out of trouble we'd be paying like 93% tax and there was no way we could've earned enough to pay back what we owed. So it was essential that we went. And I remember the drive to the airport before leaving England and I was looking at - and it was spring and the flowers were coming out and all that and I was looking and I said, Jesus, that's the last time we're going to see this road for two years and Wow, I'm not going to see any English roses... you know, really silly things but it was really horrible.
We didn't start making decent money till '71. And we'd been together for eight years then. Everybody thought we were millionaires, but we were far from it.
& Mick Taylor: Leaving England and becoming gypsies, or Rolling Stones
(with no direction home)
Mick Jagger: Stoned is the word that might describe (the band at the time). (Laughs) It was a difficult period, because we had all these lawsuits going with Allen Klein. We had to leave England because of tax problems. We had no money and went to live in the South of France - Exile On Main Street was the first album we made where we weren't based in England, thus the title.
In retrospect I think moving out of England was a very good thing because England was very dull. Having a home base was really becoming a load of old rubbish. Everyone was living in the country with their families. I think the band would have broken up otherwise. When the band moved out of England, then we only had the band. If we had lived in England I probably would have quit and retired to live in the country. I agree you need a base of some kind though.
Mick Taylor: It was like being on tour all the time. It got to a stage where we all began to live the presures of the lifestyles. Becoming non-residents, living abroad and uprooting ourselves was quite a big thing. We never really had enough time to settle down into a familiar situation. There were always dramas going on. My wife had just had a baby, so on a personal level it completely turned my whole world upside down. So many things happened in a short space of time. After a couple of years I realized I'd become a gypsy.
(April 1971): video rewind
There's a little thing I've wanted to do for a long while. We've got loads and loads of sort of weird film of the Rolling Stones for the last six or seven years or more; and I just wanted to make a compilation of it, you know, with an original soundtrack. For a videocassette. So I thought it could be quite interesting. It doesn't have to be all the Rolling Stones, but there's so much film; there's all the stuff on the Rock and Roll Circus...
(mid-1970s): The impact of Bianca
I think (Bianca) has had a bigger negative influence on Mick than anyone would have thought possible. Mick, Anita and I used to go around an awful lot before he met Bianca. Mick marrying Bianca stopped certain possibilities of us writing together because it happens in bursts; it's not a steady thing. It certainly made it a lot more difficult to write together and a lot more difficult to just hang out.
Setting up for Exile
Recording at my place was a necessity. The idea was to find another place to record like a farmhouse in the hills. But they couldn't find anywhere, so eventually they turned around and looked at me. I looked at Anita and said, Hey, babe, we're gonna have to handle it. Anita had to organize dinner sometimes for something like 18 people. We redid the basement kitchen into the studio.
Singing country with Gram Parsons
(There are a lot of ) songs that Gram taught me. There's a few cuts by George Jones that were written by Dallas Frazier. Say It's Not You, Apartment No. 9. Sing Me Back Home by Merle Haggard. Six Days on the Road. And a couple of Jerry Lee's things. She Still Comes Around to See What's Left of Me. (Laughs) I used to spend days at the piano with Gram, you know, just singing. I did more singing with Gram than I've done with the Stones. He taught me all the Everly Brothers stuff and the cross harmonies and shit like that.
Andy Johns & Jimmy Miller: Recording Exile
Mick: (We were j)ust winging it. Staying up all night... Stoned on something; one thing or another. So I don't think it was particularly pleasant. I didn't have a very good time. It was this communal thing where you don't know whether you're recording or living or having dinner; you don't know when you're gonna play, when you're gonna sing - very difficult. Too many hangers-on. I went with the flow, and the album got made. These things have a certain energy, and there's a certain flow to it, and it got impossible. Everyone was so out of it. And the engineers, the producers - all the people that were supposed to be organized - were more disorganized than anybody.
Andy Johns: I remember Gram Parsons sitting in the kitchen in France on day, while we were overdubbing vocals or something. It was crazy. Someone is sitting in the kitchen overdubbing guitar and people are sitting at the table, talking, knives, forks, plates clanking.
Sometimes the band would get mad but they didn't have much choice. Keith would say, Just going to put Marlon to bed, and then disappear for four or five hours. At 1:00 AM he'd reappear, ready to go. Everyone else would be bored to death or tired of waiting for Keith. Then Keith would want to work for the next eight hours.
Personally I don't think (my heroin use) affected my productivity at all. I was taking smack and getting into it during Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers. Productivity? I did Exile On Main Street when I was heaviest into smack and that was a fuckin' double album. You really can't say smack contributed to me not being able to function anywhere. I even got skiing together when I was a junkie. I wonder how many people have done that?
"Happy" & "Rip This Joint"
Happy was something I did because I was for one time EARLY for a session. There was Bobby Keys and Jimmy Miller. And we were in the South of France, it was at the time we were recording Exile. We had nothing to do and had suddenly picked up the guitar and played this riff. So we cut it and it's the record, it's the same. We cut the original track with a baritone sax, a guitar and Jimmy Miller on drums. And the rest of it is built up over that track. It was just an afternoon jam that everybody said, Wow, yeah, work on it.
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.
"Shine a Light"
I liked Shine a Light. I played bass on that. There are quite a few things I played bass on. I used the band's Fender Jazz bass for these because Bill wasn't there; he was late, and nobody bothered to wait. That used to happen a lot, actually. I don't mean that Bill was late a lot; we didn't always get there at the same time. If we felt like playing, we would.
(*note: Bill Wyman maintains he played bass on this track.)
France is alright, as long as you can get out. Like I've been in France longer than I've ever stayed in England. There's fuck-all live music here, there's Jacques Brel and electronic music. Even the accordion players are dead.
& Keith Richards: Glimmer Twin tensions
Jimmy Miller: I think that was Keith's album. Mick was always jumping off to Paris 'cause Bianca was pregnant and having labor pains. I remember many mornings after great nights of recording, I'd come over to Keith's for lunch. And within a few minutes of seeing him I could tell something was wrong. He'd say, Mick's pissed off to Paris again. I sensed resentment in his voice because he felt we were starting to get something, and when Mick returned the magic might be gone.
Keith (1987): I would say that (in the early 70s) you've got the seeds of why we're not together right now. I mean, Mick and I have different attitudes, and throughout most of the 70s, I was living in another world from him. I didn't blame him - he'd earned the right to do what he wanted. It was just that I couldn't RELATE to (his lifestyle). And even if I could've related to it, I was too busy being busted - which, I mean, is equally as dumb, you know?
Mick and I are incredibly diverse people. We've known each other 40 years - ever since we were 3 or 4 years old. But while a certain part of our personalities is incredibly close, there's an awful lot which is very, very different. And so, yeah, it kind of got up my nose a bit, that jet-set shit and, like, the flaunting of it.
|Keith Richards (2010): Losing an arm
When they put the documentary together for Exile, they showed me some footage, and there I am, holding my favorite stolen guitar, a 1964 Telecaster. It was like, Oh baby, don't rub it in. There she was. Had a lovely sound. I just got used to that one, you know? I can play almost any Telecaster, but the more you play just the one, the more it becomes attached to you. I almost went into a blank after the guitars were stolen. I didn't want to think about it. But I slowly started to build up a new collection since then. I haven't lost one since. I learned my lesson: don't leave them hanging around on a Saturday night!
Late December 1971: Bill Wyman and Astrid Lundstrom return to France to
spend holidays with Charlie and Shirley
Watts. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Mick Taylor remain in Los Angeles.
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