After months of speculation whether the Rolling Stones would record this year to mark their 50th anniversary, the band spent time in a Paris recording studio last week. The band was photographed exiting an unnamed studio on August 21st. Two days, later, Jagger tweeted a photo of himself in a studio surrounded by some very Stonesy items: cases of Fender amps, Telecasters, Stratocasters and several harmonicas. "Had fun in the Paris studio this week!" he wrote.
Last week, the Stones also posted a cryptic image of animal eyes on their Facebook page, instructing fans to download the free "uView" app and point their phones at the screen. The eyes came to life and an animal growled while "Start Me Up" played.
It's at least the third time the band has gathered in recent months; they rehearsed in the New York area in late April. "We played everything, really," Keith Richards told Rolling Stone then. "We're just getting our chops together. It was like playing in the garage, a maintenance check, you know?"
The last day of the rehearsals was filmed by director Brett Morgen for a documentary chronicling the band's history to appear on HBO this fall. "Someone would mention a song, and within the second run they had nailed it," Morgen says. "Having screened through 50 years of material over the last six months, I would rank it up there with anything I've ever heard from them. They were extremely tight."
The band also gathered in London in July to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a photo exhibit. Before that meeting, Keith Richards told Rolling Stone the band would also use the time to discuss recording. "I'd love to get some tracks down and see what songs we've got. And that goes along with part of getting the band back together and getting things moving. So I'd love to cut some tracks, yeah." Asked if he saw himself writing one-on-one with Jagger again, Richards replied, "I have no doubt."
If the band is recording new material, it would be their first new songs since 2005's A Bigger Bang. (They've since brushed up a few old songs for 2010's Exile on Main Street and 2011's Some Girls reissue compilations).
Shows are on the horizon too. In July, Jagger surprised fans by mentioning in an interview with the London Evening Standard that the band would be playing live "in the autumn . . . You will definitely be seeing us all together soon. It's been great fun being back together and there are a lot of memories in here. I can't believe it's been 50 years. We've been hanging out together, seeing quite a bit of each other and we want to do some gigs."