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Keith Richard: The Rolling Stone Interview

Page 23 of 24

No way to understand it. On the face of that, what kind of music are you writing?
I'll just keep on rocking and hope for the best. I mean that's really what in all honesty it comes down to. I mean why do people want to be entertainers or do they want to listen to music or come and watch people make music? Is it just a distraction or is it a vision or God knows what? It's everything to all kinds of people. You know, it's all different things.

Ok, but the music's changing. "Can't you hear me knockin'" changed because of Bobby Keyes and Jim Price. "Moonlit Mile" is a change.
Yeah, it's a gas to play. It's a gas not to be so insulated and play with some more people, especially people like Bobby, man, who sort of on top of being born at the same time of day and the same everything as me has been playing on the road, man, since '56 – '57.

He was on Buddy Holly's first record. I mean he's a fantastic cat to know, for somebody who's into playing rock and roll, because it's been an unending chain for him. The first few years that he was playing around man, I was just the same as anyone, I was just listening to it and digging it and wondering where it came from. And he was there, man. Bobby's like one of those things that goes all the way through that whole thing, sails right through it.

I didn't know it man, but we played on the same show as Bobby Keys in '64, first time we went to San Antone. San Antone State Fair, no, Teen Fair, San Antone Teen Fair, 1964. George Jones, Bobby Vee, that's who Bobby Keys was playing with, playing with Bobby Vee's backup band. I remember that gig, but I don't remember Bobby.

But the reason I remember San Antone so much is waking up and this is, I mean, a young English cat never been face to face with the realities of American life. San Antone was like one of the first places we hit after Omaha and L.A. L.A., Omaha. San Antone, you know, really right in there.

I put on the TV the first morning: "15 killed last night in a brawl down on the river Brazos" or whatever it is. I thought, "God, they're riotin' down here, what's going on?" "Is it a race riot, old chap?". "Did you hear that? All these weird people with this English accent."

Turn on the TV next morning, 18 people killed last night and it slowly began to sink in, right, every night around 15 or 20 people get it done to them in San Antone, either Mexicans or spades or kids that go out. I mean in '65, I don't know if the locals are still up to it but in '64 they were very into spick hunting. You know, just go across the river on a Friday night and have a night, have a little chiv up.

I mean that's amazing. Why doesn't someone do something about that? That's what I used to think then. You know, that doesn't happen in my home town. It happens, one could find it, you could find it in any town, you could find it in my town, sure. But it wasn't that 18 people were dead the next morning, you know, and one could certainly get one's self chipped about quite easily.

You don't have to go very far to provoke, even in an English town, to get yourself done over, but 15 people dead, you know, 12 people, you know. If I'm exaggerating over the years, 12 people dead or whatever. But regularly every morning! I was there for about four or five days and every morning it was within two or three of 15. They're probably still going on now, man. I bet that morgue makes a fortune.

You going to start working on a new album here?
Yeah, right in me own basement, as it turns out. After months of searching I end up sitting on it.

How long has it been since Sticky Fingers was finished? How long since the band recorded?
We finished – when were the last sessions, man? Was I even there for the last sessions of Sticky Fingers?

And it took over a year, did it?
Well, I mean, stretched out, the songs, one could say it stretched over two years, you know, because "Sister Morphine" comes from '68, although we cut it in early '69. Some songs were written awhile ago.

But Stones albums usually take a long time, don't they?
They've usually taken longer and longer.

Why is that?
Which really pisses me off. Because everybody's laid back a little more and everybody has other things, they do other things now, whereas when it was just a matter of being on the road and recording, that's all you did, you know, and that was it. And obviously you could do things much quicker that way.

But I mean, if we carried on doing it like that, we'd probably be doing it from wheelchairs already. Because you can't carry on at that pace forever. You know, you can do it in spurts, but I mean, even if you're young and a teenager, you get awfully drawn looking.

Do you reckon you could be doing more work than you are? More recording, laying down more tracks? You, personally?
Yeah, but you know, but you can't have weddings of the year and solo albums and you know, I mean, it's great fun.

You going to do a solo album?
No, I'm not going to do one. All I'm going to do is see if I've got enough things left over from Stones things that they don't like that I do, that I might want to put out at some time, but I'm not going to go and make an album.

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