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Ronnie Wood – Some Girls Radio Special
Transcript Cue Sheet
1. Can you give us some background to ‘Some Girls’, what was happening in the
band around the time?
There were lots of developments happening during that time within the Stones, there
was lots of experimenting, lots of songs in ‘A’ for instance, Mick would come in and
go, “Hey Ronnie, what do you reckon of this one? (sings) ‘She’s So
Respectable’”…you know, in ‘A’…and you know, we had ‘Summer
Romance’….things like ‘Whip Comes Down’…another one in ‘A’. But another thing
we had at the time was, “More fast numbers!”, that was our catchphrase, “We can’t
bore the people with like mid-tempo or ballads, we want to kick a little bit of rock n’
roll!”. And we were thinking very kind of punk, which was in the air at the time and
also there was this thing called disco that was in the air but to us it was just another
beat, and that’s how come we made songs like ‘Miss You’, we thought yeah we can
make songs with that beat.
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IN: “THERE WERE LOTS OF...”
OUT: “...WITH THAT BEAT.”
2. This was your first album as a “full time” Rolling Stone, how did it feel to finally
become a fully-fledged member of the band?
After we initiated me kind of with the ‘It’s Only Rock n’ Roll’ experience which we
recorded at my house ‘The Wick’ in Richmond, around ’73/’74, my next initiation was
‘Black and Blue’ where I got suddenly whipped in among all these other guitar
players, and then ‘Some Girls’ became my first participation right from the beginning
to the end of an album, you know, so that was my first initiation, so it was proper fullon
and unknown to me we ended up making three albums in those EMI studios.
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IN: “AFTER WE INITIATED...”
OUT: “EMI STUDIO.”
3. Punk and disco were both exploding at the same time the album was being
recorded, were you aware of them musically was that something the band
wanted to tap into?
We weren’t really aware at the time of punk or disco, we were trapped in the studio
environment. All we did was....we were there day in and day out creating, but some
of the punk feel seeped through the walls of the studio. And we were punk anyway,
and writing about things that were happening at the time. But Mick knew all about
you know, what was going on and he would cleverly write them into the words of the
song at the time. And the few times we did get to go out to clubs, there was this very
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disco-y thing in the air and we just regarded that disco beat as just another beat, it
was another variation of an African tribal beat.
TITLE: RW Q3
IN: “WE WEREN’T REALLY AWARE...”
OUT: “...AFRICAN TRIBAL BEAT.”
4. What was it like for you to start working with Keith as your new teammate in the
Stones, how did the pair of you manage to slot together so well?
Keith and I at the time did a lot of knuckling down, we really enjoyed playing together
all the time we’d be playing all the time in the studio, even during the break we’d be
playing, we’d carry our guitars around, back at the hotel, back in our rented
apartments, wherever we were, we were playing completely and weaving, you know,
Keith and I were exponents of this art form called ‘the ancient form of weaving’,
which meant talking, two nutcases talking to each other through their guitars, and we
became quite melodic with it with songs like ‘Beast of Burden’, that was a classic
illustration of the weaving.
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IN: “KEITH AND I AT THE TIME...”
OUT: “...CLASSIC ILLUSTRATION OF THE WEAVING.”
5. How did recording with the Stones differ from recording with the other bands
you’ve been in?
Well going straight into the Stones world at the time was a completely different
experience for me in that I’d never worked so intensely before, on a project. The
Faces for instance, we’d go in and everyone would be jangling their car keys,
immediately in the studio, like, sort of “When are we going, can we go now?” You
know, there wasn’t a lot of dedication, there was dedication to cut the track but once
that was over it was like, “Well, let’s go then”. With the Stones, there was this
dedication of playing the song over and over and over and letting it go through its
changes, it’s a bit like working on a painting, you’d do the initial thing, sit with it for a
few hours, go back to it and add a bit and come back the next day and change it
around a bit, and then go, “Oh I think I might change the background you know, the
colour”. Whatever it was, we were doing that with the songs, and developing the
songs in a unique way, the Stones had this kind of thing that I had in me but I’d
never really got down to it to such an extent as they did. So Keith was my perfect
sparring partner to work and re-work and then we’d go back and listen and re-listen
and listen and listen and then go back and put it into practice.
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IN: “WELL, GOING INTO THE STONES WORLD...”
OUT: “....GO BACK AND PUT IT INTO PRACTICE, YOU KNOW.”
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6. Tell me about recording ‘Some Girls’ in Paris. What do you remember about
those recording sessions in 1977?
Well in recording sessions we were on the floor so to speak, all the time, actually
plugged in with our instruments hanging round our necks, and there would be all
kinds of side shows coming in, like wallflowers, there’d be all different bands coming
in. You know there was all different French bands, all different actors, actresses,
people coming round the outside, while we were just knuckling down, sort of “Sorry, I
ain’t got time to talk right now’, run over give somebody a kiss, go back, “Take 25!”.
You know, it was nose to the grindstone all the time. And time off was very rare,
when I did get back to my apartment or the hotel, Keith would bang the door down
and drag me out of bed, “Nobody sleeps while I’m awake!”. Me and Charlie used to
laugh about that. Poor old Bill, we’d be in the studio days and days out and he’d get
there kinda in the evening after going out for a meal and he’d say, “You guys are still
in here from two nights ago!” You know, we’d had our meal brought in!
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IN: “WELL, IN RECORDING SESSIONS WE WERE...”
OUT: “....WE HAD OUR MEAL BROUGHT IN.”
7. What was the feeling like in the Rolling Stones at the time of recording and
writing ’Some Girls’? It seems as though it really re-invigorated the Stones sound.
Did it feel like that to you at the time too?
At the time there were no restrictions, with the energy put in to the album, I was
coming out with all these ideas and singing and background vocals and coming up
with all these ideas and it was a great sense of freedom you know, anything goes.
You put it into the melting pot and see what comes out and everyone was agreeable
with that you know Mick was great fun to work with and that was the beginning of the
separate…kinda, well, Keith started to get his own songs, that he wanted to put his
own stamp on. After songs like ‘Happy’ that he’d done in the Exile days which was
before my time folks, Keith kept it going with songs like ‘Before They Make Me Run’
which set a whole new precedent. Before that there was only ‘You Got The Silver’
and ‘Happy’ that I can remember that he’d done with a solo emphasis within the
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IN: “AT THE TIME THERE WERE ...”
OUT: “....SOLO EMPHASIS WITHIN THE BAND.”
8. Unusually for a Stones album, it was just the core band playing on the sessions
rather than having a whole host of other musicians. With the exception of your old
Faces band-mate Ian McLagan and a couple of others, the album was down to
the five of you. How did that contribute to the ‘Some Girls’ sound?
At the time we never stopped grafting, to the point we didn’t look up much and we
didn’t realise it was just the band (laughs). We were enjoying ourselves and creating
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so much that when we looked up we realised that apart from Ian McLagan, my old
sparring partner from the Faces and Stu, we hadn’t had any other help…apart from
this musician Mick found in the French subway, Sugar Blue. A great harmonica
player, he could use one harmonica and play in any key with that harp. Yeah, a very
talented boy. And a great find.
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IN: “AT THE TIME WE NEVER...”
OUT: “....AND A GREAT FIND.”
9. Let’s talk about your thoughts on some of the individual tracks from the original
album...first, ‘Miss You’....
‘Miss You’ was…it came about a bit like a brainchild of Mick, we had a beat going,
you know and a riff (sings) do do doo do do do dooo, you know, that kind of haunting
riff and then Mick would take it off and go into falsetto which was quite a head turner
at the time you know because he did a lot of songs like ‘Emotional Rescue’
afterwards, but that was the beginning of a new style of falsetto singing that I’d heard
from Mick and I don’t know, there was kind of a stomping bass riff that Bill put down
which was really nice, it went along with Charlie’s drums great, Keith and I were
weaving away. Mick wrote a lot of songs (that were) piano based as well, you know.
TITLE: RW Q9
IN: “MISS YOU WAS...”
OUT: “.....OF SONGS PIANO-BASED AS WELL.”
10. ’Some Girls’
‘Some Girls’, the track itself, was the epitome of our punky attitude at the time I
suppose. Looking back, it was just another track with attack you know, with some
balls behind it. Now I look back, it can be construed as a very punky approach
because when I look at the film that came out to promote this reissue of ‘Some Girls’,
with the twelve bonus tracks, there’s a great energy, punky energy from the Fort
Worth concert which is on film. I watched it the other day and it was very full of
energy. At the time, it was just another gig but I didn’t realise how energy-full the
band was at that time…and how just a raw core of just the band with Mac and
Stu…there was no brass section and no background singers at the time.
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IN: “SOME GIRLS, THE TRACK ITSELF...”
OUT: “.....BACKGROUND SINGERS AT THE TIME.”
11. ’Far Away Eyes’...
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‘Far Away Eyes’ was a great experiment for me to use my helicopter, the pedal steel
because I’m using both feet, both hands and trying to keep this ten-string thing with
pedals and knee pedals and wah-wahs, volume pedals...yeah, trying to keep this
thing under control! So it was a great experiment and I loved Mick’s delivery of his
country and western kinda ‘Bakersfield’ preacher approach. That was very new to
me and it was a laugh at the time and joining in on the choruses as well.
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IN: “FAR AWAY EYES WAS A GREAT...”
OUT: “.....IN ON THE CHORUSES AS WELL.”
12. ’Just My Imagination’...
We loved ‘Just My Imagination’ because we loved all the catalogue from the
Motown, we loved The Temptations, we loved The Impressions we loved The
Miracles we loved all of that…The Four Tops, but the thing is David Roffey and I had
been very close with The Faces through Rod Stewart and him and Bobby Womack,
Eddie Kendricks and that, they used to come along to the Cobo Hall in Detroit so we
were very at home in Detroit with The Faces so it was like a coming home point...for
the Stones as well because apart from Chicago being the home of the blues, we had
the Motor City as a great influence from soul and so when we did songs like ‘Just My
Imagination’ that was a tribute, our tribute to great bands like The Tempations.
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IN: “WE LOVED JUST MY IMAGINATION...”
OUT: “.....TO GREAT BANDS LIKE THE TEMPTATIONS.”
13. ’Beast of Burden’...
‘Beast of Burden’ is very special riff-wise to Keith and I ‘cos it was something we
didn’t have to talk about in the playing of the song. We just spoke through the guitars
and it was marvellous to see the different shapes that it took on and Keith and I
would go back and listen to playback and we wouldn’t know which one of us was
playing which guitar and Keith would say, “Oh, I like that, that was me!” I’d say, “No it
wasn’t, it was me!” And Keith would say “You’re coming out of the right-hand
speaker” and I’d say “No, you’re coming out of that one, I’m coming out of the left!”,
you know and he was going “No, that’s ME!” So it was really funny but in the end we
went ‘Oh, who cares, you know, it sounds like one guitar”. That’s what we were
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IN: “BEAST OF BURDEN IS VERY...”
OUT: “.....WHAT WE WERE AIMING AT.”
14. ‘When the Whip Comes Down’...
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‘When the Whip Comes Down’ was a lovely raucous, Mick-style delivery S&M song
you know (laughs), like you do. We just loved the beat and the wildness of just
playing it you know; in ‘A’ and another middle eight, which was always a risk. It was
up to me to try and control the middle eights to all the different songs that were in ‘A’
and to remember them…because when it came to playing them live it was really
funny ‘cos “Argh! How does this middle eight go compared to that other one in ‘A’ or
those other twelve songs in ‘A’ with other middle eights?!” Yeah it was really funny.
Eyes down and meet you at the end!
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IN: “WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN WAS A...”
OUT: “.....EYES DOWN AND MEET YOU AT THE END.”
15. Now for the bonus tracks on the new re-mastered version of ‘Some Girls’. There
are twelve all together – tell us how you became aware of these hidden gems...
Regarding the bonus tracks, when Mick played them to me I heard some over the
phone and he sent me some via email and I downloaded them and as I gradually
listened to some of the new songs, the memories came flooding back and I would go
“Oh! I remember that one!” You know and Mick said “You wrote one of them, Woody”
and I went “Oh did it go like this!” you know, and he’d say (sings) “Badabadadadada…”
‘When You’re Gone’, that. I remember writing the riff and then
immediately forgetting it, being engulfed with so many other riffs and songs that we
were being hit with all the time. So hearing all the new songs as they gradually came
through that Mick sent me, I was pleasantly surprised, really.
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IN: “REGARDING THE BONUS TRACKS...”
OUT: “.....I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED REALLY.”
16. There are four we would like to hear more about ...first, ‘Keep Up Blues’...
I heard ‘Keep Up Blues’ the other day and I thought “Wow, is that me on guitar?!” I
do not remember doing that and I have to re-learn it. That’s what I mean about these
songs, they all run into one vein and very special memories. It’s some kind of (sings)
‘ba-bl-idl-adlidl’ and some kind of thing I’m doing with the guitar and I thought I must
try and remember that. And I love challenges…and it would a challenge to play that
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IN: “I HEARD ‘KEEP UP BLUES’ THE OTHER DAY...”
OUT: “......TO PLAY THAT LIVE.”
17. ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’
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I think ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’ is very melodic and a very sweet song and I hadn’t
heard it with words but going back to the 70’s when we cut the original tracks that
were on the back burner, which are now gonna see the light of day, it’s great to hear
it with words…it’s a very nice melody.
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IN: “I THINK ‘DON’T BE A STRANGER’...”
OUT: “.....VERY NICE MELODY.”
18. ‘So Young’
‘So Young’ I love because it’s another gay abandon song and it’s got all that freedom
that Mick had at the time with his delivery. I love Mick’s delivery on a lot of the bonus
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IN: “SO YOUNG I LOVE BECAUSE...”
OUT: “.....ON A LOT OF THE BONUS SONGS.”
19. ‘No Spare Parts’
‘No Spare Parts’ is the only one I fiddled with because Mick rang me up and said,
“Do you think you could do the pedal steel again Ronnie because the sound isn’t that
good on the original track?” No, it’d be a pleasure! So I had to dig up my pedal steel
and I said it would be good to get it working again and oil the machinery so I took it
out and we did it at Matt Clifford’s studio in Chelsea. That’s the only overdub I did
and I just did it in one take and Mick said “Yeah, that’s perfect are you happy with it?”
and I said, “Yeah, let’s go, keep a live feel” (laughs). It was strange to re-visit that
track ‘No Spare Parts’ because we didn’t work on it much at the time. It was one of
those ones like a painting, a work in progress to be re-visited and sure enough, we
re-visited it and didn’t spend much time varnishing it! (laughs)
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IN: “NO SPARE PARTS IS THE ONLY...”
OUT: “.....MUCH TIME VARNISHING IT (LAUGHS).”
20. The artwork for ‘Some Girls’ is amazing – what did you think of it at the time?
I remember the artwork for the ‘Some Girls’ album cover coming through with all
these weird ideas of us dressing up in drag and stuff and I remember it was quite a
funny photo shoot. I mean because at the time, there was so much going on and we
were all so out of our brains…I think we had a few photo shoots where we all
dressed up in make-up and wigs and stuff and then the rest were just collage. I like
the artwork approach with it, the ‘40’s hairdresser and pin-up girls. I love that. A
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friend of mine has collected a huge amount of the memorabilia from the promotion at
the time in the late 70’s of the ‘Some Girls’ album.
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IN: “I REMEMBER THE ARTWORK...”
OUT: “.....OF THE SOME GIRLS ALBUM.”
21. What are your thoughts on the people who helped you find the sound for the
Some Girls album such as engineer Chris Kimsey...
Chris Kimsey brought a very sweet kind of down-to-earth flavour to the albums we
recorded at the time because I saw him at the 100 Club only a few months ago and
he said “Yeah Ronnie, remember we were doing ‘Some Girls’?” and I went “Oh yeah,
it was you wasn’t it!” and he said “What do you mean, of course it was me! We did
‘Tattoo You AND ‘Emotional Rescue’ as well and I went “Oh yeah, that’s right Chris,
you were like a breath of fresh air!” Because he wasn’t like a slave-driving coproducer,
he was an engineer and he’d put his ideas and try and have some control
over us nutcases out there in the studio like, with all these ideas coming out like
cartoon characters. It was mad energy in there and he’d have some kind of
controlling down-to-earth viewpoint when we’d go in for playback. He would
absolutely enjoy himself which was lovely. Chris Kimsey, good man.
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IN: “CHRIS KIMSEY BROUGHT A VERY SWEET...”
OUT: “.....CHRIS KIMSEY, GOOD MAN.”
22. What did Don Was bring to the re-mastering process?
Don Was has a wonderful feel with music as we’ve always gone back to using him –
over the past five albums or so. He has a very professional ear, he knows what he
wants, he knows how to get it out of us and he knows if something’s there not to
bother us, you know he doesn’t make work when there’s no work required you know.
If he’s got the raw materials there to deal with he’ll say, “It’s OK, I’ve got it, you’ve
done it”. That’s a nice thing to have, a nice relationship to have with a fellow
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IN: “DON WAS HAS A WONDERFUL FEEL...”
OUT: “.....WITH A FELLOW MUSICIAN.”
23. What makes the ‘Some Girls’ album stand out to you?
‘Some Girls’ to me stands out as a kind of a forgotten gem. I didn’t realise how good
and how free the band was and are. I mean, it’s one of the few albums that I can
say, on looking back, that we could go on and play nine of the ten original songs or
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something, on the original album without thinking about it – live! Which is quite
unique with Stones albums and with any band really, you very rarely get a band to
play ninety percent of the songs live, that they’ve put on an album. And on looking
back it’s something that Mick and I realised recently and went wow, you know…and
Charlie…’cos Keith being in America, I haven’t had a chance to talk to him much
personally about the album and I’m looking forward to doing that in a few weeks
time. I’m sure that we’ll all look back at the ‘Some Girls’ album (with) very fond
memories and very crazy memories and relish those times. And I think if the Stones
ever work again, if we can re-create eighty percent of that energy that we had going
at the time of ‘Some Girls’, we’d be doing all right.
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IN: “SOME GIRLS TO ME STANDS...”
OUT: “.....WE’LL BE DOING ALL RIGHT.”
24. If you had to describe ‘Some Girls’ to someone who had yet to hear it, what
would you say?
I would describe ‘Some Girls’ to somebody who hadn’t heard it, I would say, “Hey, do
you fancy rocking, do you fancy hearing some pure unadulterated rock n’ roll music?
Then, listen to this!”
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IN: “I WOULD DESCRIBE ‘SOME GIRLS’ ...”
OUT: “......LISTEN TO THIS!”