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Keith Richard: The Rolling Stone Interview

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And the three of you get on? Are you the closest people for each other?
We were really a team. But there was always something between Brian, Mick and myself that didn't quite make it somewhere. Always something. I've often thought, tried to figure it out. It was in Brian, somewhere; there was something . . . he still felt alone somewhere . . . he was either completely into Mick at the expense of me, like nickin' my bread to go and have a drink. Like when I was zonked out, takin' the only pound I had in me pocket. He'd do something like that. Or he'd be completely in with me tryin' to work something against Mick. Brian was a very weird cat. He was a little insecure. He wouldn't be able to make it with two other guys at one time and really get along well.

The Greatest Rock Feuds Of All Time

I don't think it was a sexual thing. He was always so open with his chicks . . . It was something else I've never been able to figure out. You can read Jung. I still can't figure it out. Maybe it was in the stars. He was a Pisces. I don't know. I'm Sag and Mick's a Leo. Maybe those three can't ever connect completely all together at the same time for very long. There were periods when we had a ball together.

As we became more and more well-known and eventually grew into that giant sort of thing, that in Brian also became blown up until it became very difficult to work with and very difficult for him to be with us. Mick and I were more and more put together because we wrote together and Brian would – become uptight about that because he couldn't write. He couldn't even ask if he could come and try to write something with us. Where earlier on Brian and I would sit for hours trying to write songs and say, "Aw fuck it, we can't write songs."

It worked both ways. When we played, it gave Brian . . . man, when he wanted to play, he could play his ass off, that cat. To get him to do it, especially later on, was another thing. In the studio, for instance, to try and get Brian to play was such a hassle that eventually on a lot of those records that people think are the Stones, it's me overdubbing three guitars and Brian zonked out on the floor.

It became very difficult because we were working non-stop . . . I'm skipping a lot of time now . . . when we were doing those American tours in '64, '65, '66. When things were getting really difficult. Brian would go out and meet a lot of people, before we did, because Mick and I spent most of our time writing. He'd go out and get high somewhere, get smashed. We'd say, "Look, we got a session tomorrow, man, got to keep it together." He'd come, completely out of his head, and zonk out on the floor with his guitar over him. So we started overdubbing, which was a drag cause it meant the whole band wasn't playing.

Can you tell me about Oldham?
Andrew had the opportunity. He didn't have the talent, really. He didn't have the talent for what he wanted to be. He could hustle people and there's nothing wrong with hustling . . . it still has to be done to get through. You need someone who can talk for you. But he's got to be straight with you too.

Was he in the business before the Stones?
Yeah, he was with the Beatles. He helped kick them off in London. Epstein hired him and he did a very good job for them. One doesn't know how much of a job was needed, but he managed to get them a lot of space in the press when "Love Me Do" came out and was like number nine in the charts and the kids were turning on to them and it was obvious they were going to be big, big, because they were only third on the bill and yet they were tearing the house down every night. A lot of it was down to Andrew. He got them known. And he did the same gig for us. He did it. Except he was more involved with us. He was working for us.

He had a genius for getting things through the media. Before people really knew what media was, to get messages through without people knowing.

Anita: But Brian, he never got on with Andrew.

Keith: Never. I've seen Brian and Andrew really pissed hanging all over each other but really basically there was no chemistry between them. They just didn't get on. There was a time when Mick and I got on really well with Andrew. We went through the whole Clockwork Orange thing. We went through that whole trip together. Very sort of butch number. Ridin' around with that mad criminal chauffeur of his.

Epstein and Oldham did a thing on the media in England that's made it easier for millions of people since and for lots of musicians. It's down to people like those that you can get on a record now. They blew that scene wide open, that EMI-Decca stranglehold. EMI is still the biggest record company in the whole fucking world despite being an English company. They can distribute in Hong Kong. They have it sewn up in the Philippines and Australia and everywhere. No matter who you go through, somewhere in the world, EMI is dealing your records. It's a network left over from the colonial days and they've kept hold of it.

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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