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Rolling Stones

Still Rolling

RollWhen Mick Jagger had qualms about recording a new Rolling Stones album at his house in France, Keith Richards had a simple retort. "I said to Mick, 'Listen, once upon a time, we cut a record in the South of France in my house, and it's called "Exile on Main Street," and now it's your turn.'"

No one would dare try to hold up the Stones' forthcoming album, "A Bigger Bang", to what is considered one of the greatest rock'n'roll records of all time. Still, executives at Virgin and parent company EMI, which will release the album this week, believe the group has created its strongest album in years.

Jagger says the spirited play between he and Richards and switching up instruments helped bring a renewed energy to the album's creation. "I was playing drums and all that sort of stuff I usually never do and that was fun," he says. "Happily for the fans, my drums never made it on the record apart from one or two little hits that were saved. Keith and I were just having a laugh with a lot of it."

Many of the tracks feature just Jagger, Richards and drummer Charlie Watts. Apart from guitarist Ron Wood, the only other musicians on the album are longtime Stones associates Darryl Jones (bass) and Chuck Leavell (keyboards). "There's no hiding place if there's only three of you in the room," Jagger says. Or as Richards puts it, the album is "raw Stones." The Stones will be on the road supporting the album well into 2006.