The waiter brought the wine. "I hate to talk about what we're doing anymore. Like the union in America is giving us such a hassle. The only way they find out what we're doing is through Rolling Stone. I'll have to ask your co-operation. I mean, we can't record in America. They've sent us warning letters and all that. They've never done that to anyone else. Last time we were there they tried to fine Leon Russell $5000 for writing an arrangement for us. Legally, English bands aren't supposed to record there, but they all do."
The American tour then?
"Yeah, we've had hundreds of ideas on how to do this tour. Like we were thinking of doing it in a caravan. In coaches and do all sorts of places we wouldn't normally get to. Like... the South. Or just go by by for the first ten days to get it all together. Some areas. You can't cover the entire country in a Greyhound bus, not with a big show, you're just wasting your time. Somebody gets stuck in a restaurant and that's a draag.
"Or we thought of getting a regular back-up band. That's an old spade tradition. Say, keyboards, brass and chicks. Nine pieces maybe, so we can have four other singers as well as using the brass and chicks yourself. The Stones have already been in touch with the Memphis Horns. And there are four other singers who are really good. I like Stevie Wonder very much. I've always admired him. But, I don't know. Whether it's right or wrong, he's always playing in clubs. Well, not clubs, but . . . niteries. You know? Or there could be one or two people who've never been seen by white audiences. You could take Little Milton and Bobby Bland. Plus there could be some younger people as well. Get a nicely balanced show."
But where do the Stones play?
"In most towns there's a large ballroom which holds 5-6,000. Which I consider a large ballroom. Either we're going to play in a club with 500 people and actually play or we're going to play really big crowds. Playing to 5000 is really nonsensical; it's not intimate. I mean, the best I've ever played has been in a club, but I haven't done that in ages. So I really don't know what to do anymore, I've forgotten. I got into the thing very early on in how to play the big halls and I know how to do it. It's very exaggerated. Like, before public address-systems, politicians used to make very exaggerated gestures.
"We'll tour Japan before America. The Zeppelin were just there. I'm relying on them to tell me what to do, what not to do. [Snorts.] It's the only place in the world we haven't been. The only Record Market, as they say. Whatever that means. They got good amps there. I should imagine. Not to mention chicks in the bathhouses. It's a good excuse for me to stay around."
The waiter brought some more red wine, plus the bill. And L'Hotel is expensive. You know the kind of joint: $20 breakfasts and that. Thinking of money, how's Allen Klein?
"We tried to be nice about it, and friendly, for about a year now, 18 months. I mean, I really hate lawsuits, but he won't ... y'know. He was supposed to pay me a certain amount of money per annum and he hasn't for years. I mean, you can't go on asking people, so eventually we had to do it like this. It's not big business, it's just that I don't have much money. Really. In actual fact. He just got us into a terrific mesh and he's not a very nice person. I don't think he's genuine. Who cares? Allen Klein can jump in the East River for all I care, but he does owe me some money.
"Who cares? This new album is fucking mad. There's so many different tracks. It's very rock 'n' roll, y'know. I didn't want it to be like that. I'm the more experimental person in the group, you see I like to experiment. Not go over the same thing over and over. Since I've left England, I've had this thing I've wanted to do. I'm not against rock 'n' roll, but I really want to experiment."
"Well that's the obvious thing to do, but I don't know if that's more valid than anything else. The real experiment is what you want to say. You can express a very freaky or experimental idea in a boring, oft-repeated idea within an experimental framework. I can go Blllleee-oomblom, plug in the old synthesizer, but that's a mite trite. That might be 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On.' Then y'see, you could have a whole new form.
"The new album's very rock 'n' roll and it's good. I think rock 'n' roll is getting a bit . . . I mean, I'm very bored with rock 'n' roll. The revival. Everyone knows what their roots are, but you've got to explore everywhere. You've got to explore the sky too."
This story is from the October 28th, 1971 issue of Rolling Stone.
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