Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rolling Stones update with Charlie Watts

“We'll go on the road when Keith's bored”
- Charlie Watts on the Rolling Stones’ touring status

The legendary concert film, "Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones,” sees its DVD release next Tuesday (October 12), following screenings in theatres around the world last month (see original story here).

Filmed in Texas during the "Exile on Main Street" tour in 1972, “Ladies” was released in cinemas for limited engagements in 1974 and has remained largely unseen since. Billed as one of the finest Rolling Stones concerts ever captured on film, the show features performances of classic tracks from the late sixties and early seventies.

“I'd forgotten completely about it and I still don't remember much,” Stones drummer Charlie Watts tells Billboard. “Anyway, it's a good period for us, the Mick Taylor period. A golden era, really, for the Rolling Stones. He's wonderful live, and he had some good songs to play with.”

With the band’s busy work schedule through the years, Watts can be forgiven if his memory is not what people would expect. “I kept trying to explain to a guy interviewing me that being in the Rolling Stones is one thing, but looking at it from the outside ... I've never done it, never had the interest or inclination,” said Charlie. “But being in it is wonderful. People look at you aghast and say, ‘Don't you remember?’ whatever it is, and you think, ‘No, I don't, because we were playing somewhere else the next day.’"

On the ’72 tour, the Stones had a double album’s worth of new material to choose from for the setlist, but it’s never easy mixing new stuff when people expect the hits. “We have a bit of a problem with touring,” says Watts, “because we always think, ‘Oh, make this one totally different,’ but of course you do have to play "Satisfaction." You don't have to, and you can (leave) it out, but generally people would love to hear it. I mean, would you really want the Stones to go onstage and quietly sit down on stools? I don't know if you would. We haven't built up an audience like that. We are what we are, a rock 'n' roll band. I love it, but it's difficult to get out of that.”

The drummer was pleased with this year’s “Exile” reissue, despite managing his own expectations going into the project. “Oh, I loved it when they said, ‘You're No. 1 (in the United Kingdom)’, Charlie continued. “Mick (Jagger) and I thought it was going to be about 10 50-year-olds buying this thing. It's amazing, really, and the documentary (“Stones In Exile”) was OK; I thought they did a very good job. Mick as well, he did a lot of work on that.”

Keith Richards’ autobiography, “Life” is due out October 26, but Charlie has no plans to check it out. “I hope he's said nice things about everyone, but it's his take on it. It's not meant for me, it's meant for other people to read it. I know Keith, I love him, and he's whatever he is to me. But I hope it's all right for him -- it sells and all that. He's been writing this thing since the middle of the last tour.”

What about touring or recording plans for the Stones? “Well, it's always been "next year" -- it's been like that for two years,” maintains Watts. “We'll go on the road when Keith's bored, when his book's out of the way and he's bored, and Ronnie (Wood's) bored. At the moment, they're both not bored. Bored enough, I mean. So I think that will happen. How long and how we do it will be another thing. It takes a lot of thought, an awful lot, and it usually takes a lot of time.”

The The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice

Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones – Happy
Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones