Log of The Artist Shop/Talk City chat with
Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones and The Rhythm Kings on Sunday, March 22, 1998


WotanCCC:    ******************************
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Welcome to tonight's
WotanCCC:    . Artist Shop
WotanCCC:    . Featured Artist Conference
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Bill Wyman
WotanCCC:    . Ex-Rolling Stone Bassist
WotanCCC:    . and leader of The Rhythm Kings
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Presented by
WotanCCC:    . @Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    ******************************

WotanCCC:     Bill Wyman is certainly one of the most famous bass players in the world. He and Charlie Watts were the legendary rhythm section for the Rolling Stones and Bill not only gave us those great bass lines in the Stones best work, but he has also been a consumate song writer in his own rite. Bill is here today to talk with us about his latest project, The Rhythm Kings "Struttin' Our Stuff". This is an absolute rocker and features such guests as Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Paul Carrack, Albert Lee, Georgie Fame, Martin Taylor, Gary Booker, Bobby Keys, Geraint Watkins, Graham Broad, Ray Cooper and more! Our good friend from the Artist Shop, Gary Davis, will be typing for Bill Today, as Bill is speaking with Gary over the phone.

WotanCCC:    Bill, we appreciate you taking the time out to speak with us today. Welcome to @Music and TalkCity!

BillWyman:    Thank you.

WotanCCC:    The liner notes for "Struttin Our Stuff" mention that this is the first of a Trilogy of recordings. Could you tell us about your plans for the trilogy?

BillWyman:    The reason it was a trilogy was that I just went in with friends over a year and cut about 60 tracks of a variety of music from the 20's on, an assortment of music - jazzy blues from the 30's and 40's like Billy Holliday, Fats Waller, early country music. Just a complete variety of anything I liked. And I realized I had about 3 albums worth. So this is the first of those three albums really. This one covers a period between the 50's and 70's.

WotanCCC:    Are you happy with the first release?

BillWyman:    Yes, I'm very much happy with it. I wouldn't release it if I wasn't.

WotanCCC:    Thanks Bill. Lets take an audience question.

AskBill:    bigdog says: this new album is said to have alot of blues influences what other type of music has influnced your work ?

WotanCCC:    Good question bigdog.

BillWyman:    Jump music from the 50's. By that I mean Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, those kind of people. And early country blues from the 30's. I like all kinds of music provided it excites me.

WotanCCC:    I was very suprised to see "Green River", the Creedence Clearwater hit included on Struttin' Our Stuff. Are you a Creedence fan?

BillWyman:    Always have been! Always will be!

WotanCCC:    They did some great tunes.

AskBill:    cybersquirt says: How has the music industry changed most (in your opinion) over the years?

BillWyman:    It seems to be less and less live performance these days and that disappoints me. Most of the major artists use a lot of tapes and pre-recorded stuff on stage which I don't like. This album was recorded on tape on an old desk, old microphones, no new technology.

WotanCCC:    What are your thoughts on sampling?

BillWyman:    I have none. I always say if you can't do it yourself, don't do it.

WotanCCC:    What are your favorite cuts on the CD? Any memorable experiences with recording Struttin' Our Stuff that you can share with us?

BillWyman:    I pretty much like everything that's on there, otherwise as I said before I wouldn't have put it on the album. It was nice to have Peter Frampton on the album, because I've known him since he was a little boy of 13 who used to come knocking on my door. It was recorded in normal recording situations but very quickly, just in the first three takes. After that we didn't bother with it. We just moved on to the next song.

WotanCCC:    Frampton does a great job on Tobacco Road.

BillWyman:    Yeah, he's a sweet man. We did some live shows in Europe which went down remarkably well.

AskBill:    bigdog says: who would you like to work with that you havent had the opportunity too

WotanCCC:    Another good one bigdog.

BillWyman:    Well, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davies of the Kinks, Stevie Winwood - they were all working when I was doing this, so they weren't available. Bonnie Raitt comes to mind. I'd like to use her.

WotanCCC:    That would be interesting.

AskBill:    jaymar66 says: are there any plans to re-release you early solo work?

BillWyman:    It's just being negotiated actually. Velvel are hoping to put that together this year.

WotanCCC:    Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists? Is there anyone currently doing work that you really admire?

BillWyman:    I haven't heard anybody that's really excited me for a while. I'm still waiting for someone with fresh ideas or a new style or something. I wish! Nothing has really seemed to happen too much in the last 15 years probably that's been really, really special to me.

AskBill:    bigdog says: hi bill are you going to tour canada and have any special guests show up to jam with you ?

BillWyman:    It's very difficult with a pickup band like this. They're all working individually, it's almost impossible to get them all together at the same time. And if I can, it's usually only for a short period of time, not for a tour abroad. We may just do the odd shows in Europe. Incidentally, I haven't flown since 1990. And I'm not walking there!

WotanCCC:    Thats a long walk. How do you feel rhythm and blues fits into the music of the 90's? And how would you compare the rhythm and blues scene in the 90's to that in the 60's?

BillWyman:    I think it's nice to portray roots music to young people in the same way that the Stones introduced Blues to young people in the 60's. It wasn't available to the general public at the time and I believe that very little is available to the general public at this time through the media (radio, tv, stuff like that). Especially like top 40 radio that dominates everything.

WotanCCC:    I think a lot of young musicians don't have a sense of "history" when it comes to rock. Many of them don't know where it comes from.

BillWyman:    Hear, hear! They should look further back musically and they'll find wonderful things. All modern blues bands seem to take their styles from the 60's and 70's. There's wonderful stuff back to the 30's if they look.

WotanCCC:    Good point.

AskBill:    tienshi says: do you have any special hobbies as music being your career

BillWyman:    Many, I love archeology and astronomy. I love photography. I run three very successful restaurants in England called Sticky Fingers. And I'm writing three books at the moment. My life is full! And I'm having babies!

WotanCCC:    I 've heard about your restaurants... What are your books about?

BillWyman:    One is a book on Archeology and early English History. I live in a house which is dated 1480 and it's full of history. The second book is about photography which features photos I've taken of the world famous artist Marc Chagall, a French artists. And the third is my second book on the history of the Rolling Stones. The first one came out in 1991. And that just covered the 60's. The new one will cover principally the 70's. A lot happened then. So much to squeeze in that I can't cover it all in one book. I like to give a lot to the fans so the book's become large.

WotanCCC:    Speaking of the Stones, would you mind answering some audience questions about your time with them?

BillWyman:    Yeah, go ahead.

AskBill:    ob1 says: how old were you when you got invovled with the rolling stones?

BillWyman:    I was older than the others. I was just 26. I'd been in the English military, the air force, where I'd heard Rock'n'Roll for the first time on American Forces Radio in Germany.

WotanCCC:    I always remember a quote I read from you saying you thought they hired you because they liked your amp.

BillWyman:    That wasn't my quote, that was other people's quotes, but I did have some very good amps which was a big help to them.

WotanCCC:    Ahhhh, I don't think the magazine exists anymore..so much for their integrity.

BillWyman:    I had a bass amp that was big like a wardrobe. Quotes have said that I brought electricity to the Stones when I joined.

AskBill:    bigdog says: i think your work has been great over the years do you miss the stones

BillWyman:    Not at all, but I do miss Charlie. He's a really good friend. I see him a lot when he's not working.

WotanCCC:    You two were certainly one of the great rhythm sections.

BillWyman:    And I see Woody quite a bit, too. I spoke to Mick in Japan last week, he called up to say "Hi!" I'm still great friends with them, but I have no interest in being in the band. I did it for 31 years. That was enough for me.

WotanCCC:    It must have been hard to leave something you did for so long.

BillWyman:    Well, Charlie often calls me from the tour or rehearsals and tells me he misses me which is nice. This is the Stones, it ain't Spinal Tap, so I won't be appearing.

WotanCCC:    LOL

AskBill:    heyday says: where is home for you now Bill? California? Britain? France?

BillWyman:    I live in England. I've never lived in America. I lived in France for 11 years. Loved France...couldn't stand the French.

WotanCCC:    Didn't you all move to France for Tax purposes?

BillWyman:    Yeah! We had no money in 1971. Thanks to Mr. Allen Klein of New York.

WotanCCC:    Amazing, that was a time of really good music for the Stones too no?

BillWyman:    It certianly was. '68 to '72 was a wonderful period. We produced four great albums, what I think of as the best albums of our career. Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street.

WotanCCC:    I think those are some of the best records of all time. An amazing body of work.

AskBill:    enigma413 says: Bill, do you find you have to work at your art form or do the songs come of their own power. Your sound is really good.

BillWyman:    No, I focus on it and then the music comes, much easier than when I previously did solo albums. Because now I can focus my full attention to them. In the past I had to do them in between Stones projects in bits and pieces.

AskBill:    chicky says: has your new album been released to the stores yet?

BillWyman:    Yes, in America it's been out an about four weeks now. It's been out in Europe since the end of the year and has been doing very well. Much better than I anticipated because it is, after all, uncommercial and it's traditional music.

WotanCCC:    I think there is a big blues contingent in the states. Quiet but big. I've been listening to the re-release of the London Howling Wolf sessions which you played on. That CD and the release of the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus both chronicle a very different time in rock. Do you have any thoughts you can share with us as to how rock has changed, both as music and an industry?

BillWyman:    Once again the less live music is being performed disappoints me. I would say 90% of music sold is computerized. We used no computerization on this record at all, no special effects, no trickery. It's a quality performance.

WotanCCC:    I agree, its a very real performance.

BillWyman:    Unfortunately people who make music on computers find it very hard to perform before an audience later. They also don't understand how to entertain visually which is very important.

AskBill:    jime1 says: Bill, is there an address that one can send mail to you at?

BillWyman:    There's a Sticky Fingers website in the UK that I have access to. You can find that with a search engine.

AskBill:    pscott says: I saw you play at the Manor House pub in 1963. is it still there?

BillWyman:    That's about the only old Stones venue that still exists - that we played in the early days.

WotanCCC:    And now for our last question of the day....

AskBill:    samsara says: I don't know about statistics, but from my experience, there are a lot of classic rock artists that influence and persuade the younger generation. Do you agree??

BillWyman:    Yes, I agree with them, but principally they're only going back to the 60's and 70's and they would find some really talented people that go back way beyond that time if they look, especially in blues music.

WotanCCC:    Back to some of the music that inspired you?

BillWyman:    Really the Chicago blues was the music that got me going and I've never looked back. The music that got me going was Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Walter. But I love any kind of quality music of any style or any era.

WotanCCC:    Very cool. Thanks so much Bill. Looks like our time is up... I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. Bill, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us. We all hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!

BillWyman:    Thans for everyone tuning in. I enjoyed it. Hope you like my roots music.

WotanCCC:    Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Bill Wyman. Don't forget to drop by the Artist Shop and explore all of their musical offerings. http://www.artist-shop.com Thanks again everyone...Have a good day.

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