Magazine article Guitar Player

Can't You Hear Me Talking? Guitar Player's Oral History of the Rolling Stones

Magazine article Guitar Player

Can't You Hear Me Talking? Guitar Player's Oral History of the Rolling Stones

Article excerpt

THE "WORLD'S GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND" is five decades old, and fat chance there's even a microscopic tidbit about any aspect of the group that hasn't been debated to death, overanalyzed, decoded, exposed, scrutinized, glamorized, popularized, and/or demonized. In the 50 years since the release of their first single on June 7, 1963 (a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On"), the band has paid massive dues and attained such legend-making heights that it has morphed into something beyond flesh. The Rolling Stones is a temple. It exists for the ages. And, like all monuments, it can be worn down by the sands of time, but what it represents is a law unto itself that is F> a music lover's DNA--so known, so understood, so always there?

For the most part, we decided to honor their words--not ours--and comb the Guitar Player (and Bass Player) archives for some of the most inspirational and educational lines that Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor, Ron Wood, and Darryl Jones have shared with our readers. These interview excerpts form the majority of this month's cover story, and we hope you enjoy the blasts from the Stone-y past.

in addition, we opted to revisit pieces of the Stones' aural history with modern viewpoints. Art Thompson takes a look at some recent vinyl reissues of classic tracks, and Barry Cleveland offers his assessments of the group's first five album releases. Of course, we wouldn't close out the party without giving you something to play. So we assembled five signature Stones riffs from one of Jesse Gress' marvelous and comprehensive music lessons.

And you don't have to stop rockin' after you finish this issue, either. Get interactive and share your best Stones-influenced riffs and songs with GP's online community. Just post links to your audio tracks and/or YouTube videos on our Facebook page. You can also log any remembrances, favorite song/solo/album lists, concert reviews, or other comments in our Rolling Stones Blog at Start it up!


Excerpted from the April 1983 and December 1989 interviews by Tom Wheeler, and the December 1992 and October 1993 interviews by Jas Obrecht.

"What's great is if I neglect something, Ronnie makes up for it. That's the great thing about two guitar players, because if you get it right, you know when to lift one of his licks--and vice versa--without thinking about it. He lifts more of mine than I do of his [laughs]. Onstage, the communication is all done by semaphore and eye signals. It's the only way you can really do it. But the thing is, there isn't that much need for communication or looking at each other--except when things go wrong. Otherwise, the communication is just through the music. But if things are going wrong, then everybody is looking at me--'How is he going to get out of this?'"

"I've decided that every night there's another 'world's greatest rock and roll band,' because one night somebody has an off gig, and some other sh*t band has a great gig. That's one of the great things about rock and roll--every night there's a different world's greatest band. We've been maybe a little more consistent, for whatever reason, mainly when we're going together on a tour, and also because we've managed to stick together. The chemistry--that has nothing to do with musicianship. It has to do with personality and characters and being able to live with each other for 20 years."

"Especially on the huge gigs, the show just takes its own speed from the start, and you go with it, It's the tempo of the whole gig--the adrenalin. It might be great, or it might be terrible, but the tempos one night may be almost twice as fast as the night after. And you can always learn when you listen back, you see? You may find, 'Wow, that should've been that tempo all along. We made the record too stow [laughs].'"

"Many people have a fixed idea that rhythm is supposed to just do this, and the lead is supposed to be really loud, but I've been very fortunate. …

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