Fresh from The Rolling Stones announcing their UK tour yesterday, Keith Richards spoke to Paul Anthony on this morning’s breakfast show.
Catching up with us from his home in Connecticut, Keith said he can’t wait to perform on home turf in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Cardiff on the No Filter Tour this summer.
“I was really happy to find out we were playing back home,” Keith said. “I didn’t realise it was five years (since Glastonbury and Hyde Park) so it’s time to pick up the thread.”
Admitting that picking setlist songs from The Stones’ vast back catalogue is “like Solomon’s choice”, Keith explained that the band work on the setlist when they get into rehearsals.
“That seems to be the place where everything falls into place and where we try out maybe something we haven’t done for a while and see if we can play around,” he said.
“Also, we like to sort of load up so we’re not just rehearsing, we don’t just rehearse the setlist – we try and play everything we can remember.”
The Rolling Stones © Dave Hogan
Asked by Paul whether they are plotting any warm-up shows in smaller venues, Keith said: “We usually do that, last tour last year in Europe we didn’t, basically (it was due to) a time constriction or something.
“I’m sort of thinking that the guys probably want to do a club show before they hit the big stage. It’s sort of what they usually do and I wouldn’t mind, it would be great. As long as Mick’s up for it, I’m up for it.”
Opening up about the progress of the new Rolling Stones album, which if it sees the light of day in 2018, will be their first record of new material in 13 years, Keith confirmed he’s reconvening in the studio with Mick Jagger this week.
“I would say (the album progress) is something like ‘half way to near the beginning!’ Actually Mick and I are getting together tomorrow in New York for a few days to do a bit more work on it so it’s progressing as I speak.”
Pushed about a release date, Keith responded: “Oh man, it’s a bit early to say yet. Now that the tour’s coming up we probably won’t get into the studio again until later on this year. Christmas, how about that?!"
Reflecting on the songwriting process, Keith said: “In actual fact, there isn’t any strict formula or way songs happen, sometimes they appear out of nowhere, which are the ones we love, and then others start with this one little idea that you think could be fantastic but the rest of the fantastic don’t come y’know, it takes ages. But it’s always fun – you never know with a song when you’re going to bump into it.”
He continued: “We did our bit in the sixties with the 45’s when (the record label) are knocking on the door every two months saying ‘where’s the follow-up?!’
“That was when you were really sweating it. It’s nice to have the time although sometimes it’s good to have a bit of pressure on rather than sort of an endless… I like to pretend there’s a deadline even if there ain’t!”
Asked about what it was like to win a Grammy Award (Best Traditional Blues Album) for ‘Blue & Lonesome’ last month, Keith said: “Yeah that was a surprise actually but always pleasantly received.
“Yeah, as an album I was really happy to get that out. It’s sort of an album that we could have done any time in the last 50 years but for some reason didn’t. It reared its head and said ‘let’s go!’ So yeah, I was very happy with it. I wouldn’t mind doing a (‘Blue & Lonesome’) part two.”
With all four Rolling Stones members now septuagenarians, Paul ended by asking Keith if they will ever retire.
“The idea has never really occurred (to me),” Keith explained. “This is a band, if somebody said ‘that’s it’ I guess. We’re not all sitting here saying ‘I dare you to leave’ or anything like that. It’s what we do man – we enjoy doing it and there’s thousands of people out there and they enjoy it too. You can’t be a party pooper, right?!”
You can listen to the full interview with Keith below where he also speaks about what awards mean to most to him, whether he will be making more movie cameos like Pirates of the Caribbean, performing at the home of Manchester United, the stage set up on the No Filter tour and more.
Tickets to The Rolling Stones tour go on sale from Planet Rock Tickets at 9am on Friday 2nd March. See them at the following shows:
London Stadium – Tue 22nd
Manchester Old Trafford Football Stadium – Tue 5th
Edinburgh BT Murrayfield Stadium – Sat 9th
Cardiff Principality Stadium – Fri 15th
London Twickenham Stadium – Tue 19th