As the Rolling Stones prepare to wrap their 50 And Counting “tour” with Saturday night’s pay-per-view show in Newark, N.J., former guitarist Mick Taylor — a guest at four of the five concerts — predicts we’ll be seeing more of the group in the probably near future.
“I think the Stones have always done things their own way, and they will always continue to do things their own way,” Taylor, who was with the Stones from 1969-74, tells Billboard. “I think everybody is having a good time on stage. It’s more than just nostalgia. I think they just feel re-energized and possibly very enthusiastic about doing things in the future. I just have an intuitive feeling that if they want to do some more shows, they can. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to.”
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Taylor — who recorded some new guitar parts for the 2010 expanded re-release of “Exile on Main Street” — acknowledges that he “had my doubts” about how the Stones would hold up on stage these days, and how he’d fit in with them. But he says that any concerns were dispelled after rehearsing for the two shows at London’s O2 Arena in November. “It’s been really amazing, thrilling and exciting,” he notes. “It’s been great to play with the band again. I still get the same feeling that I used to get when we played on stage before. I’m a lot more outgoing and not quite as shy as I used to be, so in that respect it’s different. I feel re-energized by the experience, too.”
Taylor joined the group for “Midnight Rambler” on the shows he’s played so far, recalling that “it was always one of the highlights of the shows during my tenure with the Stones in the 70s.” And he’s enjoying its current incarnation with three guitarists (himself, Keith Richards and Ron Wood). “We didn’t even think about it; in a strange way all three guitars kind of blend seamlessly into each other, especially if the sound is really good on stage,” Taylor says. “It’s one of the longest songs we play at the moment, and it gives Mick (Jagger) the opportunity to play some blues harmonica, which he’s very good at.”
Taylor says the Stones began working on “Can You Hear Me Knocking” before Thursday’s show in New Jersey, but he wasn’t sure if it would be performed at Saturday’s show. The “One More Shot” pay-per-view concert begins at 9 p.m., with Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and the Black Keys also scheduled to make guest appearances.
On his own, Taylor has been working on “a stack of songs I’d like to record,” which he plans to get back to after wrapping up with the Stones. But while he’s not sure what his old band will be doing next year, he’s “absolutely” will to play more shows if the call comes. “I’m up for 150 percent, yes,” he says. “We weren’t thinking about 50 years back when I was (in the band). We were living in the moment…and I’m really enjoying the moment right now.”