Stones in Exile (2010) Movie Script

From the top, then, lads.
I think you
can use the Stones as markers.
They certainly captured the times.
The hippy, peace, love, acid thing
has long gone,
and they're different times.
There was something in the air,
Coppola was making Apocalypse Now.
There was definitely the sense
that the Sixties didn't work,
and that you either had to blow up
the system or flee from it.
From the artwork to the music,
it was a Rolling Stones record
that wasn't the big, popular album.
What year was it? '72?
I know the folklore, obviously.
They were getting away from,
running away from England.
Why did they...?
So they literally got booted out.
English tax exiles. Seemed to be
a popular English rock'n'roll story.
They had to go and almost implode,
in a way.
The sense of being exiled,
the sense of being... "You can't go home."
I think this music reflects that.
He's going the wrong way.
We used to go that way.
Let's go the way we used to go.
When I started talking about
making this film,
I said, "We're never gonna do this.
"We're never gonna go
to where we recorded it."
That was your booth.
You lived in there.
I didn't, I wasn't always,
I was out here a lot.
- That was my booth.
- Only when we let him.
We used to try experimental things,
cos it was a nice, big room.
One bloke could be there,
while I was here,
doing something else.
We did a lot of versions of things.
We did them over and over.
The thing about Exile On Main St.
is that there wasn't a master plan,
we just accumulated material
knowing that we would use it one day.
So we just came in and recorded.
This is really weird. You come back
to something you did 40 years ago,
it doesn't really matter.
You've got to look back at the big picture,
you got really good things out of it.
- Where were we? Boring, really.
- That's about as good as it gets.
That old fucking recording session...
I mean, boring.
Who gives a shit?
The Lucifer of Rock, the Pied Piper,
the rebellious young millions,
who, in the 1960s,
made rock music the official language
of their unfocused,
but unmistakable affection,
from tradition...
Middle America couldn't believe
what was happening to their kids.
They were listening to this music,
buying their albums,
album covers with pictures of the boys
lying around in homes, making parents sick.
People across the country thought,
"What can we expect next from the Stones?"
American Top 40.
The second-biggest foreign act
ever to hit the American charts
has had five number one singles
and ten consecutive gold LPs.
The green stuff they gather isn't moss.
The Rolling Stones.
Are you any more satisfied now?
Financially, dissatisfied.
You know...
Sexually, satisfied.
Philosophically, trying.
We'd been working hard,
we were a very successful band,
we'd sold a lot of records
but we weren't getting paid,
cos the record contracts
were giving us such a low royalty.
We found out that we had
a management company guy
who claimed that he owned
everything we were doing
in the past and always would in the future.
Touring, records, publishing songs,
everything, he said he owned it.
So we had to get rid of him
and try and get out of this
ridiculous Byzantine mess
that you've created for yourself.
We were supposed to live this life,
limousines, you had to have,
and this, that and the other.
The money just flew,
so you were always in debt.
None of us had paid tax.
We thought we had.
We thought that had been dealt with,
and it hadn't.
Tax, under the Labour government
of Wilson was 93%.
If you earned a million quid,
which we didn't,
you'd end up with 70 grand.
So it was impossible
to earn enough money
to pay back the Inland Revenue
and stay here, in England.
It was a feeling that you're
being edged out of your own country.
The British government were scared
by the number of fans we had, I suppose.
They couldn't ignore that we
were a force to be reckoned with,
and sometime in the end of the year
we had to make the decision.
It was like, well, we all wanted
to keep going, so let's just move.
We're not rooted in England,
we'd been around the world half the time.
We do this farewell tour of England
which is quite short,
and rather sort of sad.
I can remember it so vividly.
Everyone thought
we were never going to come back.
We had this kind of settled way of life
for a touring band.
We were all very kind of English
in our ways,
with our semi-suburban studios,
nice country places to live in,
and we were quite happy with that.
I mean, "sedate" is not really the right...
It wasn't sedate,
but it was pretty centred.
This kind of lifestyle
that we'd created for ourselves,
which was really pleasant,
had to come to an end.
How do you feel about emigrating?
I don't know. Are we really going?
Well, so they tell me.
- Do you want to leave England or not?
- No.
You're not keen on it?
- On what?
- On going off to France.
You keen on England?
In those days, if a band was big
in England and then left England,
that was the end of them,
you didn't like them any more.
It's fucking curtains.
And then, when you leave for tax reasons,
it's really not very cool.
I had to get out of the country
to pay the tax incurred for me.
That's why I had to leave.
Let that be a warning to you.
I start taking pictures
of the Stones in 1964.
I heard that the whole band
was moving to the South of France,
so, a few weeks later,
I was down in Nice.
I asked, "Do you think it's possible
"to take a few pictures of the Stones
in the South of France?"
And they gave me the name of the place,
Villefranche-sur-Mer, Villa Nellcte.
I just went for an afternoon.
I didn't know Keith and Anita
were living down there.
Of course, the house was beautiful
and the light is incredible
in the South of France in spring.
At the end, I was thanking everybody
for a beautiful afternoon and everything,
and they said to me, "You can stay."
How long were you there for?
Six months.
Admiral Byrd built it.
He was an English admiral.
Steps down
to his own private boating dock.
So I bought a speedboat.
"Splash out, I might be in jail..."
"Let's have some fun while I'm free."
That whole era, just before we
moved to France, was all kind of jittery,
so in a way it was quite a relief
to get to France
and have that off your back
and start learning French.
Anita in Nellcte.
First off,
it was her first year with the baby,
so she was being mother, as well,
and just, sort of, made sure
the joint ran properly.
She was the only one that could argue
with the cook, Fat Jacques.
Until I had Marlon we were
just living in hotel rooms,
moving around constantly.
So, for me, going to
the South of France was great.
It was a wonderful place.
It was very romantic.
I lost, totally, my sense
of time, down there.
It was like a kind of dream,
you know.
Every morning, Keith would be up
at 8:00, 8:30 in the morning,
and ready to jump in his car,
looking after his kid, Marlon.
No one knew the Stones
in the South of France,
so that they were
able to act and live normally.
We'd go to the zoo,
we would go to the beach.
In the afternoon,
Anita would look after Marlon,
and Keith would play music.
Every morning it would be the same.
It was a normal way of life.
We've been seeing a lot
in the music papers over here,
some pictures of you and
a very beautiful lady called Bianca.
- I believe.
- Yeah.
And all those rumours,
that you must have read about,
anything to say about them?
- No.
- In a word!
Not really.
What can I say,
but rumours, rumours...
Mick Jagger came to St Tropez
for a quiet wedding.
It's been chaotic and it's brought the town
to a standstill.
We knew they was getting married,
and we kind of knew the date,
we were thinking,
"Well, it's on on Saturday,
"and Mick hasn't mentioned it.
"Maybe we'd better
buy him a wedding present."
Then Mick called up
the day before the wedding
and said, "Hi, Bill. I'd like to invite you
to our wedding reception."
And I said, "OK. Thanks."
So, it was a bit strange.
- You can stop taking photographs.
- Shut up, man.
People came from all over the world
for the wedding.
Some musician had to go back on tour
or recording, or something like that,
and some other had nothing to do.
So, like usual,
it ends up at Keith's house.
In the South of France, if you have money
you can get anything.
On the right you've got Marseilles,
which is a very well-known place
for illegal products,
and on the other side,
you've got Italy, with the Mafia.
So, you join the two together,
and you understand.
I had a non-verbal agreement
with Keith.
This was very simple.
You get high
on music and photography,
stick to it, I take care of the rest.
At the beginning,
it was interesting and fun,
but the thing is,
it was fantastically disruptive.
Of the band, of our lives,
of our social life, everything.
I hated leaving England.
I did, because,
when you got down there,
you had to try to replace
everything you loved, cos it wasn't there.
You had to, sort of, buy...
try to buy PG Tips to make your tea.
Then you had to deal with the French milk,
which wasn't the same.
Then you bought Bird's Custard
and Branston Pickle and piccalilli
and all the English things
you were used to in your life,
you had to import them all
because they weren't there.
I'm not a very good mover.
And no, I didn't like...
And I was English and I couldn't
see living in France, and that.
I mean, the mental thing was a bit,
sort of... strange.
You were in exile, particularly me,
I couldn't speak French or anything.
I joined the Stones May or June of '69,
and so, I hadn't earned enough money
or done enough work on that level
to have any kind of tax problems.
But one of my most vivid memories
is being flown there in
our own private jet.
I thought, "My God. This is the high life,
this is wonderful."
We looked around for studios,
but, especially in the South of France
in the early... in 1971,
there was no good rooms to work in,
and the equipment was shabby,
and nobody felt comfortable
in anywhere we looked at.
We tried various cinemas
and public halls that one might rent,
and we just never found a suitable site.
In the end, we chose convenience,
I suppose, over sound,
and went for the basement
of Keith's house.
We said, "We have this truck,
our own mobile studio.
"Why don't we just forget about them
and just bring in the truck
"and work around the problems?
"At least, this way,
we don't have to ask our interpreter
"every time we want to turn it off or on."
Good afternoon!
Basically, I think that the
Stones really felt like exiles.
"It's us against the world now.
Fuck ya."
That was behind the attitude.
We said,
"We're all gonna do this, boys.
"We're all just gonna move out
and be a family and do it,
"and here's the place."
And, in a way, it was energising.
I ended up there because that's where
everybody else went.
My boys that I play rock'n'roll with
left the country.
We were invited to go and we went.
I didn't mind living
between Nice and Monte Carlo.
Didn't mind that a bit.
Didn't mind all the pretty girls
around the countryside.
Yes, sir, buddy.
South of France and a young man
in his 20s,
a rock'n'roll musician,
that's a mighty good combination.
I'm tellin' ya!
That's when you're shitting in tall cotton.
Can you say that?
I just said that.
The Stones, during that time, were quite
spread out across the South of France,
so it was a little difficult
to get everyone together
for long periods at a time.
They'd get together for a few days
and then everybody would want
to go home and see their families.
Then there was the fact that Bianca
was in her late stages of pregnancy
during that period,
so Mick was constantly in Paris
where Bianca was.
So it wasn't the best conditions at all.
I remember,
we just couldn't seem to get started.
- There. Come in again.
- Charlie should...
Yeah, it would make it so...
Andy, could you turn the
piano up just a bit?
...just have the off beat.
Charlie, did you get that?
Do you want to try that?
It would be nice to change the drum sound
when it comes back in again.
I'd just moved to France,
and I used to have to drive,
a six-and-a-half, seven-hour drive
from where I lived,
on these little roads.
I couldn't do it every night,
play and go home,
so I lived with Keith.
I lived in a room upstairs and Keith lived
in a huge bedroom above that.
We had... It was quite...
I mean, it was pretty together, really.
In a mad sort of way.
We would work any time in 24 hours.
So, if it was 11 o'clock at night
it would go for another 12 hours,
or if it was at 12 o'clock midday,
it would go for 12...
You know, whatever time.
That's why you had to live there.
I'm 21 years old, and there I am
in the South of France,
working with the best band on the planet,
getting paid good cash money.
Come on, it was pretty cool!
It was my initiation into how
you can actually live rock'n'roll.
At that point in time, the Rolling Stones
were the centre of the world.
I might have been somewhat delusional,
but music was very important back then.
It was the heyday of...
"Music's going to change the world."
All that rubbish.
And they were changing the world.
What a lot of people forget is,
they were doing it, they really were.
The Rolling Stones, at the time,
it's not a five-piece band any more.
It is an eight-piece band,
with the horns,
Jim Price, Bobby Keys,
with Nicky Hopkins.
And, all those people,
they have kids.
And it's like, the Rolling Stones,
it's like a tribe.
During the night,
all those musician and technicians,
during the day, all those kids.
So, it's impossible
to separate the family life
from the professional activity downstairs.
The tribe grows bigger and bigger
and bigger.
Which amps are you coming out of?
Now he asks us.
That Fender...
The basement of Keith's house
was in fact a lot of separate rooms,
that made up a basement.
In the end,
the separation was so poor
that we would have to have
the piano in one room,
an acoustic guitar in the kitchen,
because it had tile,
so it had a nice ring.
There was another room for the horns.
And there was one,
probably, main studio,
where the drums were,
and Keith's amp,
and Bill would stand in there
but his amp would be out the hall.
The place was absolutely atrocious
and was very, very difficult to deal with.
It was so humid and the guitars would go
in and out of tune all the time.
And Mick kept complaining
about the sound and...
The gear wasn't working properly,
the lights would go off,
and there were fires,
and it was just insane.
It wasn't the best conditions at all.
It was difficult for all of us.
The wires would go out the door
and down the hall into a mobile truck.
Every time I wanted to communicate,
I would have to run around to all the
different rooms and give the message.
Should we listen to it?
Well, I broke the string on that one.
A lot of Exile
was done how Keith works,
which is: Play it 2O times, marinate,
play it another 20.
Keith's very like a jazz player
in lots of ways.
I mean, he knows what he likes,
but he's very loose.
Keith's a very Bohemian and eccentric,
in the best terms, person.
He really is.
I never plan anything.
Which is probably the difference
between Mick and myself.
Mick needs to know
what he's gonna do tomorrow,
I'm just happy to wake up
and see who's hanging around.
Mick's Rock, I'm Roll.
I wanted to be a hotshot record executive,
and they were the Rolling Stones,
they had their own record label.
Atlantic distributed
Rolling Stones records,
we got a dollar an album
and a big budget to produce the records.
The whole deal was, "Can you get
the Rolling Stones to make an album
"every year or 18 months?
"Cos they're floating around,
they're flying around."
And I said, "Yeah. I can do that."
Then I started to watch
their creative process.
Watch how it worked.
I was amazed that Keith could fall asleep
while he was doing a vocal.
Mick wouldn't show up.
I was coming from...
You had to make three sides
in three hours.
These guys were taking two weeks
to get one track done.
Sometimes I didn't have an idea,
so I'd just throw it out
and just see what happens.
You get the best out of this band
when they think they're not working.
Where it's...
"This is just a free-for-all."
And, as long as the tape's rolling,
this is where you get it.
That whole period was incredibly creative
for all of us.
Once we got into a studio
and picked up our guitars,
we were in our own world.
Nothing else
could really get in the way.
Trying to make the songs up,
there's a riff, there's a groove,
and you're trying to make up
the words and a melody.
So the writing process
was very, very loose.
We started off just jamming.
Really casual. Hung together.
It always ended up great.
That was the great thing about it.
It was about as unrehearsed
as a hiccup.
It just was...
It wasn't exactly spontaneous combustion.
Placed a call to...
Give George Harrison my best wishes.
Not to mention his old lady.
This was a whole different approach
to music and recording
from what I'd been used to.
Usually you know the name of the song
you're playing.
This is a...
And then there should be a chord...
The one that's great on that
is Ventilator Blues.
You always rehearse it
and it's a great riff,
but we never do it as good as that,
something is not right.
Either Keith would play it a bit different,
which is not the same,
or I'll get it wrong.
That's because Bobby said,
"Why don't you do this?"
I said, "I can't play that."
He said, "Yeah. It's this."
And stood next to me, clapping.
I just followed his time.
Where I ever had the balls
to try to tell Charlie Watts
where two and four was,
is beyond me.
I have often thought to myself,
"Son, what were you smoking,
"or what were you drinking?"
God bless his heart and patience,
he listened to me.
There you go, you hear it right here,
I taught Charlie Watts
how to play the drums.
I don't think we've ever said,
"Let's make this kind of album
or that kind."
They take on their own character,
once you start to get into it,
since we'd left the country and were
recording in a totally different way.
I wanted to reduce it back to basics.
It's been said that the Stones gave
black music back to the Americans,
what were the first black musicians
that turned you on to black music?
Chuck Berry, Little Richard.
Little Richard was the first one
I heard that really knocked me out.
After that, Chuck Berry,
and later Bo Diddley,
Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed.
Slim Harpo.
The list gets endless but...
I guess the more you got into black music
the more you followed it back
to where it come from.
And so, eventually,
you were listening to Robert Johnson,
Blind Lemon Jefferson, et cetera,
everybody goes through that.
To me, even now, American players
and singers are always the best.
It is one of those sort of things
that you have going. It is for me.
But then I'm a black American freak,
cos that's the music I like, primarily.
That's the only...
That's really the music I love.
It was a super eclectic band.
I was brought up in the '50s.
I liked pop music,
I didn't just like blues.
I loved blues, but I loved Elvis,
but I loved crap pop music,
like acoustic blues music,
country music.
We liked everything,
plus you've got all these other people,
and you're kinda
throwing this whole mishmash in.
We'd absorbed so much
different kinds of music
since we'd become the Rolling Stones.
Maybe we missed America, I don't know.
Mick and I had always
loved country music anyway.
You're playing the Midwest in 1964, '65,
you ain't going to hear much else.
It's the other side of rock'n'roll.
Rock'n'roll, basically, is your blues
and they put under a little bit
of white hillbilly melody.
It's the coming together, it's that lovely...
which music's always about,
is one culture hitting another.
Hillbillies ideas of subject matter
are like really interesting,
and there's a lot of very...
In all of that music,
there's a lot of things
that just keen into your heart.
One of the things about Exile,
I think, was a lot of stuff
that we'd picked up on the road
and along the way came out.
You've drawn from whatever
you've listened to since you were a child.
Probably, some of the things
I write or play
are things that I listened to in 1947.
Rock'n'roll in its basic sense
is a mixture.
What I've always loved about it,
when I thought about it...
it's a beautiful synthesis
of white music and black music.
And it's just a beautiful cauldron
to mix things up.
My father was in that world.
He was a race car driver,
drug smuggler and adventurer.
We were there for, I guess,
about three months,
as Keith and Anita's long-term guests.
There was a lot of down time in Nellcte.
The creative process happened gradually
throughout the day,
as far as I could see.
Remember, I was just a kid.
People would sit around
and play guitars,
and start picking little bits of music,
and then, late at night
they would get busy.
From the top then, lads.
The basement, at night,
was the epicentre,
and as long as we could stay awake,
we were down there.
It was kind of the adult area,
because there was
a lot of drinking and smoking,
and there were bottles of Jack
being passed around.
It was loud and a little bit scary,
but it was also, before it got wild,
a place where we all wanted to be.
It was so loud.
It was really, really loud.
I went to Villefranche sometimes,
in the evening,
and I could hear the music
from Villefranche.
And I'm amazed that the people there
were so patient,
because it was always going,
it was going all night.
It got really hot,
especially down in the basement
where they were recording.
It was like a sauna.
Dingy and dark.
I don't know how they did it,
quite honestly.
It was really an extreme labour of love,
I think.
The same again.
Leave it a whole other one before...
No. Charlie don't come in till later.
- You add just the guitar?
- Later, on the C.
And Bill come in with him?
Yeah, and Mick, MT,
where does Mick come in?
- When he feels it, not too...
- When you feel it, Mick.
I'll give you a yell,
something like middle eight...
What would really happen was this:
They would play very poorly
for two or three days on whatever song,
and then, if Keith got up
and started looking at Charlie,
then you knew
that something was about to go down.
Then Bill would get up and put his bass
at that sort of 84-degree angle,
and you went, "Ah, here it comes.
They're going to go for it now."
Then it would turn into
this wonderful, God-given music.
OK. Here it comes.
Run up to the D and E.
- All right?
- All right.
Got your lead sheets?
Once you're into the recording,
everything else is a bit peripheral.
We'd be down in the basement,
working, working,
but the odd time
you come up to the surface,
oh, they'd be partying up there.
So you never knew
quite what you were going to meet.
Nellcte was never empty.
There was people all over the place.
Some people sprawled out,
and say, "I can't make it home."
"Have the couch. Have the big couch."
Had a couple of mad French cooks
that blew the kitchen up.
But, apart from that,
there was no mayhem, particularly.
Fat Jacques. He said they blew it up.
He was a junkie too.
He used to go to Marseilles.
"Where's Jacques?"
"it's Thursday."
"Oh right. He's gone to score."
I was commuting back and forth
to Nellcte from all over the world.
Dealing with Atlantic, seeing about
a worldwide simultaneous release.
It became my life.
When you're at work
with the Rolling Stones,
you won't last
unless it becomes your life.
I remember, vividly, late afternoon,
early evening, one meal a day.
We'd all sit at this long, long table.
We would all smoke joints and hash
in between courses.
We had this big bowl, and everybody
would be passing it around.
It was a whole new La Dolce Vita,
Felliniesque kind of lifestyle.
I actually became, in my mind,
like one of the Rolling Stones.
You'd be surprised what an
eight-and-a-half-year-old kid sees.
They see everything.
They're like little owls.
Obviously, there was cocaine,
because Dad brought it.
I remember a lot of joints.
We'd roll joints.
That was, I think, pretty much
my function in life at that point,
was to be a joint roller.
If you're living a decadent life,
there's darkness there.
This was decadent.
Nothing was hidden.
Everything was out in the open.
But at this point,
this was the moment of grace.
This was before the darkness.
This was, if anything,
the sunrise before the sunset.
Hell, yeah,
there was some pot laying around,
there was whisky bottles around,
champagne bottles around,
there was scantily-clad women around.
Hell! It was rock'n'roll, son!
Without it, you ain't got rock'n'roll.
Everybody had a great time,
but it was very stressful,
if you know what I mean.
You were having a good time,
but ready to go back home.
The only one
who wasn't like that was Keith,
who was being supplied in his mansion,
with the band working downstairs.
Must have been heaven for him.
Late again, Richards.
I don't envy you when you grow up
and have to go to work for a living.
Sometimes I would wake up
and I would just hear this weird rumbling
from the basement.
And then realise that I'd slept
for nearly a whole day,
and they were working on.
But sometimes if Jimmy Miller was there,
and enough people
to operate the machinery,
I'd say, "Let's start."
They'd say, "There's nobody here."
I said, "I'll do for now."
It was like, whoever's around,
and you had an idea,
"OK, round 'em up and let's go."
I cut Happy
with Jimmy Miller on drums,
and Bobby Keys on baritone sax,
and me on guitar.
That was basically the take.
Everybody would go in and out
of the place as they wished,
so I kind of got really paranoid,
it was unbelievable.
I walked into the living room
and there was this guy
sitting on the sofa,
he pulled out a bag full of smack.
The whole thing kind of disintegrated
and we got heavily into drugs,
like breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the end, especially,
I thought I was cursed.
We're getting our souls back!
I wasn't that aware, at the time,
cos I was so used to it being around me.
At the time it was just Keith,
it was how we worked.
He's always led life his way,
and I don't think they cared
what you thought or I thought.
I did it, basically, to hide.
Hide from fame
and being this other person,
because all I wanted to do
was play music and bring my family up.
With a hit of smack,
I could walk through anything,
and not give a damn.
Middle of September, what happens?
Keith and all his entourage,
and all these guests and friends
and hangers-on,
are all in, watching television,
and someone breaks in
and steals eight guitars,
one bass and a saxophone,
of Bobby Keys.
Just walks out the house
and no one even knows.
That's how, like,
loose and stupid it was out there.
It's a big group of people,
and they're dependent
on the creative engine.
If it starts to get out of whack
and doesn't work efficiently,
everyone's going to suffer
in some way.
You think you're in control of this
wonderful, enjoyable lifestyle,
and there's a moment where you are,
but then, what happens is,
the lifestyle starts to choose you.
That's the problem.
it was getting cold and autumn,
and we'd got all of this stuff
that we'd recorded in a truck,
in a basement.
Mick and I
were looking at each other, saying,
"I think we've drained it.
And we've drained everybody else."
There was a sort of a group feeling,
I think, "That's it, we've done it."
I can't even remember people leaving,
but they certainly left,
all very quickly.
Me and Keith and a couple of other people
were still down there
and eventually we got the word
that we had to leave,
because we were gonna get arrested.
We never got busted
and we never got thrown out.
Now, did it become somewhere
where we shouldn't stay?
Yeah, but we never got thrown out.
I felt like an outlaw,
I kind of quite liked that,
the feeling of,
"We can't go anywhere."
You didn't have any choice,
you can't get high any more,
so get another buzz.
We always went to LA to finish our records.
That was a sort of...
our modus operandi.
So we went off to LA.
It was kind of fun playing it to
lots of musicians and friends in LA,
interesting to get their input,
cos everything that went on at Nellcte,
it was in a bubble really.
We'd never made a double album before,
so we didn't quite...
I think we were a bit naive about it.
It was just a bit too much work,
considering that we'd
had all these pressures,
plus we were just a bit burned on it.
I remember Keith even saying,
"I'm so burnt out on this record."
But we still got loads of unfinished songs.
Some of them had fragmentary lyrics
and some had none at all.
So we had a big mountain to climb.
It's weird,
where your lyric things come from.
Tumbling Dice,
I sat with the housekeeper
and talked to her about gambling.
She liked to play dice
and I didn't know much about it,
but I got it off her
and I made the song out of that.
Casino Boogie would have been
a song with no lyrics,
so Keith and I did this William Burroughs
thing, where we did cut-ups.
I just wrote phrases and chucked them into
a pile and picked them out.
"Anything goes!
We've got to get this done."
We went to Sunset Sound
to finish the record off.
My vocals had to be done,
the harmony vocals and Keith's vocals.
We did pedal steel guitars,
upright bass.
Extra musicians of some kind
that we hadn't already thought of.
A lot of background vocal stuff.
The first part was good,
but you've got to keep it up.
Those overdubs,
they give the songs a complete twist.
So this LA experience
is a lot about that.
A little bit of those girls
goes a tremendous long way.
All these little jams, like
I Just Want To See His Face,
that I'm going off
on some religious bent,
suddenly come alive and you see,
"That's what I meant
when I was singing it."
There was a lot of material
and I kept throwing new things on it.
That's always slightly bewildering.
We had to choose the songs we liked,
choose the takes,
and to sit in this room for...
I don't know how long,
and sort everything out.
They'd mix forever. Keith would
do mixes and Mick would do mixes
and then they'd argue
which one was the best.
It used to go on and on and on.
We needed a cover, so as you were mixing
the record that you'd done,
Mick and I
would be looking through books
just to see styles and things like that.
Charlie and I
went to loads of book shops in LA,
bought loads of photography books.
And Charlie came up with this idea
of Robert Frank.
Robert was perfect for that period,
very American, of the '50s and '60s,
very iconic.
We imagined it would be a photograph
of the Rolling Stones,
you know,
stark Robert Frank imagery.
Then Robert said,
no, he didn't see it like that,
he saw doing photography
with Super 8.
I said, "We'll give it a whirl."
He can see something that you wonder
what the hell he's looking at.
When it's done with him and finished,
it will look fantastic.
I have always thought,
somewhere in the back of my mind,
that what we were doing
wasn't just for now.
So you're making the record
even when you're asleep.
So I was dreaming the damn thing.
There might have been a feeling that,
"Right, since we've decided
to move out of England,
"well, we better make this bloody work."
Finally, it's not that thing,
you're stuck in a basement,
trying to work out
what the fuck is going on.
Now, we've finished this record.
All we have to do is wrap it up
in this gritty little package.
The billboards. Fantastic.
It's up there.
It's going to be out and
then you're on the road playing it,
and it's exciting.
Mick doesn't like the finished thing.
He won't like this when it's finished.
He won't let you finish this.
That's what he's like.
Mick doesn't like anything
you did yesterday.
Let's do tomorrow.
Which, in one way, is very good,
cos it keeps you going forward.
It is a different kind of record.
It's a very sprawling, gutsy piece of work.
Criticism of Exile,
it didn't have a direction.
But then, that's also something
very laudable about it,
that it exhibits all these styles,
and even multiple styles, in one song.
Does it have tons of hit singles in it?
No. This isn't that kind of record.
Over the years it's just acquired
a kind of magical glow.
Probably because of the way
it was recorded,
the rawness of it, the edginess of it.
I loved the tracks, obviously,
but I don't think we had hardly
any good reviews on that album.
By anybody.
They were all boo-hooing it
and saying it was a load of crap,
and it wasn't like the Stones.
And they all did amazing U-turns
in the next few years,
saying it was one of the greatest albums
we'd ever done.
I just wanted to make music
and see how sounds are made.
How do you transmit that feeling
and it actually comes back out
and touches people?
It's been the mystery of my life
and I'm still following it.
The Rolling Stones.
Rolling Stones. Crazy Mick. Crazy Mick.
Lay a couple of tickets on your friend.
It's the highest debuting song of the week,
it's called Tumbling Dice
by the phenomenal rock group
that Time magazine
says some far-out things about:
"The fan allegiance is
not to rock as music,
"it's to the Stones as
a socio-sexual event."
KROQ, Los Angeles, a rock revolution,
is happening with the Rolling Stones!
Get down!
Exile On Main St. dramatically altered
the vocabulary of record making.
There are textures on there
that no one ever laid down before.
That's so crazy, this was in France,
cos it sound...
Literally, I thought, every night,
they were in Memphis and they
were going out and eating barbecue,
and partying and getting with women.
If it wasn't for this record,
I would have thought
the Stones just did this.
But this is like peaks and valleys
of creativity and expression.
I love that record because
it's sort of like something
that could really confuse a journalist.
Make him rethink his whole career,
because he can't
box the Stones in any more.
I mean,
there's 15 directions going on at once.
I think that anybody who was cool
wanted to be there
while it was all happening.
I would have been there.
I'm sure of it.
This is almost as if you were there
while they were in a room
trying to pull together a song.
And this is almost saying,
"This is who we were
and this is where we're going.
"And we're not going back."
When it comes to rock'n'roll music
it's like...
It's like...
"How good does it get?"