The following interview took place on Saturday, Oct. 17. Part one of the interview was printed in IORR 34.
Dean: I detected a strong bond between you and Mick when you'd go over to him during his harp solo on "Out of Control"
Keith: I'm provoking him there, saying come on you motherfucker! Blow it, come on! He performed so well, he sang great. There's a hundred-odd shows in varying conditions, and he hung in. I promised himn the best band yet, and I said `You're gonna have to rise to it,' and he did. I'm very impressed with the way the whole band dealt with this tour, because it seemed to go on a steady upward plane. There were no real lows and highs. Ususally with a tours, (it's) good show, great show, terrible, average and then you sort of build up. This has gone so well from a musical point of view, from a performance point of view. I guess that's why they're going to continue.
I am interested in your relationship with Ronnie. He hardly played on the B-stage, and you yelled at him in a lot of interviews
That's just Ronnie's and my sense of humor! We blow each other out with the most cutting remarks because we're the greatest of friends. Ronnie and I play what's called the ancient form of weaving. We cross over, there's no lead and rhythm. It's basically when you can't tell who's doing what. Anyway on the b-stage I don't play a lot. We play very basic riffs. There's nothing too complicated going on out there. It's simple but it's tight. That's what rock'n'roll has to be, especially when you're on a tiny stage in the middle of 80,000 people. It kind of makes you lean into it.
Were there songs that never came together live? I'm thinking of "Anybody Seen My Baby"
That could either be great or abysmal. That's the thing about tempo, and also attitude. Sometimes it felty really good, other times it felt a bit naff to me. At the same time, I kind of enjoyed it because I could play the soul guitar player bit! Just stand there and be cool, instead of leaping about.
Were there other songs that were difficult in a live setting?
Not really. With this website thing, which basically we didn't rig very much -- once or twice because the thing had broken down and nobody knew what it was, so we guessed what it would be -- we wouldn't know until half an hour before. "She's a Rainbow," Jesus Christ! That was the element of surprise for the band every night as to what was going to be the catch of the day.
In Nashville the choice was "Faraway Eyes" and in Oklahoma "Shine A Light," which seemed rigged to me
"Shine a Light" we did it a couple of other places here and there. "Lowdown" started to get played in Europe (Author's note: Keith is misinformed here. It was played only once, at the Jan. 14 MSG date, and it wasn't the Web choice). A couple of others were starting to creep in. I always judge how Mick's feeling about a show by how many songs he's willing to change in a night. I don't make the set list up because he's got to sing them. If there's 4 or 5 different songs from the night before, I know that he's really feeling like on the ball. But if it's like, `We'll just keep it the same, we'll change that one' -- uh-oh, I know something's up. When there's no changes then I know, What's up? Is it the throat? Has he just had an argument with Jerry?!
Were you all exhausted towards the end of the tour?
You don't realize it until you finish because you're kinda running on empty. There's a feeling in the last week where you feel your body trying to relax,and you're trying to say to it, `C'mon, we ain't finished yet. There's another few more to go,' and then sort of coax it along. It's generally like that, and then there's this period of decompression. You try and figure out how to deal with it by hanging with friends. But then you can't really deal with it because around showtime, the body gets antsy! The adrenalin! After a year of it,, it is a drug we do create ourselves, and when you suddenly cut it off, it's cold turkey and I know all about cold turkey!
So I understand you're doing an arena tour of North America next January, February?
That's what I hear. I'm going to Toronto, see Michael Cohl, do some interviews and shit on Monday, and then I'll know more. At the moment, I'm still recuperating from this part of it. I think Jan. 19 is a date which I don't know means rehearsals or when we start working (ie TOURING). But I imagine rehearsals.
The next tour will be the first time since 1964-66 that you've toured North America in three consecutive years
The tour has taken on a life of its own due to several reasons, probably one of them being the change in the tax laws in England, which made it impossible to play there while we wrangle with the British government. The interesting thing was, to me, that they'd sold 105,000 tickets for Wembley, so we offered everyone their money back. And 2,000 (people asked for their money back). They must be the terminal cases who know they won't be around then! Otherwise everybody's hanging in, we'll be there. In the meantime, it should be interesting to play the smaller theaters and arenas.
Will you call it the No Security Tour?
I guess, yeah. I'm not sure yet. I'm not a fountain of information at the moment on what's gonna happen next year, except I know that I pick up the ax around January 20, 1999 and I haven't seen any details of where and when. It really doesn't matter to me. Just point me in the right direction. As long as the stage is there, it's cool.
I know Mick does the set list, but will you try and lobby for more variations each night?
That's great Keith, good luck with the tour. It's been great talking to you.
You too, Dean. You send me that list if you like.
Stay in touch, man.
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 35 - January 1999 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe