Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards have confirmed that the band has several plans to celebrate the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary in 2012. They just haven’t decided yet which plans they will end up doing.
Here is what Jagger and Richards told the Associated Press about the anniversary plans, as well as the 2011 remastered reissue of the Rolling Stones’ 1978 album “Some Girls”:
Next year, the band will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and there’s a great deal of speculation as to whether the band will tour for their milestone.
“I’m hoping to do something about it. Right now, I don’t want to go too much into it. I’m pulling the boys together and (will) see what happens. It’s a work in progress. I’m not Nostradamus on this, but we all want to do something for the big 5-0,” Richards said.
All Jagger would say is that “we have a lot of things planned, who knows what will come to fruition.”
According to Richards, he and Jagger recently mended fences after Richards revealed too much about his songwriting partner in his autobiography earlier this year.
“He’s a brother, a best friend, and probably the most contentious person I know. All collaborations are like that. Nothing goes totally smoothly, but we always patch it up. We patched it up now. The thing is we enjoy working with each other; it’s the idea of it that’s frightening,” Richards laughed.
The duo has written most of the Rolling Stones music, and though Jagger usually sings them, Richards does have his signature tracks. Among them is “Before They Make Me Run” from “Some Girls”; it has become one of his favorite songs to perform.
“It’s pretty autobiographical. … I was feeling a little hounded, so I think it came out of feeling that. I was on the run, basically. Very few countries would accept me at the time,” said Richards, who was facing a potentially long prison sentence at the time because of a heroin possession charge in Toronto.
Other major hits from the album include, “Shattered,” the Temptations cover of “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” and “Beast of Burden.”
While Richards said the unreleased music was ready to go, Jagger did say he tinkered with the remixes.
“‘Claudine’ and ‘Tallahassee Lassie’ were all more or less as (they) were. I just listened and said, ‘Do they need a bit of percussion or a harmony vocal?,’ but apart from that they’re fine,” Jagger said.
As previously reported, Richards told RollingStone.com in a November 2011 interview that he, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood were going to meet up for a jam session, and that Jagger was invited but not confirmed to attend:
“We’re just going to play a little together, because we haven’t played for three or four years,” Richards says. “You don’t necessarily want to rehearse or write anything – you just want to touch bases. That’s a good start: me, Charlie and Ronnie. Mick’s welcome, and I’m sure he’ll turn up, but right now we just want to get our chops down.”
November 23, 2011 update: RollingStone.com has published more quotes from Jagger and Richards about the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary plans:
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will meet in December to decide how the Rolling Stones will celebrate next year’s 50th anniversary, according to a top tour-industry source. “I don’t see why in the world the Stones can’t put together some kind of show next year,” says Richards. “I’d almost count on it. It doesn’t have to be the whole spectacle bullshit again, but we’ve got to find our own way through this.”
“It is quite amazing when you think about it,” Jagger adds. “Anything’s possible.”
A top source tells Rolling Stone that AEG Live, Live Nation and veteran Stones promoter Michael Cohl have already reached out about acquiring the band’s anniversary tour, which has the potential to be the biggest of all time. “It would be a total home run,” says the source.
The rock world is paying attention: “The Stones are iconic figures in Western society,” says Sting. “I hope they’ll stop bickering. I’d like to see them doing what they do.” Adds Joe Perry, “I would love to see them just go and do arenas and have it be as stripped-down as possible, the way they did on the Exile tour – where they had the horn section and Ian Stewart playing keyboards. As close as they could get to that would be great.”
Following a band meeting in September at the Stones’ London office, Richards, guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts were set to convene in November to jam in London. “I would suggest a lot of blues in the beginning,” says Richards. “That’s where the band’s roots are. We’ll start playing some Jimmy Reed stuff and some Muddy Waters stuff and then things will blossom from there. It might bore Mick to death – and that’s the idea. We’re just going to go, and you start from Day One. You’ve got the drums and a couple of guitars and you start hammering away.
“Mick is welcome,” Richards adds. “I’m sure he’ll turn up.”
Richards’ nasty, gossip-packed 2010 memoir, Life, painted an unrelentingly negative portrait of Jagger and his contributions to the Stones – straining the duo’s relationship. “I think there’s a healing process waiting to take place,” Wood says. “I think it’s happening now as we speak, but it has to be resolved. Something has to be resolved there. They have to come to terms with going on a working basis, which Charlie and I will help make happen. Wish me luck.”
“That old healing process,” says Stones saxophone player Bobby Keys with a laugh. “Boy, that is an ongoing process. But last time I was onstage with them, there was no blood lost. They always seem to work it out.” Adds longtime friend Peter Wolf, “If one looks at the history of great collaborations, Gilbert and Sullivan didn’t always have a good time at it, either. But once they choose to get together to work, that is usually the great healer.”
Richards says he’s up for another massive world stadium and arena run like 2005’s Bigger Bang tour, but isn’t sure Jagger wants to make such a large commitment. “I don’t know about that,” Richards says. “I don’t think Mick would. We’d like to be ready to be able to do it if the idea starts to happen. I’d even invite Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor back in. Why not? It’s 50 years. Everyone deserves a party.”
Adds Jagger, “That’d be very complete if it all happened.”
For its 40th anniversary in 2002, the band launched the massive Licks Tour, playing stadiums, arenas and small venues (sometimes all in the same city) and releasing a career retrospective with new songs. But this time around, there is no sign of new material. “I’m not writing for them right now,” says Richards, who has been working on a solo project “reminiscent of early Chess records.” “I’m cutting my own stuff with [producer and drummer] Steve Jordan,” he says. “There’s no point in writing for the Stones until I know that Mick Jagger’s in. He could have every song I’ve ever written. They’re all for him. If he doesn’t like them – or if he poo-poos them – I take them somewhere else.” Adds Wood, “I think we have so much back catalog that we would go out without new material, but then again one of the boys might go, ‘No, I wouldn’t dream of going out unless we have new material. I don’t mind, really.'”