THE MOJO INTERVIEW:
from Mojo magazine November 1997
My favorite music magazine, London's Mojo, did a cover with Keith Richards as part of the promotion for the Stones' Bridges to Babylon CD and tour. The cover bore a circular overlay shouting "Stones Extra! Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman break their silence." Pretty stunning to see a cover reference to either of these guys. As one of the few major media MT interviews, it merits an unauthorized repost here as a major contribution to MT scholarship. But try an issue of Mojo -- at US$6.95 it's the best bargain in music, it covers everything, classic, current, etc., it takes a month to read, and best of all, it's literate!
They gave Mick the last page, inside the back cover, for a recurring feature called "Hello Goodbye". It said: "One day you meet The Riff. Ane one day you have A Tiff. This month, the inside story of Mick Taylor & The Rolling Stones."
Based on an interview conducted by John Bungey, it reads:
Hello: June 1, 1969
I went along to do what I thought was some session work when the Stones were just finishing Let It Bleed at Olympic. When I was there I realised I was actually being auditioned. We did Live With Me from scratch and I overdubbed my part on Honky Tonk Women. Then Mick asked me to join. It was a pleasant shock. I think I said "Well, I'll think about it." Very tongue-in-cheek. I was six or seven years younger than them. When they'd hit the big time I was still at school. My sister was a big Stones fan. She always reminds me of when she would put Little Red Rooster on and I'd say, "Turn that rubbish off and put Revolver on."
We rehearsed for the Hyde Park concert, my debut, at The Beatles' studio at Savile Row. We had these small Fender twins and a little PA system and we sounded like a garage band. I couldn't believe it because there was such a huge difference between the way the Stones sounded on record and the way we sounded in the rehearsal studio. Everything was out of tune, sloppy, but they had a kind of chemistry that really did come together on record. Apart from the magic Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had of coming up with these great rock'n'roll songs, most of it was down to the people who were producing. We had Jimmy Miller and great musicians like Nicky Hopkins and Billy Preston. Otherwise they could have sounded like any old Camden Town blues band.
They didn't tell me what to play. I think me and Keith had a really good way of playing together, although our styles are very different. Hyde Park was a great occasion, but I didn't think we played very well. It was very out of tune. It was probably Keith and me -- but mostly Keith. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me saying that now.
Goodbye: March 30, 1974 [sic -- how about December 12 or so, 1974?]
I'd been thinking about leaving a lot that year. I saw the group as not going anywhere. We hadn't toured since 1972 [sic -- try 1973] and I suppose I was bored. I also had personal problems. My marriage was falling apart, maybe that coloured my judgement. I remember Bill Wyman saying to me he was thinking about leaving. I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I should have been credited with co-writing on It's Only Rock'n'Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren't really working together as a team so I'd spend a lot of time in the studio.
One thing I disliked was that the Stones were invariably surrounded by hangers-on telling them how wonderful they were. I didn't get along with a lot of them. Drugs weren't really the problem. It's no secret that Keith was a heroin addict by then and I was becoming one, but my problems got worse a lot later. Mick wasn't into all of that, he was more of a control freak. I doubt he'd ever take anything that would get the better of him.
I told Mick at a birthday party for Eric Clapton I was leaving. It took me a long time to settle down afterwards. I'd lost all my friends from the John Mayall days. I'd been living out of a suitcase. It was at least a year before I started playing again. [sic -- he must be referring to after the Jack Bruce Band broke up in mid-1975]
I've seen the members of the Stones on and off since -- I'm hoping Bill Wyman will play on the album I'm making now. I remember the time with them as fun -- we were a band of gypsies living and travelling together 24 hours a day, but it wasn't always fun making the records. In fact it was so painful I used to hate listening to them. But now I think the records we made were great. The whole experience made me more cynical. One of the reasons I haven't bothered to make records of my own is because I don't get paid for some of the biggest selling records of all time. Frankly, I was ripped off. You get cynical about the music business and it stops you playing. But three or four years ago I decided that one way or another I should carry on making music. So now I'm back in the studio and we've done five tracks. The album will probably be called Secret Affair and it's going to be very good.