Yes, I AM going to retire from the Rolling Stones. I really do want to do other things, you know. I don't want to wait till I'm 60; that'd be too late. So, at the end of 1982, I'll go for something else. When I got into rock & roll, I thought it'd last two or three years, maybe five, and I was just after some extra cash. I never saw it being any more than three years, a bit of cash, a bit of fun, and getting around town. SUDDENLY - here I am 18 years later and it's become the dominant part of my life, and I didn't really want it go to like that, you know. Here I am, just turned 40 as it were, and I'm STILL playing rock & roll.
My idea is to try to get out another album this year, and then we can get these motherfuckers on the ROAD! Instead of the same old treadmill of road, studio, road, studio, road, studio, we can make extended road trips or do anything else we want to do: be moving stars or make solo albums.
Yes. Desperately. No, I do, yes. I really want to get up there. Whether Bill can get up there or not is another matter. He said he was going to retire, didn't he? In two years. He named the date. We've got two years to find another bass player.
Ron: We're not trying to say No, it's just we don't know. Mick: No, we don't.
I don't see an end to the Rolling Stones. I don't think about it happening. When it comes, if it comes, whenever. There's no theory on the end of the Rolling Stones as I see it. When it happens, it happens. The Crazy Gang went on forever. I don't seen an end to the Rolling Stones. Besides, it's all science fiction anyway.
We're just embarking upon this tour, you know, so we hope it's the first of many and long future tours of America that we do, from time to time. And we go on and on and on doing them. We never seem to stop so I don't see why we should stop now... No, I don't see (a group separation) in the foreseable future, you know. But I don't have a crystal ball, you never know what's going to happen. But right now, as I say, we're committed to touring for a considerable period of time and making new records...
I'm older and much "gooder", I can see. You get much "gooder" as you get older, you never get - well I never... anyone that's gotten older has (never) got, sort of, worse, they always get sweeter, don't they? Like, you know, like your grandfather was sweet......
I think the Rolling Stones have gotten a lot better. An awful lot better, I think. A lot of people DON'T, but I think they have and to me that's gratifying.
We only tour when I want to, not before. I like performing, you know, but there's that question of seeming too old. I know what I used to think of people my age. It might appear unseemly to be out on a rock tour at our ages.
I can't go on leaping around forever - it would be unseemly and perhaps I should not be doing it now - but I would be stupid not to do it while I still can. In any case, if I can't hit middle-C, I'm not going to cancel - nobody's going to notice.
You can't really think like that anymore. There was a time when I worried about that, but it's gotten so beyond that now. When you're 30 people would say, Well, you are a bit old, aren't you? You just agree. Then you get over that and talk to 11-year-olds. Well, they got to think that you're as old as forever. I remember what I used to think of people my age. But so what? I mean I don't even understand why they would be interested, but the fact is that they are, and they've got to think you're as old as anything - not just an older-looking guy but OOOOLD... and they still buy your records and buy thousands of tickets to see you.
It's really all a sideline to me... So when the tour is over and the record is done I just won't think about it for another 6 months. I won't play any music or anything, otherwise it would drive me crazy... I suppose I just have to do it until I really feel I can't do it anymore, which should be for another 3 or 4 years I suppose. But I mean, even then I have to do it in a different way. I can still do it like a kind of method for a little while.
(I believe we can keep going for another 20 years) because nobody has done it, you know? It's kind of interesting to find out how rock & roll can grow up. I mean, there are other examples, obviously, but on the sort of scale the Rolling Stones are on, and have been on for so long, it still seems that if we do OUR best, they respond to it immediately - the audience, the kids, whatever you want to call it. Some of them are not so young anymore. Nor are we.
We're always asked what we're going to do when we get too old for rock and roll. But what can you say? It's the
only thing we've done, the only thing I'VE done. It's the only thing I WANT to do...
When we all came into this band, we probably never thought it'd last more than two or three years, and suddenly it's a third of your life. That's the whole thing about leaving after 20 years, because it's enough for me. No matter how great it is. Wonderful to do it, and be in that band, but I've got so many other things that I want to do in my life. I don't want to still be going out on a stage in a wheelchair in ten years' time.
I hate touring and I hate going on the road and my first reaction to this last tour was, How the hell can I go out there at 40 years of age and do that? I didn't think people would turn up to see it, but they did.
I'm very pleased for them that in (laughs) 1981 they can make a tour which is as phenomenal as this has been. I know that some of them are rather hung up about being what they would refer to as rock & roll idols at the age of 40. But I really don't see that they have anything to worry about as long as they still turn people on. That is the only thing. That's the final criteria: Do you turn people on? If you turn people on, you are entitled to whatever you get from it. You're entitled to the money, you're entitled to the titles, you're entitled to any of those things that you want, as long as as you are DOING it. And your age is TOTALLY immaterial.
So I was in a restaurant one night, a nice one in New York and there was a family at the next table. No one was paying attention to anyone else but then I heard - I couldn't help it - the kid ask his father something. He wanted to know which band was better, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Well, I don't know, says the father. Why don't you ask him?, meaning me. It made me feel like something out of history.
We don't make any money is one of the reasons. And life is only so long... And - we just figured we should really go because if it's gonna be (laughs) another 7 years, we may NEVER go again. I mean, that's a real - you've really got to face up to that (laughs). I mean, we'll never go again, that'll be the last time definitely we go to Europe, unless we go the year after. Not in this band, in this place, I mean... it's impossible.
There will certainly at least be another studio album. And there's buckets of live material.
I'm positive they'll continue making albums for a long time. They really enjoy recording now. The whole band approach it with a lot of enthusiasm. They may go off the road, but I can't see them stop recording.
Some people over the years have consistently written to you, and you've written back and sent them things. And you do have a relationship with them, which goes back to when you were just, say, 20 years old. So - this is kind of touching really that this can continue for that long, you know, from all over the world really. And I find that pretty amazing... to last that long. It's very nice that you have a growing audience, you know, a changing audience. Some people are not going to last forever, they're gonna buy one or two albums and be interested in you for a little while then move on to something else. People will get married, settle down, and they're no longer interested in music anymore. And it's nice that this band has been able to acquire new "fans" - or whatever you want to call them - people that like the band, as they go along. And it's nice that it transcends generations; that some people that like us are older than me, and some people are younger than my daughters.
It's something to journalists, I think. Most people on the streets don't even know or care. It's only the bits in The Post, bits in The Times and bits in Rolling Stone that make people aware of it. It's really a journalistic invention. As you said, nobody really worried about Paul (McCartney)'s birthday because they couldn't see an angle on it.
Q: At one point you talked about how you wouldn't want to be singing Satisfaction when you were 50...
Mick: Or 40 or 30.
Q: But now you find yourself there.
Mick: What that means is it's not the actual singing. What that means is that you don't want to be in exactly the same groove, you want to change around a little bit. You don't want to be too much of a nostalgia act...
Q: What about when you're 50?
Mick: 50? (laughs) FIFTY? Listen to this, FIFTY! God - fuck 50! You can write that! .... It would be awful if I went on and tried to do things I couldn't do. But if the body is in good enough condition to be able to sing and have the breath and the legs... then there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do it for a few more years. But as soon as it starts to show... well, I'll see it on video. I'll see it straight away.
It's really interesting. Nearly all the people that go to the big shows, but the records - over 50% of them listen for about 5 years, buying records as a group. If you talk about it, say this album sells X copies, over half of that is bought by people who have never heard, never bought Satisfaction, never hread it except on oldies shows, never heard things like 19th Nervous Breakdown, weren't aware of anything. They know Miss You, maybe. That's the first one maybe they've heard... A lot of people buy records and they only like that band for one year, two years and then they go out looking for sonething else... I mean the Clash were really a big band with young kids last year. This year, the kids don't even know who they ARE anymore. They're forgotten.
I don't know whether the Stones are gonna go on the road next year or not. We're gonna sit down and talk about that in the next few weeks. I mean, CHARLIE obviously doesn't want to go on tour. But yeah, I love it. It's kind of in my blood.
No, (turning 40 isn't) really (that bad). I don't mind singing something like (Satisfaction) off and on, but I don't want to be doing it for a living. The point is I don't want to HAVE to go out there and sing it. I'd rather do new stuff.
(W)e don't have to do all (of the albums in our new contract) if we don't want to. We can just do two of them and that's it (laughs). No, we have a commitment to do four, UP to four is actually it (laughs). I don't know quite exactly what the Stones are going to be doing. I mean Keith is oh yeah, we'll be on the road. It's nice to go on the road, but we don't have any plans at all. Now we're just setting up to do some videos, and I don't know what we're going to do beyond next week.
Keith and I have been friends for a LONG time. Yes we were friends since we were 6 years old which, I'm not going to tell you, is a LONG time ago, more than 20 years... I've been friends with CHARLIE for over 20 years. It's difficult to analyze WHY, you know, why us? You don't know. And, as someone said to me, those friendships lasted over the other ones, you know, with women and all that. So the band's been going on longer than any marriage or involvement I've been in...
I'm still not done with Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone? Once those things are pinned on you, they stick with you forever. They might look slightly silly when you're 60 or 70. Would you let your daughter marry THIS? No way not!
(CBS) offered a very good deal ($28 million, in 1983) and we took it. But we didn't GUARANTEE four albums or anything. I might get hit by a bus, or the group might break up. It's UP to four albums. Whether we make four albums or six albums, I don't know. I don't know how many more albums the Rolling Stones will make. I'm not being very positive about that, but I'm being honest.
I understand why Mick sort of ducked (his 40th birthday)... In that respect, I think rock & roll is a fairly health life, if we're all still here. And nobody looks like a 40-year-old executive. They're all still in good shape. They're all still trim, put two hours in onstage, probably more energetically than they did in the '70s. And those people who ask me about age, it never goes across my vision, except that the years do go by a little faster... I'm in amazingly good shape for the old man of rock & roll.
I don't think (my solo album means the Stones are winding down). I mean, we're going into the studios in January, and we're planning a tour for next year. Ronnie said so on MTV! (laughs) Who am I to say there isn't going to be?... (But 5 or 10 years down the the road...) Well, forGET it! (laughs) I don't want to THINK about it! No, I don't think (there can really be a Rolling Stones when we're 50).
Yeah, yeah. Hopefully, first thing in the spring, when the weather breaks. (Grins) Hey, this is our first album for CBS. We've GOTTA tour.
There are a lot of kids out there, leaping around onstage now, making pots of money, who have never known a world without the Rolling Stones. For me that's a weird feeling, because I remember a world without rock and roll, never mind the Rolling Stones.
(T)hat's the point the Stones are at right now, if they want to be. It's a real interesting position, 'cause we can make this damn thing GROW UP. We're the only ones around that've kept it together this long. Is there a point in being a rock and roll band after twenty-odd years? Can you make it grow up gracefully? Can you get it to mature and make sense? I guess what I'm saying is that I love doing it, and we're at a point now where we'd like to make it grow up with us.
Well, the Stones, as usual, are very single-minded, so until this record (Dirty Work) is finally delivered, nobody's really going to apply their minds to anything else. But I feel like it'd be great once to do a tour of America where we don't start off cold, where the first gig in 3 years isn't in front of 90 000 people in Philly. It'd be a perfect time of year to pop down in Australia - where we haven't been for years - or Japan - where we've NEVER been - and crank it up that way, then bring it to the States with a hot band already warmed up. I always feel like the first few gigs on a Stones tour are like listening to us rehearse (laughs). I mean, it's as much of a shock for US to see all those people there as it is for them to see us, if not more. It's just me talking, but I'd like to see it happen in early spring, be on our way by March.
I think (the Stones will tour this year). I can't say for sure 'cause we haven't had a chance to sit down and actually discuss it yet. I'm waiting to do that within the next couple of weeks. I'm hopeful. I think so. I think they're idiots if they don't want to.
I think it made everybody realize that's what it's all about. It felt so good. You could see it in everybody's face. All the other things became secondary for that one night. Maybe that'll egg them on a little bit to say, OK, let's tour... I just hope (Mick) comes around, man, because I sure want to do it and I can testify that everybody else in the band is ready to go. I have not had a personal conversation with Mick about it, but I hear the same things that everybody hears - that he's trying to sort out his ideas on what his next career move should be. I hope it's a Rolling Stones tour.
There is no tour planned, that's as far as it goes. It's not even planned. If it's planned, I'll tell you about it... No (Keith and I haven't fallen out over it). We haven't even TALKED about it... Well, we haven't been getting along very well so I think - you know, we've been together doing this album for a year, so I think we'll need a little bit of time to see how things go.
I always feel that the Stones are still pushing their potential. I may be wrong, but I'm still waiting for it to hit its peak. I feel the Stones are now in this unique position. If they want to stay together for the next few years we can make this thing that started off with the Fab Four/Stonesmania/teenybopper thing grow up! Seeing if we can make it mature, seeing if we can be what we are. Stop pretending this Peter Pan bullshit and become real men who can play up there like real men and act like men and still lay the stuff on them. The Stones are now the only ones in the position to do it... (O)ther people say maybe it shouldn't (grow up) - maybe adolescence is what rock and roll's about. But OBVIOUSLY it isn't or there wouldn't be anybody over 22 playing the stuff... I played with Muddy Waters six months before he died. What he was doing was pretty much the same as what we do; it's just the marketing that was different. He was like Buddha up there - a mature, dignified Buddha commanding all the respect in the world. Why shouldn't we see if rock and roll can do that?
I enjoy playing with the Rolling Stones, but I've got to the point where I've played with the Rolling Stones a lot. I've been with them for twenty-three years. That's a long time. Every time I want to do something outside the Rolling Stones people say, He's going to leave! I mean, I've just spent a whole year doing this album, so at the moment I'm kind of interested in doing other things, whether they be in movies, videos, performing, writing, whatever. The Rolling Stones is not my only interest in life... I don't have any tour plans with or without the Stones. I don't have any tour plans period. But things can change. I can't say what will happen. I can only tell you what's happening right now.
The touring... I can't imagine it. I always have this image of me when playing in the Stones, and there are all these 16-year-old girls in the front screaming. My daughter's that age. It's embarrassing.
Uh... I don't think we'll be touring this year, although nothing is carved in stone, pardon me (smirks). I've no doubt we will tour again; it's just that this year the timing has been a little... uncoordinated, you know? We'll just give it a rest this summer. Maybe later this year.
We can't break up. We've got more albums to deliver.
I love Keith, I admire him... but I don't feel we can really work together anymore.
(Mick is) obsessed with age. He want(s) to be young, but I don't see the point of pretending to be 25 when you're not.
It looks that way. I think the time comes when, you know, all good things must pass... It's a pity we didn't go out with a big bang but instead... with a bit of a whimper... A new Stones tour depends on Mick and Keith becoming friendly again.
There's no way I can possibly see (Mick and Keith) working together again. I can't see that pair being in the same town together, never mind the same room, in the next 10 years. It's the end.
I don't see any reason why (the Stones will not play together again). Let us have a break, see what else we can do. We'll come back with renewed energy, hopefully.
(I still view the Stones as an ongoing entity), very much. And I think the Stones should go on the road, and so on. I don't believe in forcing things when they're not right, though.
I think it is very important to be able to mature. This is what everyone's been going on about: How are you going to live in the rock music world? Rock isn't just for teenagers, you have to cover eerybody without condescending and you can do that in an album. If you're a mature singer/songwriter you can't just leave rock behind and do
schlock. You've got to make the music grow with you, as well as sticking with the good, exciting basics, what's good in your work - and still try to push the genre.
Everybody likes things cut and dried, and with the Stones, it never will be. Whether it's all over or not is really up to how everybody in the band feels. This particular period is basically, I think, a reaction to 25 years of being
forced to work together, whether we liked it or not. Luckily, we liked it... Let's just give it a breather, and then we'll see how ridiculous it all is and work it out. I mean, I love working with those boys, and I don't see us not pullin' it back together. Just give us a break, and we'll come back for part two, you know? We'll be right with you after these messages. (Laughs) More to come, you know?
I mean, we've had a lot of ups and downs in the Rolling Stones, and this is one of them. I, for one, hope we will regroup. Having said that, I think that one ought to be allowed to have one's artistic side apart from just being in the Rolling Stones. I LOVE the Rolling Stones - I think it's wonderful, I think it's done a lot of wonderful things for music. But, you know, it cannot be, at my age and after spending all these years, the only thing in my life... I think after twenty-three, twenty-four or however many years, I certainly have earned the right to express myself in another way.
I don't particularly want to go on tour when things are not going that well. I think it's a mistake. I learned a lesson from the Who being on the road (1982) when they were not getting on. I hated seeing it. It embarrassed me and made me feel very sad. And I don't want to see the Rolling Stones like that - onstage and getting on badly... Fifteen years ago, I could have just sat around and lived in the country and waited for a year, hoping it would blow over... I think everyone in the Stones is going to benefit from the fact that we're all doing different things for a while. And it won't be quite so insidiously incestuous... I mean, people have this obsession: they want you to be like you were in 1969. They want you to, otherwise their youth goes with them, you know? It's very selfish, but it's understandable.
(Mick) said, I don't need this bunch of old farts. Little do you know, Sunny Jim... My point around Dirty Work was this was the time when the Stones could do something. They could mature and grow this music up and prove that you could take it further. That you don't have to go back and play Peter Pan and try and compete with Prince and Michael Jackson or Wham! and Duran Duran... To me, twenty-five years of integrity went down the DRAIN with what he did. Mick is more involved with what's happening at this moment - and fashion. I'm trying to grow the thing up, and I'm saying we don't need the lemon-yellow tights and the cherry picker and the spectacle to make a good Rolling Stones show. There's a more mature way of doing it. And Mick, particularly at that time, two or three years ago, couldn't see a way clear to do anything different... But we talked about it. I went to London, and we had a meeting. I think you'll find a new album and a tour next year from the Stones.
I also think Mick has a Peter Pan complex. He wants to compete on the same level with Michael Jackson and Prince. Why do that when you've got 25 years of integrity and respect behind you? I think the Stones are at a point when they could really grow up gracefully. Be more mature. Make it strong that way. But he wants to prance around and wiggle his arse and have special effects and dance with chicks.
(I)f anyone can come back after such a long lay-off, the Stones can. It's still the question I get asked most all the time, everywhere - when are you getting back together? When is it going to happen? Perople certainly want us to. In a way, the longer the gap, the greater the fascination. It's a unique situation. The weird thing is with the Stones - at least until we stopped working - there was still an incredible spectrum of fans. There'd be grandmas with their daughters and grandaugthers in the audience. Whooah, lovely! Three generations! (laughs). Depending on you talk to, some people the Rolling Stones started with Brown Sugar, some think there wasn't a Rolling Stones before Start Me Up... It's weird when you are part of something that's gone on that long and you realise that you're something that people have grown up with. A lot of people haven't known a world without the Rolling Stones. They're as much a part of life as your mum or your dad or the television set or the armchair or the air you breathe. You're born into the world and there are the Rolling Stones. That's very hard to take in.
If we do (re-forrm) it will be early, middle '89, so I'd say we'd... oh, do an album then go on the road. Same as ever. It's the only thing to do. If you do what I do, you write songs, you make records, you go on the road. If you don't do one of those three things you don't get the full benefit.
This is a job. It's a man's job, and it's a lifelong job. And if there's a sucker to ever prove it, I hope to be the sucker.
I still have lots of reservations about Mick, but I think that's something natural we all go through as people. Eventually we'll work it out and I have no doubt we can work together. My vision and his vision of what the Stones could do is slightly different. I think that the Stones are in that unique position of being able to see rock & roll music grow up. After all, it's fairly young music, 30 years. Audiences are growing up with it. So are the musicians. And to me, the Stones are in that beautiful, interesting, exciting position of finding out how to take it further... (Mick) thought that the Rolling Stones are old-fashioned. I think Mick was petrified at the thought of becoming part of rock & roll nostalgia. He thought the answer was to compete with the general trend of recording today.
No matter how you flip that dime / On our side is time...
(We'll get the Stones in the studio a)s early as we can next year. I'd very much like to use the same cat who engineered (Talk Is Cheap), Don Smith. And Steve Jordan, too, as co-producer. Because we've had such a good thing going, we're on a roll. I'd like to take what I've done in the last two years and bring it to bear on the Rolling Stones.
(W)e have tentative starting dates for the studio early next year... I think in a year we'll be on the road, and that's having a new album as well...
If the Stones go on stuttering and not really starting, then obviously I'll have to (continue touring solo)... Now that I've got the taste of playing onstage again, I'll carry on doing it. If the Stones start up again and everything is a great, fun, pleasurable success, then I won't do so much of it. Who knows?
The Stones are inevitable. The process is inexorably predictable. I don't want to disappear into a bubble just
because it's the Rolling Stones, but I think that 1989 will be virtually a Stones year - whether I like it or not.
(T)he Stones haven't worked on the road for seven goddamn years. Name me another act that can lay off that long. We've become Frank Sinatra. It's almost like the longer you leave it, the more people want it.
I don't see it as a retrospective or a farewell or anything like that. It's the Rolling Stones in 1989... (Somebody asks if this is the last tour). That's a wonderful question! First asked in 1966!
The Rolling Stones are the Rolling Stones. When it's good, it's really good. And when it isn't good, it's boring. And I'd rather go and make solo albums than make boring Rolling Stones albums... Ah, fuck it, who cares (if this is the last tour)? That's all I can say we're gonna do at the moment. That's all anyone can say.
(I)t's NOT a farewell tour. And once we get this huge slice, the American tour, done, we're pretty sure we'll move on to the rest of the world next year.
There's not a lot in rock that is new. It's the same kind of chord sequences and the same kind of rhythm references and the same recycling of subject matter. But I don't think it's a problem. I mean, traditional musical forms like folk music in three chords or blues are endearing to Americans. They find some comfort in them.
Sorry, I thought you were going to take my pulse.
It won't do to say, Oh, well, I'm 46 years old. I'm TIRED. I'm going to stand here and sing "Satisfaction" as best I can, it's a bit off tune. You have to take into account my declining years - they don't fucking want that (laughs). They're going to want kick-ass rock & roll.
I guess by around Satisfaction... we started to realize that you could deveop this thing, and if you did it right, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to do it as long as you wanted. But you don't even think about those things at the time. There was no way of foreseeing it going to like 1989, of foreseeing all this. It's actually reached a point where probably a good 80% of the people there at the concerts don't even know a world without the Rolling Stones. And so you become a fixture - like the moon.
I can never think of starting something up again in order to make it the last time. This is the beginning of the second half.
I recognize that I'm not 20 or 30 anymore. I make sure I get... a LITTLE sleep. (laughs)... You get older, you know? You've got families and kids. It will happen to the best of you, baby, don't worry. The one thing I can guarantee is you're gonna get older - if you're LUCKY... There's no point at this point of life still trying to play bad boys just for the sake of it. I was as bad as you could get. I look back, and I say, I was trying to commit suicicde for ten years. But I couldn't kill it. So I came to terms with myself: OK, well, then, we'll get on with living. Now I want to see how far I can take this thing. If I can grow up, then surely my music can.
I hope younger people just see the band as a band, without the baggage of history. You can't deny the history's there; I'm not denying it's there. But I'm not really interested in the history of the band. I'm not really interested in what happened then. I'm still interested in the songs - if they hold up. I'm not interested in doing them just as history. I'm more interested in doing new things. I'm just not that orientated toward the past. I think it's a waste of time. It's dumb. It's done, nothing's gonna change it.
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