The Rolling Stones and producer Don Was are in the midst of recording sessions for an album tentatively due in summer 2005 on Virgin Records. Initial sessions recently concluded in Paris, Was tells Bi

The Rolling Stones and producer Don Was are in the midst of recording sessions for an album tentatively due in summer 2005 on Virgin Records. Initial sessions recently concluded in Paris, Was tells Billboard. Meanwhile, Don and David Was have regrouped as R&B duo Was (Not Was).

The Stones, which released the two-disc "Live Licks" set last month, will reconvene in the New Year for additional sessions.

Was describes the Stones' new music as considerably different from their recent releases. "Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] are writing songs together in a collaborative fashion that probably hasn't been seen since the late '60s," he says. "I would say that longtime fans of the Rolling Stones will be thrilled with these results, and new fans will understand why they're the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world."

Drummer Charlie Watts, who was recently treated for throat cancer, also attended the Paris sessions and is in excellent health, Was says. "And he's playing like a lion," he adds.

In 2002, the group, with Was and engineer Ed Cherney, recorded at Studios Guillaume Tell, also in Paris. Four of the songs recorded there are featured on the two-disc "40 Licks" compilation released in 2002. Additional material recorded at those sessions may appear on the Stones' next album, says Was, "but this all seems to be of a piece so far, and is substantially different than anything I've worked on with them. It's really collaborative."

Was (Not Was) will launch a 12-city tour Dec. 27 at House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif. The tour marks the duo's first performances in 13 years.