The Rolling Stones recently concluded recording sessions for a new album in Paris with producer Don Was. The band will reconvene in the New Year for additional sessions for an album tentatively due in summer 2005, Was tells Billboard.com.
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.”
Was recalls sessions in which Jagger and Richards composed spontaneously, sometimes with Richards playing bass and Jagger on drums. “He’s a great drummer,” Was confides. “He’s also playing a lot of guitar, and he’s a really good guitar player. He’s been playing bass on some things, [and] Keith is playing bass on some things. They’re just great — there’s a reason that they’ve been the Rolling Stones for so long.
“And they can do it four times a day, every day,” Was says of the pair’s writing sessions, “and they’re really good songs. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
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 Stones recorded at Studios Guillaume Tell, also in Paris, with Was and engineer Ed Cherney. Four of the songs recorded there are featured on the 2-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.
“It’s not done,” Was adds. “We can still f*** it up a thousand different ways, you know? But what I’m hearing now is very much in the great Stones tradition.”
Was has been active throughout 2004, producing the Stones’ two-disc “Live Licks” set released last month, as well as upcoming albums by Solomon Burke, Jessie Coulter and Kris Kristofferson, the latter recorded specifically for release in a surround-sound format.
Meanwhile Don has regrouped with David Was to lead their R&B project Was (Not Was) through a 12-city tour launching Dec. 27 at House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif. The tour will mark the first performance of the group in 13 years.