Keith Richards: The 'Fresh Air' Interview
DAVE DAVIES, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards, has a new album called “Crosseyed Heart,” his first solo release in more than 20 years. He’s also the subject of a new documentary called “Under The Influence” which premieres today on Netflix. We’re going to listen to Terry’s interview with Richards recorded when he’d published his autobiography. As you’d expect, there are plenty of details about excess and drugs, but it’s also filled with stories about growing up in post-war England, discovering the blues, songwriting, forming The Rolling Stones, being targeted by police who saw the Stones as a bad influence on youth, becoming mega-stars, playing stadiums, kicking heroin, his sometimes rocky relationship with Mick Jagger, getting older, and so on. Richards co-wrote much of the Stones’ repertoire with Jagger including “Satisfaction,” “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” "Get Off Of My Cloud," “Give Me Shelter," "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Beast Of Burden." Before we listen to that interview, let’s hear a track from Richard’s new album, “Crosseyed Heart.” This is called “Trouble.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TROUBLE”)
KEITH RICHARDS: (Singing) Just because you find yourself off the streets again, that don’t mean that I can help you or I ain’t your friend. Baby, trouble is your middle name. Your trouble is that that’s your game. Now you’re out of circulation, out of reach and out of touch. Let me keep you in the loop, though I can’t tell you much. Baby, trouble is your middle name. The trouble is that that’s your game.
DAVIES: Terry spoke with Richards in 2010 about his autobiography called “Life.”
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
TERRY GROSS, HOST:
You have a great story in your book about how you co-wrote, well, how you got "Satisfaction" started. You co-wrote the song with Mick Jagger, but you originated it, and you didn't know you were doing it. Can you...
RICHARDS: I wish all the songs could come this way, you know, where you just dream them, and then the next morning, there they are, presented to you. But "Satisfaction" was that sort of miracle that took place. I had a - I had one of the first little cassette players, you know, Norelco, Philips, same thing, really. But it was a fascinating little machine to me, a cassette player that you could actually just lay ideas down and, you know, wherever you were.
I set the machine up, and I put in a fresh tape. I go to bed as usual with my guitar, and I wake up the next morning, I see that the tape is run to the very end. And I think, well, I didn't do anything, you know? I said, maybe I hit a button while I was asleep, you know? So I put it back to the beginning and pushed play and there, in some sort of ghostly version, is (singing) da, da, da, da, da - I can't get no satisfaction.
And so there was a whole verse of it. I won't bore you with it all. But - and after that, there's, you know, 40 minutes of me snoring.
RICHARDS: But there's the song in its embryo, and I actually dreamt the damned thing, you know? I mean, I’m still waiting for another dream.
GROSS: OK, so you bring this germ of a song, basically the first verse, to Mick Jagger, and then you flesh it out into a more complete song. What's the process between you and him in making a full song out of what came to you?
RICHARDS: Well, at least in those days, and pretty much throughout the whole thing, is I'll come up with a riff, the idea, and maybe the subject matter, the type. And then I'd go on to write the next one, and Mick will flesh out and finish it off and make it into a real song.
I come up with ideas. Mick turns it into a finished product, you know? And we were working so hard in those days that you couldn't write them fast enough. So any idea - I came, I'd shove it to Mick, and Mick would work on that, and I'd have another idea with a little luck.
GROSS: Now, how did the line I can't get no satisfaction come to you at a time when you should've been having a lot of very satisfying, gratifying moments?
RICHARDS: (Laughter) Darling, I don't know. I dreamt it.
GROSS: No, true, OK.
RICHARDS: I mean, nobody's ever satisfied, right? And it was just a phrase that obviously, you know, was buzzing through the mind. And whether you could express anything or enlarge on that idea of - because otherwise, I can't get any satisfaction is kind of, you know, sort of moaning.
But if you - then you can take it and expand it, which Mick did brilliantly. You know, there it is. I mean, these things are all made out of just little sparks of ideas that come to you, and you're lucky to be around to grab them. And that's kind of basically the process of how we work.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “SATISFACTION”)
THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) I can’t get no satisfaction. I can’t get no satisfaction. ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try. I can't get no, I can't get no.
When I'm driving in my car and that man comes on the radio and he's telling me more and more about some useless information, supposed to fire my imagination, I can't get no, oh no, no, no, hey, hey, hey, that's what I say.
GROSS: That's The Rolling Stones, and my guest is Keith Richards, and he's written his autobiography. It's called "Life." Now, that cassette that you mentioned, that you used to write down the idea for "Satisfaction" in the middle of the night that so surprised you when you played it back in the morning, that cassette or one just like it was also really helpful to you in coming up with a kind of transformative guitar sound.
Would you describe how you would plug your acoustic guitar in motel rooms into a cassette machine?
RICHARDS: I'll try. Yes, no, it’s a good question. You know, I'll try because there I am; I now have my hands on the best amplifiers in the world and the best guitars. But I'm trying to translate another sound in my head that I can't find through conventional means.
I was, at the time, I was finding - I always play a lot of acoustic guitar, and the cassette machine gave - in those days, before they had things on them called governors, which means that you could not overload the machinery, I would just shove the acoustic guitar and use basically, I would use the cassette player as an amplifier, basically, and overload the acoustic guitar so it becomes an electric guitar.
But at the same time, you see, you still have that feel of an acoustic, which is totally different to an electric. So I'm – and I’m still looking for the perfect example of this, but I'm going to keep going now.
GROSS: So what you would get is like an electrified acoustic guitar that was also distorted?
RICHARDS: Yeah, exactly. You've got it, Terry. You've got it. That's it. I was trying to get the quality and the touch that you can get from an acoustic guitar and then overload it and make it sound like an electric guitar.
But at the same time, you have that original acoustic touch because, you know, this gets complicated because guitars are strange animals (laughter). But there's a touch that you can get off an acoustic guitar that you'll never get off an electric.
And so I was trying to figure how to electrify the acoustic feel and still translate it, and so that was the name of the game. That was it.
GROSS: Now, it was surprising enough to me to read how you did this in your motel room, but then reading how you did it also in the recording studio was fascinating, that you wanted that sound so much that you brought in the cassette machine and plugged your acoustic guitar into it.
RICHARDS: Yes, I mean, I took these ideas, and the Stones were in the studio, and we were all looking at it and saying, It doesn't have what you had on the, you know, on the original idea.
And so finally, after many attempts to try and reproduce this sort of idea, you know, with amplifiers and, you know, conventionally, I think it was Charlie Watts, maybe. Let's go back, you know, to how you did it in the first place and work it from there, you know, which is why you've got "Street Fighting Man" and "Jumpin' Jack Flashes." There are no electric guitars at all. It's just overloaded acoustics.
I don't know. I like that denseness of color, of feel that you can get out of that. And it's an experiment I might take up again once they start making cassette machines again.
GROSS: So do you think "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a good illustration of what you were doing?
RICHARDS: Yeah, yeah, and "Street Fighting Man" is probably another great example of it.
GROSS: Which one would you rather hear?
RICHARDS: I love them both, honey. Don't ask me to cut the babies in half.
GROSS: All right. So we'll go with "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
RICHARDS: Yeah, go there. All right, yeah (laughter).
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH”)
THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) I was born in a cross-fire hurricane, and I howled at my ma in the driving rain. But it's all right now. In fact it's a gas. But it's all right. I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash; it's a gas, gas, gas.
I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag. I was schooled with a strap right across my back. But it's all right now. In fact, it's a gas. But it's all right, I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas.
DAVIES: We’ll hear more of Terry’s 2010 interview with Keith Richards after a break. This is FRESH AIR.
DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. Let’s get back to Terry’s interview with Keith Richards recorded in 2010 when he’d published his autobiography.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
GROSS: Since you were so into rhythm and blues when you were in your early teens and in your teens, I found it so interesting that you learned to sing in a school choir and that you were taunted for being in the choir. What did you like about the choir, and what did you learn from being in it?
RICHARDS: It was just a way to get out of chemistry and physics.
RICHARDS: And I had a soprano that worked. But really, it was just about music, and it was - joining the choir, at least you got to, you know, hang around with guys that liked to sing and liked music. And I had a great choir master who was very severe but same sort of taught you a lot about, you know, how to hold your notes and when to let them go (laughter).
GROSS: Now, I remember when the Stones started to record that in America, we were expected to pick a team, who do you like best, The Stones or The Beatles?
RICHARDS: That competition thing, yeah.
GROSS: Yeah, and you write about, you know, when the Stones started getting going, that you didn't want to copy The Beatles, and you decided to be the anti-Beatles. So what did that mean in terms of your music and your image?
RICHARDS: You know, I think if you're talking image-wise, we probably did make a sort of decision to not be The Fab Four. They were different - basically differences between the bands.
The Beatles were basically a vocal band. You know, they all sang, and one song, John would take the lead, another Paul, another George, and sometimes Ringo, right?
But our band set up totally differently with one front-man, one lead singer, right? And what I loved about it was there's an incredible difference in that way between the Beatles and ourselves. But at the same time, we were there at the same time and, you know, you're dealing with each other, you know?
And it was a very, very fruitful and great relationship between The Stones and The Beatles. It was very, very friendly. The competition thing didn't come into it as far as we were concerned.
GROSS: Now, you say your manager of the time, Andrew Loog Oldham...
RICHARDS: Oldham, yeah.
GROSS: …Played the competition, played the difference between The Stones and The Beatles to the hilt. What did he do to try to emphasize what was different about The Stones?
RICHARDS: I don't know. He had worked with the Beatles in a PR capacity, and he had a falling-out with Brian Epstein, who was The Beatles' manager. And I guess what Andrew thought was that they - The Beatles can't be the only four guys in England, or four or five or whatever, you know, that there's other things out there.
And he'd heard about us, came by, and realized that here was a room to maneuver, that we're not trying to compete with The Beatles. We just want to make records.
And at the same time, he saw how from the image point of view, and how to present The Stones, was to be not The Fab Four, you know. We forget, you know, the neat haircuts and the suits and stuff ‘cause, well, quite honestly, Andrew found out there's no way you're going to get The Stones into suits for very long. You know, we'd sell them (laughter).
GROSS: Your first album was mostly covers of rhythm and blues songs. And you say that your manager of the time, Andrew Oldham, wanted The Stones to write more originals. So he basically locked you in a room and had you start writing.
RICHARDS: True (laughter).
GROSS: And the first song you co-wrote during this episode was "As Tears Go By," which Marianne Faithfull had a big hit of. But you say you couldn't have given it to The Stones. They would have laughed you or thrown you out of the room. Why? Why did he think - I love that Marianne Faithfull recording. Why do you think…
RICHARDS: Well, I do too.
GROSS: Do you think it's a bad song or just the wrong song…
RICHARDS: No, I just think…
GROSS: …at the wrong time for The Stones?
RICHARDS: I'll tell you what - I think that when you're just starting to write songs, but you have a band, you know, it'll take you a while to figure out how to write for that band. And - so first off, we had to write just a song, one song. Hey, we want - Mick and I wanted to get out of that kitchen. We'd have come up with anything, you know (laughter). But we worked, and we came out with "As Tears Go By."
And because Marianne did it, and it did very well, it gave Mick and myself a confidence that, well, at least we can write songs. And then the next step is is can we write songs for The Rolling Stones? Can we actually walk into the room with the guys and say, let's try this on for size? And it took us a while to get there. Meanwhile, we were learning our game and cutting our chops, you know.
DAVIES: Keith Richards speaking with Terry Gross in 2010. Richards has a new solo album called “Crosseyed Heart.” After a break, he’ll talk about what it was like being mobbed by teenage girls and about his relationship with Mick Jagger. I’m Dave Davies and this is FRESH AIR.
DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. We’re listening to Terry’s interview with Keith Richards, guitarist of The Rolling Stones who wrote most of the band’s song along with Mick Jagger. Richards has a new album called “Crosseyed Heart,” his first solo release in more than 20 years. He’s also the subject of a new documentary called “Under The Influence” which premiered last night at the Toronto International Film Festival and is available today on Netflix. Terry spoke with Richards in 2010 when his autobiography called “Life” was published.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
GROSS: So The Rolling Stones become global stars, and as you become global stars, you write about how you go to concerts and girls are throwing their underwear and themselves at you. And you say (reading) armies of feral, body-snatching girls began to emerge in big numbers about halfway through a first U.K. tour in the fall of ‘63. The power of teenage females of 13, 14, 15, when they’re in a gang, has never left me. They nearly killed me. If they get their hands on you, though, they don't know what to do with you (laughter) so…
RICHARDS: It's true (laughter).
GROSS: Would you describe one of those experiences for us, what it was like for you early on when that started to happening?
RICHARDS: I suppose the most graphic is trying to leave a theater in, I think it was in the north of England, somewhere up in the north, and they’d brought the cops out to kind of control the crowd, which was consisted of basically just young teenage girls, you know. Everybody rushes through - the whole band, they get through, they get in the car. I'm the last one out of the stage door. And silly me, I was wearing, you know, a kind of chain around my neck, and some chick from the left got hold of one side and some chick from the right got the other side. And to cut a long story short, quite honestly, I woke up in the garbage can and to see The Stones' car without - minus a door, zooming off in the horizon and I'm just left lying there with a, you know, maybe a half a shirt and a shoe. And things like that happened to me every day. It’s crazy.
GROSS: Then there are the songs that you describe as anti-girl songs that The Stones did like “Stupid Girl,” “Under My Thumb,” “Out Of Time,” “Yesterday's Papers.” And this is where I've been so ambivalent about some of the songs - Stones' songs like “Under My Thumb.” “Under My Thumb” is so catchy. I mean, I think it's just like irresistibly irresistible what's going on like melodically and rhythmically in there. And then, you know, I catch myself singing along, and what am I singing? You know, like, about this girl who’s like under his thumb…
RICHARDS: You know, it's got - it's...
GROSS: And so, anyways, were you ever ambivalent…
RICHARDS: Let me try and break in here, Terry.
GROSS: Go ahead, thank you.
RICHARDS: Let me break in here and say…
RICHARDS: ...you can take it as, you know, male-female, like, or it's just people. I mean, it could be about a guy. It could’ve been, you know, this is just a guy singing, you know, that probably you’re actually under her thumb and you're just trying to fight back. You know, and these are all sort of relationships and stuff. And I wouldn't take it as any sexism. I can't even go there, you know, ‘cause I don't think about it. I just think, you know, we know what some people are like and then those things happen. And anyway, I didn't write the lyrics.
GROSS: Cut to the chase.
GROSS: Off the hook (laughter).
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “UNDER MY THUMB”)
THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Under my thumb, the girl who once had me down. Under my thumb, the girl who once pushed me around. It's down to me, the difference in the clothes she wears, down to me. The change has come. She's under my thumb. And ain't it the truth, babe? Under my thumb is the squirming dog who's just had her day. Under my thumb, a girl who has just changed her ways. It's down to me, yes it is, the way she does just what she's told. Down to me, the change has come. She's under my thumb. Say it's all right. Under my thumb, a Siamese cat of a girl. Under my thumb, she’s the sweetest pet in the world. It’s down to me, the way she talks when she’s spoken to. Down to me, the change has come, she’s under my thumb. Take it easy, babe, yeah.
GROSS: Let's talk just a little bit about Altamont, which was the music festival in which - at the Altamont Raceway in California...
GROSS: ...which one man was stabbed to death and three others died accidentally. This was a free concert and you describe how you'd asked the Grateful Dead - by you I mean The Rolling Stones - had asked the Grateful Dead to help organize it because they had a lot of experience with free concerts and...
GROSS: ...the permits that you'd expected to get for Golden Gate Park and another place or two fell through and by that time, Altamont was the only place available.
RICHARDS: That was it.
GROSS: So when you were on stage there, at what point did you know things were really taking a bad turn and that this wasn't like a Woodstock concert, this was - there were some really nasty things happening in the audience?
RICHARDS: There was the potential for nasty things, and nasty things did happen. From my point of view, I was amazed that that was all that happened. The man who got - he was asking for trouble. And you have The Hells Angels there. Basically from my point of view, I'd say I realized this thing was getting dodgy just by looking at The Angels.
GROSS: Who were hired to do the security - I think I might have neglected to mention that.
RICHARDS: Yeah, so, like, you know, the, yeah, the Grateful Dead's guys and they said, oh, no problem. You know, these guys, we work with them and blah, blah. And we say, OK, we just want to know how to do it. We just want to throw a free one, you know? Also, a unique time for America, in 1969, that when - there were no cops around. There were - it was all right, just go off and do what you want to do, you know. They didn’t - there was no, in other words, control except what people could exert themselves. I think you throw a show. You say, hey, I want it to be free; everybody come. Then it's up to everybody else how they conduct themselves. And it was a very, very weird feeling in the middle of nowhere. You know, Altamont is basically, you know, Mars (laughter). And there's nobody else to turn to accept who, The Hells Angels? I'm not going to turn to them; they’re all on acid and Thunderbird wine.
GROSS: Did you decide at that point what would be the best song to play to quiet things down as opposed to amp things up?
RICHARDS: Well, I don’t know whether it was the right song to play, but I think we went into "Sympathy For The Devil."
GROSS: That's what I thought, yeah (laughter).
RICHARDS: But, yeah. But I think we just wanted something with a rhythm, just yeah, it didn’t really - by then, nobody could hear what anybody was singing or saying or anything. It was just like...
(SOUNDBITE OF CLAP)
RICHARDS: ...hey, you know when there’s a fight in a barroom and the band stops and then, you know, some stuff goes down and they're like...
(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)
RICHARDS: ...play some music, whatever it is, we don't give a damn. Just play, you know, just divert attention.
DAVIES: We’ll hear more of Terry’s 2010 interview with Keith Richards after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.
DAVIES: This is Fresh air. Let’s get back to Terry’s interview with Keith Richards recorded in 2010 when he published his autobiography called “Life.”
GROSS: Let me ask you about your relationship with Mick Jagger. You grew up in the same neighborhood, you’ve known him since you were a boy. You were obviously very close for a long period of time, co-wrote so many songs together. But at the same time, you write about how and...
RICHARDS: Hey, there’s problems down the road, yeah.
GROSS: Yeah, about how in the beginning of the ‘80s...
RICHARDS: Let me preempt you (laughter).
GROSS: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
RICHARDS: You know, I mean, do you think in a 50-year relationship doing this stuff that there's not going to be some conflict, some disagreements? Of course there's going to be…
GROSS: But you describe him as having become unbearable in the early '80s. What...
RICHARDS: At times, yes. So am I.
GROSS: What made him unbearable in those times?
RICHARDS: Attitude. You know, and - it’s all in the book, and I don't want to expand on it with you, Terry. What I’ve said is in the book. I, you know, I can't say anything more than that.
GROSS: But let me quote something…
RICHARDS: I don’t wish to.
GROSS: Let me quote something that you say in the book and this was - you write how, you know, in the early '80s, this is right after you had kicked heroin, and you said, (reading) Mick seemed to like one side of me being a junkie, the one that kept me from interfering in day-to-day business. And you say that after you kicked, you wanted a more active say in what the band did. But apparently, Mick Jagger didn't really want you to have one? Do I read that right?
RICHARDS: Yeah, you know, he got used to holding the reins and that became - that was a bit of a shock to me at the time, but I lived with it. And anyway, we, you know - actually what happened is that we ended up sharing the reins again. But at the time, yeah, that did shock me or disappointed me I’d say. I mean, shock I'm beyond, you know? But - and I’d leave it at that, quite honestly. It was a bit of a surprise to me at the time and also - but it gave me more of an insight into Mick himself. You know, I said, hey, man, you know, all right, go for it, you know (laughter). I mean, it's only rock ‘n' roll, honey.
GROSS: So just one more question about this, which is when you were performing on stage together during this period of great friction, do you feel it on stage? Did you try to prevent the audience from feeling that friction?
RICHARDS: No, get out of here. This is a bunch of guys that have been together for yonks, you know, I mean, you don't carry stuff like this onto stage. These are things that just happen and you deal with them and you get it over with, you know - forget about it. It's, I mean, this is not some angst or big deal, you know. You know, of course, guys have fights. Brothers have fights all the time. That's what it’s all about. It's, you know, to pick one thing out and say, like, oh, it's a festering wound, what rubbish. No, you know, we're brothers. We get along and we fight sometimes and I don't think I can express it any better than that.
GROSS: So I'm going to play "Beast of Burden." Do you want to say anything about writing it or what you're playing on it?
RICHARDS: No. I loved it. It's another one that came very natural sitting around with Mick and...
(SOUNDBITE OF SNAP)
RICHARDS: And Mick - see, I write songs for Mick to sing. That's what I do. I mean, you don't get "Midnight Ramblers” out of nowhere. You don't get "Gimme Shelters" out of nowhere. I'm writing for this - I say, man, I know this guy can handle this and nobody will ever be able to handle it any other way. What I do is write songs for Mick to sing and if he picks up on it...
(SOUNDBITE OF SNAP)
RICHARDS: ...Baby we got, you know. If he doesn't, I just let it sit on the shelf.
GROSS: What are the qualities in his voice and in his personality that you feel you’re writing for?
RICHARDS: He's an outstanding performer. Hey, you're talking about a mixture of James Brown and Maria Callas here, you know?
RICHARDS: I got you.
GROSS: That's good.
RICHARDS: Yeah. And to have to work with such an outsized personality, ego, and say, hey, whatever it takes, it’s there and you’ve got to, you know, and you’ve got to go for it, and sometimes it doesn't work and a lot of times it does. And so you just keep on pushing, you know?
GROSS: So let's hear "Beast of Burden" and this is from The Stones' 19…
RICHARDS: Please do. I love that one.
GROSS: Me too - the 1978 album "Some Girls," "Beast of Burden."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BEAST OF BURDEN”)
THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) I'll never be your beast of burden. My back is broad but it's hurting. All I want is for you to make love to me. I'll never be your beast of burden. I've walked for miles my feet are hurting. All I want is for you to make love to me.
Am I hard enough? Am I rough enough? Am I rich enough? I'm not too blind to see.
I'll never be your beast of burden. So let's go home and draw the curtains. Music on the radio. Come on, baby, make sweet love to me.
Am I hard enough? Am I rough enough? Am I rich enough? I'm not too blind to see.
Oh, little sister. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, girl.
GROSS: You’ve survived so many things in your life, including a heroin habit, a car accident, a cerebral hematoma. Of all the things that you survived...
RICHARDS: Is that what I had?
GROSS: That's what you say you had.
RICHARDS: (Laughter) I didn’t - never knew what they called it, honey.
GROSS: So yeah, you fell out of a tree? Is that right?
RICHARDS: I fell out of a damn tree and bashed my head.
GROSS: So of all the things that you've survived, was there any one time where you really felt this is it?
RICHARDS: Well, there's been a few times of flying through the air in a Mercedes upside down and hitting the ground three times where you do kind of sort of get the hint that maybe this is it. But if it ain't it, then you just carry on with life, right? I mean, boo, we all bump into death at one time or another, honey.
GROSS: What do you want from the next stage of your life as you approach your ‘70s?
RICHARDS: Well, I'm looking to be about 120, you know?
RICHARDS: But I don't know what I'm going to do with it (laughter). Quite honestly, I think the band wants to play, the boys want to play together and hopefully, you know, we can get on the ups here and we’re thinking ahead. You know, I mean, I know that obviously because of this - the book and everything and there's a lot of retro going on and stuff. But as far as I'm concerned, and I think as far as Mick's concerned and Charlie and Ronnie, get it over. Get over it, let's get on ahead. You know, we want to make some records and we want to do some good shows and we believe that we have it in us to do that.
GROSS: Now, you say in the book that people are always saying, oh, The Stones are still at it and they’re getting so old, you know, and, but...
RICHARDS: Yeah. But they said that to Duke Ellington and Count Basie. I'm keeping a band together here. You know…
GROSS: No, exactly. That’s what you say...
RICHARDS: …I mean, they say that Louis Armstrong...
GROSS: If it was Basie or Ellington, they wouldn't be talking that way. But, you know, rock ‘n' roll was considered a youth music.
RICHARDS: Exactly. So we're here to grow up rock ‘n' roll...
GROSS: Right. So...
RICHARDS: ...And see how far it can go.
GROSS: And that's my question, as grown-ups approaching your ‘70s, what's different about what you want to do on stage and what you want to sing on stage?
RICHARDS: I don’t know. This is - we're thinking about this. It's a good question, you know, and how do we want to do it? How can The Stones grow up? I mean, you've got to get like kicking 70 to figure, you know, a thing like that out. I don't know. We'll find out.
GROSS: Well, thank you so much for talking with us. It's really been a pleasure. And, you know, all best to you. Thank you very much.
RICHARDS: Hey, Terry, thanks very much. Good try, honey.
DAVIES: Keith Richards, guitarist for The Rolling Stones. He spoke with Terry in 2010 when his autobiography, “Life,” was published. Richards has a new solo album called “Crosseyed Heart.” Coming up, David Edelstein reviews the new action thriller “Sicario” set in the U.S. Mexican drug wars. This is FRESH AIR.
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