What would it take to bury me?
Mid-January-January 24, 1997:
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, joined by Charlie Watts, resume work
on demos at a studio in New York City.
Brothers (1997): Meeting Mick
Mike Simpson: Initially, Mick expressed an interest in working with us. He knew the Beck record (Odelay) and Paul's Boutique, and he asked if we'd ever recorded a band before. We'd worked with a number of bands over the years, so we sent him a tape of some stuff. He was still interested in working with us. He asked us if we could come down to New York to meet with him. We sat down with him and talked for about 20 minutes, just philosophically, about music in general. Then Mick said, Oh, this is all nonsense. Let me just play you some stuff. He'd really done his homework. The first songs he'd chosen to play for us were right up our alley. The demos sounded like we'd already worked on them. They were very funky, with these very dusty, old-sounding drum tracks.
John King: The Stones do a lot of work on their own, pre-productionwise. Then they decided to bring different producers in. They're totally cool. They treat you totally nice. Mick is a really smart, energetic, hardworking person. He's writing great songs. And he's totally not shy about just getting on the mic and performing, playing keyboards, harmonica, whatever...
January 31, 1997: Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall attend the opening of the
Al Pacino film Looking for Richard in
Early-to-mid February 1997: Mick
Jagger continues working on material for the Rolling Stones' next
album at Westside Studios in London, England.
February 4, 1997: Mick Jagger attends a Manchester vs. Wimbledon football
(soccer) match in London, England.
February 1997: While working at Westside Studios, Mick Jagger also contributes
to recording sessions for his
brother Chris Jagger.
Late February-early March 1997:
Mick Jagger works on the Stones' album with the Dust Brothers at
their studio (PCP Labs) in Silver Lake, California.
(1997): The Saint of Silver Lake
I didn't know what I was doing sometimes when I was sitting in the Dust Brothers' studio in Silver Lake and it's just me and I've got absolutely nothing to start with and I'm going, I wonder if this is really such a good idea I'm doing this. And they've got this little drum machine going, which is called an 808 which everyone uses, and it's just tinkling away in the back there, like, in this teeny way and I'm quite used to all that but... So I'm sitting there playing my keyboard and playing Saint of Me and I'm thinking, Sounds like shit, this is terrible, how is it ever going to work out? And how I am gonna... And it was very, you know, it's quite slow. I was having fun with it, but it's very low tech in that studio and I just didn't know how it was gonna build up.
But then, as it goes on, you know, and I took the tapes, transferred them and then went to the studio and Charlie sort of played on them. And then I'd bring them back and... it comes in piece (by) piece. It still had to really take shape but it was quite fun doing that. I mean, it was just good to do it in another way, really, and I had a lot of fun with that one.
There are many, many ways to make a Rolling Stones record... (But y)ou can only push it so far. We used to try and sound like Howlin' Wolf. But we never ACTUALLY sounded like Howlin' Wolf, because it's always going to sound like the Rolling Stones. You can run 89 loops, and it STILL sounds like the Rolling Stones.
March 9, 1997: Around this date, Keith Richards arrives in Los Angeles,
March 13, 1997: Mick Jagger, Ron
Wood and Charlie Watts arrive in Los Angeles and join Keith Richards,
where the band starts recording sessions at Ocean Way Recording Studios.
April 6, 1997: Charlie Watts attends Elton John's birthday party in London,
Early April-July 1997: After a
short break in late March, the Rolling Stones resume work on Bridges
Babylon at Ocean Way Recording Studios. During this period, the Rolling Stones also record a track
with B. B. King.
April-early July 1997: During the Rolling Stones' recording sessions in
Los Angeles, Charlie Watts and Jim Keltner
record an album of electronic music, while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards record with blues legend Jimmy
Charlie Watts & Keith Richards (1997): The Stones' "White Album" in
Ronnie: I was wandering between studio 1, 2 and 3, I eventually set up my own room in studio 4 with Charlie and Jim Keltner and we did an alternative album at the same time that the (Stones') album was made. We had some good things coming out of that as well. I'd put my nose in one room and see Mick working on something with Danny Saber, and then I'd do something with Don Was or going to see what the Dust Brothers were doing in the other. This was quite good fun really.
Charlie: I personally had a lot of fun doing it. I was with a crowd of people who I have known for a while and who are interesting to know, apart from the Rolling Stones. I mean L.A. is full of musicians, obviously, and working with all these producers. They work in a very strange way to the way I am used to working.
Keith: The difference for each of us (in recording in Los Angeles), for those years we've been recording on beautiful tropical islands, you know, that you are actually thrown totally on your own resources and if you have an idea for a horn section or you want an extra percussion out of this, forget about it. You know, 2 weeks later maybe you get it, or the guy you want his passport's run out, you know. So after about 4 months or so, you're really just bouncing off of each other and you don't get any outside influence. To be able to record in L.A., after all where we did most of the 60s stuff, and where there is lots of friends about, as you know, as you notice when you read the list, names as Jim Keltner, Waddy Wachtel and Blondie Chaplin coming in, who is here with us as well. And lots of other cats, not necessarily that came in to play but they'd just come in and bounce ideas off you. It was less, it was a joy not to work in a vacuum.
of the Dust Brothers (1997): Dr. Charlie
Actually, (the Stones) have been (working with loops) for years, so it's not new to them. The first day we worked with Charlie, Don Was set him up in the room at Oceanway and cranked Dr. Dre's The Chronic album through Charlie's headphones, and had him play along with the whole album. He recorded all that and they're using those as a source of loops for the various songs they're working on.
April 28, 1997: Mick Jagger attends the U2 concert in San Diego, California.
(July 1997): Live rock: the Rolling Stones vs. U2
I love Bono, and I like the band and the records. But having said all that, I don't think they really performed as LARGE as I thought they should. You have to transcend the production. OK, if you're Bono, you don't want to be like me, running up and down the fucking thing all the time. But it's one way to get people's attention, you know? There he is! It's him in yellow! Listen: it's theater; it's large; it's entertainment. I think it's possible that U2 are not really a stadium act - in their hearts. They always seem to be apologizing. I nveer want to apologize for spending $10 million, say, on the Steel Wheels tour. It's not an apology that you're out there and it costs 50 bucks. The Rolling Stones never apologized. We were always out there with a good show for market price. And, really, I always try and get out there and make sure that we're keeping their attention, working the audience, whether you're in a club or a theater or a stadium. You can't just stroll through it. I wish you could, sometimes - when it's the second night in wherever, it's 41 degrees, and it's raining. But you really have to push it.
(1997): How Can I Stop in June
How Can I Stop was the last thing recorded for the album. There was a car waiting for Charlie outside the studio and it took him to the airport immediately after we finished that take. Charlie did this really intense flourish with Wayne (Shorter) at the end that was almost like his farewell to the record. Then he got up and left and went back to England. It was maybe 5:30 in the morning and it was a really poignant moment that got captured. As for the song itself, it's the most radical thing on the album. Keith really wrote a sophisticated piece of music.
Mid-to-late July 1997: Mick Jagger rests at his home in Richmond, England.
Keith Richards spends time in Rhode
July 12, 1997: The 35th anniversary of the Rolling Stones' first ever public
July 24-25, 1997: Ron Wood is in Hamburg, Germany, promoting his art work.
Late July 1997: Keith Richards is in New York.
(July 1997): The studio mole
You're catching me when I'm just coming out of the studio. I haven't heard anything for six months except our album. I'm just resurfacing at the moment. What's been happening? A car on Mars? Wow, when did that happen? Once in the studio, I become a mole. Avoid sunlight at all costs. If it's already 10 in the morning and we're finishing up, I'll sleep here, I say. I ain't going out there, in L.A. I become vey mole-like. But I'm in the process of resurfacing now, and they're trying to get me into stage design. That's what's happening now. It should be an interesting tour this year.
(September 1997): Phoney break-up rumours
First I've heard of it! Sounds like rumours of post-studio blues. People pick on the feelings, but shit, no, baby. Those things are signed, sealed and delivered way before... The Stones cancelling? I doubt it. We had about three weeks off before the press conference, and everybody just went off and crashed out. There were a few half-hearted faxes, but we'd been in a hole since February. It got down to, like, What are you wearing today, Ron? I was starting to ask the maids in my hotel how THEIR record was going.
(2003): Finding a theme
For the tour that was going to follow Voodoo Lounge, we got to a point where we still hadn't settled on any kind of theme, and I was creaming and banging my head trying to find one. I had been going on about bridges for a while - I have always been obsessed with bridges, and I was particularly interested in the beautiful bridges that Santiago Calatrava was building in Seville and elsewhere... So when this new tour came round, and we found ourselves short of an idea, that was when Mark (Fisher) threw my own idea back at me. He said, OK. If you give me one million dollars now, I can make a bridge that will emerge from the stage and land on the B-stage.
August 11, 1997: The Rolling Stones'
to Babylon is mastered.
August 18, 1997: The Rolling Stones
drive across Brooklyn Bridge in New York City in a red Cadillac
and hold a press conference announcing the 1997-98 Bridges to Babylon World Tour.
(September 1997): Committing to a world tour
I'm in some ways reluctant to commit. It's such a long commitment. I don't even commit to the whole tour, because I want to see how it goes. If I hate it, I hate to think, Oh you're in August 15 in Barcelona and you're staying at the Ritz Carlton and what would you like for breakfast? I hate it. So I never commit to a whole tour. It's a big commitment to do a tour of any kind.
August 19-21, 1997: The Rolling
Stones and actress Angelina Jolie film a videoclip for Anybody Seen
Baby? in New York City.
August 22, 1997: The Rolling Stones
leave New York City and arrive in Toronto, Canada.
August 23-September 16, 1997:
For the second world tour in a row, the Rolling Stones hold their tour
rehearsals in Toronto, Canada, at Masonic Temple.
(September 1997): Trying everything
We're trying everything except the really awful ones like Blue Turns to Grey (laughs). And even some people like that. It's nice to actually have a big arsenal, you can just say to the guys This... It's just like a great big revolver, you can put in different sized bullets.
(September 1997): New old songs
We've got a lot of good stuff happening in the rehearsals. With the huge amount of songs that we have to choose from, it's still quite a handful to remember the chords and the sequences, especially on songs like Sister Morphine that we haven't done live. We're doing lots that we haven't done live before.
(September 1997): No songs from Dirty Work!
I keep trying to put ('80s) songs in, and either they don't sound very good, or no one's very enthusiastic about it. I can't make the band enthusiastic about songs they don't seem to be enjoying. You'd think (Keith)'d want to... Well, if (Dirty Work) was his record... You'd think he'd want to play something from some of those things. It's not only Keith, it's like the whole band is, like, Well yes, er... We played Undercover on the last tour.
September 4, 1997: The Rolling
Stones are interviewed live via satellite on U.S. TV's MTV Awards,
then hold a surprise warm-up concert at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Canada.
(September 1997): The Horseshoe gig
Actually it was a lot of fun, it was better than the ones we'd done before, in clubs. 'Cause sometimes they can be, I mean nobody notices, but they can be complete disasters if everyone forgets everything (laughs). But this one was pretty good.
(September 1997): Preparing for Babylon
Rehearsals are always a funny time, 'cause you've got a little room and you can rock. We're trying to get familiar again with everything, because if you get stuck with a one-rote show, that's a drag. Last time we got really good at switching four, five, six songs a night so we didn't get stale. The other thing is to keep changing the size of the venues - throw in some clubs and theatres here and there. You always notice the next time you go back in a stadium, the show is better.
September 18, 1997: The Rolling
Stones hold a second intimate warm-up concert, this time at The
Double Door in Chicago, Illinois.
September 20-22, 1997: The Rolling
Stones hold their final tour rehearsals at Soldier Field Stadium in
(September 1997): The Rolling Stones in 1997
(T)he band continues to be a touring band, a still-continuing band. I hope this new album's going to contain songs which are going to be performed on stage with some success. I think there's possibilities in there. Also, there's a still-continuing great show. We're not out to change the world. Obviously it is a stadium show and what is is, is what it is.
22, 1997: The Rolling Stones' lead single off their next album, Anybody
Seen My Baby?, is released.
September 23-25, 1997: The Rolling
Stones kick off their 1997-98 Bridges to Babylon World Tour with
two concerts at Chicago's Soldier Field Stadium. The tour is primarily performed in stadiums, but also
features arena shows, in contrast to Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge. The stadium show features
another huge set with a Babylonian motif, and features a mid-section where the band performs in
mid-stadium or arena on a smaller stage, linked to the main stage by a bridge. The same musicians
as on the Voodoo Lounge tour support the Rolling Stones, including bassist Darryl Jones. Multi-
instrumentalist Blondie Chaplin also joins the fold. The set lists open up and vary even more so than
on the previous world tour. Sister Morphine, All About You, Little Queenie, Crazy Mama, 19th Nervous
Breakdown, Wanna Hold You and The Last Time are among the songs never performed before, or not
performed for decades. The concerts also feature a song chosen by the public over the internet.
(September 1997): Scaling down a bit
We're not overplaying the market. We're being very conservative. We're not playing as many shows. It's been a very soft concert (season), you know, in the United States... Plus, given the time problems that we've had - we've run very late with the record - there's only so many things we can do between September 23 and Christmas, as far as stadiums are concerned.
(2003): Walking the bridge
People were very worried (at first) that the audience underneath the bridge would get hurt if the bridge collapsed when we walked on it and there were all these instructions like Only one person at a time and Don't run too fast, Mick. The band was quite nervous about going on it at all, but, in the end, after we'd done it 50 times on the tour, there we all were running along and banging across the bridge.
27, 1997: The Rolling Stones' 23rd U.S. and 21st UK studio album, Bridges
To Babylon, is released.
(1997): Pushing the boundaries
Voodoo Lounge was a progression from Steel Wheels and this is a progression from that. We're pushing boundaries again. We wanted something provocative. We didn't want a competent Stones record - we wanted a record that people would either love or hate... I feel like it's the first one where we've really been able to push the boundaries since we've come back together after the five years of World War III between Mick and me... (T)his is the first one where I think we were really able to push the limits, stylistically. Maybe it was the world touring. You listen to a lot of shit over two and a half years' time, going from South Africa to Japan: different local music all the time... And what goes in must come out, in one way or another.
(1997): Making good stuff
I want to make really good stuff. If we get hits out of it, fantastic, but if not they'll be damn good records, and they'll still last, and they'll be around a long time. The immediate gratification left me a long time ago. If you don't get it, you ain't been there, but maybe you'll get it further down the road.
September 27, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform for the first time ever in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio
September 30-October 2, 1997:
The Rolling Stones perform in Winnipeg, Canada for the first time since
1966, followed by Edmonton.
October 6-8, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform stadium shows in Madison, Wisconsin and Buffalo, New
(1997): Not a nostalgia band
in the band ever talks about (the band's longevity) amongst themselves
or puts their finger on it. I think some of it is just what you do, and
if you don't do it, you go nuts, and the other is how far can it go, you
know. We still feel we're getting better and we have things to offer you
know, and we ain't The Beach Boys, some nostalgia band, you know what I
mean. There's plenty of nostalgia, obviously, after all
October 10-12, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform in Charlotte, North Carolina and at Veterans Stadium
(October 1997): When black turns to grey
The last tour, I was talked into keeping (my hair colour) constant, so they kept putting this crap in. I got sick of that stuff. This is the way it's going to stay. I just couldn't be bothered to fake it.
October 16-17, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform two concerts at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford,
(October 1997): Rock & roll is back on the road
Quite honestly, it's been amazing. The guys are just on. It's one of those indefinable things. Maybe it's because this hasn't been much of a show year. All the energy is there with the audience. Now and again we just sort of step right into a perfect frame.
(O)n the road it's pretty much the same as ever. After a show, we get back to the hotel, and within a half-hour there's a knock on the door, people drop by for a drink, discuss the show, have a few more drinks, play more sounds, and before you know it, the sun's up... Everybody thinks wild party, as if there is some sort of big design going on. But, really, you just go to the room and see what happens.
October 20-21, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform two concerts at Foxboro Stadium near Boston.
Watts (1997): Playing with the Twins
I'm lucky to have been with (Mick and Keith). There's a magic about them that people like. They always argue, but they always love each other. They know each other so well. When I say they argue, they don't actually, but there's always a difference of opinion. They're two totally different people. One is meticulous and detailed, and the other is a complete bohemian. But they both have a direction for themselves and they can both see whatever it is - I'm fortunate to be in there as part of that... They're as close now as they were when they were kids.
October 23, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Washington D.C.
October 24-25, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform two songs in New York City for U.S. TV's Fashion
Awards, then perform a shortened concert at the Capital Theater in Port Chester, Long Island, New
York for MTV's Live From The 10 Spot.
October 26, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform at Nashville's Vanderbilt Stadium.
& Charlie Watts (1997): Darryl instead of Bill
Keith: I miss (Bill). I turn around and say, Where's that skinny white guy? Instead there's a big spade - Hey Darryl! But I've always admired Bill's playing. He could swing it. Very understated. I always enjoyed playing with Bill very much. At the same time, we have anothe bass player now and he's good too, you know. I miss Bill's not being there, but at the same time I've got to respect his decision. So now he's relaxing. He's got two new kids. Hey, enjoy it, Bill, Good luck, pal.
Charlie: We've been playing together for quite a long while now. (Darryl)'s a wonderful bass player, but he's also a very nice young man. The thing about asking people to work with you is that you have to live with these people on the road. Darryl is a very nice man, and that's important. He's also a very good musician. He probably only uses half of his facilities with us.
October 28-November 1, 1997: The
Rolling Stones start a swing through the American South,
performing in Norman, Oklahoma (for the first time); Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Fort Worth,
(September 1997): Touring the U.S. versus Europe
The audience in America tends to be pretty old. That's a result of all kinds of factors I don't have any control over, really. In America, you've got a whole family thing going on. You don't get that in Europe: people don't come with families... Here it's more... family. I don't know what it is. It's a good old boy factor. Some places you play like Charlotte and Norman, Oklahoma, and it's more of a college crowd. It's a different vibe completely.
November 1997: Keith Richards' Wingless Angels CD is released.
November 7-10, 1997: After a week's
rest, the Rolling Stones perform at Sun Devil Stadium in Pheonix
(Tempe), Arizona, where they filmed the stadium scenes for Let's Spend the Night Together in
1981, followed by two concerts at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
(1997): The B-stage
This stage is another huge one and it looks great and everything, but my favorite part is when we walk across the bridge to the small stage and get to play the set in the middle of the people. Suddenly the seats you thought weren't that great are right up front. And for us it's great, beause we can really vary what we play, because it's not all timed to light cues and all that. It's all about the music.
November 11-12, 1997: The Rolling
Stones shoot a videoclip for Saint of Me in Los Angeles.
November 14-19, 1997: Just like
three years earlier, the Rolling Stones perform four concerts at
Oakland Stadium in Oakland, California.
(December 1997): The Oakland shows
One of the stops on the tour so far in San Francisco, we did four shows with Pearl Jam and I enjoyed each show. It always threatened to rain every night but in the end, it never did and moonlight rained instead.
November 16, 1997: All of the Stones attend a birthday party for Chuch
Magee, Stones roadie since 1972, at the
Fillmore West in San Francisco. Ron Wood and Keith Richards, along with others, join in on a jam.
November 22, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
Watts (September 1997): Every song a hit
Duke Ellington played the same songs for 50 years. Now, we don't do that; there are a lot of songs we choose from. If we play a set to you tonight, you can say, That's all their old hits. Then we can play a completely different set a week later, and you can still say, That's all their old hits. That's because there are a lot of songs that people like.
November 25-28, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the
Kingdome in Seattle.
December 2, 1997: Mick Jagger does a live chat on the internet on America
December 2, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform at the Silverdome near Detroit, Michigan.
(1997): A vocation
always question (why we continue to do it), it's very odd but people question
it all the time that why you should do it, you know, it's like, people...
I don't know why, people think in their own lives, if they work, you know,
in an office, or whatever, they think well if I made lots of money I wouldn't
do any work at all. And I think that's how they approach what you're doing
in this kind of... - but it isn't like that,
December 5-9, 1997: The Rolling
Stones head for the southeast, performing in Miami and Orlando in
Florida, followed by Atlanta, Georgia.
December 9, 1997: Jerry Hall gives birth to Gabriel in London, England,
her second son and fourth (and last) child
with Mick Jagger. Gabriel is Mick Jagger's sixth child.
December 12, 1997: The Rolling
Stones perform the last concert of the year at TWA Dome in St. Louis,
Missouri, which is telecast (and eventually released on video) and features guests stars Taj Mahal
and Dave Matthews. For the first time in their career, the Rolling Stones' North American tour will
resume the following year.
December 13, 1997: Mick Jagger arrives in London, England, to meet his
newborn son. He remains in England for
the rest of the year.
Mid-to-late December 1997: Charlie Watts holidays in New York.
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