The previous day, in the offices of Rolling Stones Records at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Keith Richards had been a bit quieter than his compatriot Jagger. He was happy about the new album: "I'm glad you see it as a 'greatest hits live' because the only difference you can offer with a live album – since ninety percent of the material has been recorded before – is that difference between the studio and just how the band deals with it onstage without any of the overdubs. If it's there, it's there, and if it's not, then there really isn't any point for it."
Besides having to pick out the best of forty shows to put on one record, wouldn't there be another problem – mixing the audience sound?
Richards smiled at that and opened a Coca-Cola.
"Uhm. The audience, they'll be pleased to hear, had an awful lot of time spent on them. We listened to hours of the audience tracks, and those are the things you forget about when you say, 'Oh, yeah, you'll do a live album.' I'd rather make four studio albums any day.
"The lucky thing about a live album is that if you do get a good show, it tends to be pretty good all the way through. The mainstay of the album is probably the second or third show in Paris. Most of the material comes from that, so then it's really trying to get the rest of the sound to match up to that show."
Richards was more somber in discussing his pending trial in Canada, saying it may or may not be postponed and that he will deal with it when he has to deal with it: "I don't let it bother me, really, I just try to get on with what I have to do."
Robert Frank's Montreal Star interview, on the other hand, was obviously disturbing Richards: "I'm just amazed that Robert Frank hasn't got something better to get on with than touting some five-year-old movie. I wanted it to come out five years ago because I'd rather have it out than have people listing what scenes are in it and coloring it whatever way they want to color it.
"The movie is actually a lot more hilarious, because basically what it does for me is put in some of everybody's idea of what a documentary movie is. Since it's in black-and-white and because the camera wobbles a bit everybody thinks, 'Wow, this is for real, man!' And all the time people are going around with clapperboards saying, 'Take two.' Everything is so obviously set up. There isn't a scene in that movie where somebody isn't banging on a microphone and saying, 'Okay, ready, sound!' It is so obvious a movie is being made and everybody on the screen is doing what they are doing to the camera. It is all set up and not even the clapperboards have been cut out, yet people say that because it's black-and-white and it wobbles, that it's real. It's a movie!"
But, since Frank lists in the Star such scenes as snorting, shooting up and copulating, could such press damage Richards' case in Canada?
Richards shrugged: "Those seem to be more Robert Frank's preoccupations than anybody else's. I should hope that the judges are aware of the press and what they do and what they are capable of, and be able to look at things more objectively. I have learned to live with it and I hope the judge lives with it as well. He must be aware of the dangers of being influenced by it because it is all gossip-column stuff, and that is where it belongs."
On another sort of press, Richards actually sounded affectionately nostalgic: the English punk articles.
"It's a real feeling of déjà vu. All you have to do is delete the words 'Sex Pistols' and write in 'Rolling Stones' and you've got the same old press as you had fifteen years ago – exactly. It is funny, because they've manipulated the press in England, they've made them play the same old games they played with us. Piss on the floor and watch them all come running; would you let your daughter marry one? It's hilarious. They puked at the London airport; we pissed in the filling station."
This story is from the November 3rd, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone.
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