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Keith's Q&A with CMJ

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  • Keith's Q&A with CMJ

     

    For the past 25 years, whenever Keith Richards wasn't churning out Rolling Stones guitar rifts, he would often relax in Jamaica playing impromptu music in the living room of his villa with an ad hoc group of Rastafarian musicians. Recently, Richards produced and played on "Wingless Angels", an album of Rastafarian nyabinghi drumming and chanting. I caught up with Richards in a four-star hotel along the tour route, and somehow resisted the temptation to ask him about heroine, about Margaret Trudeau, or whether he was lying down or sitting up when he wrote the rift to "Tumbling Dice." Instead-perhaps because it was only an hour past sunset-I got a candid conversation about Rastafarianism, Jamaican music and hoe time's on his side.

    Question: So what is it about Rastafarianism that you embrace?

    Answer: To me, Rastafarianism, you don't have to think about it. You just go to this place. It's in the moment. When I'm with the brothers [in the Wingless Angels], it's just blessings and I and I [makes hugging motion], and it's no you and me. There's an old Rasta saying, "To think it to stink," you know. "To feel is everything." And that's how it is.

    Question: What can you tell us about the actual drums themselves that the Wingless Angels play?

    Answer: The guy that made the drums for me, I had a new set made in 1975 by a guy named Bongo, down in Kingston. Great old Rasta, and he made these drums for me. He said, "These are very good drums, but they won't reach their sound for 20 years." I thought, "Well, that's a long way, but they sound pretty good now." And you know what, right on the button, [Wingless Angels] was recorded in 1995! The drums have always sounded good over the years, and always getting' to sound better every year. That was another reason I had to wait [to make the record] -the drums weren't ready!

    Question: Why is this record so special to you?

    Answer: It took 25 years to make it, I realized. To actually make the record was only a few months, but I realize that the whole process of how it came about was started in 1972. And that's the longest project I've been in, except the Rolling Stones!"

    Posted by: WebCrew
WebCrew's picture
on March 01, 1998

 

For the past 25 years, whenever Keith Richards wasn't churning out Rolling Stones guitar rifts, he would often relax in Jamaica playing impromptu music in the living room of his villa with an ad hoc group of Rastafarian musicians. Recently, Richards produced and played on "Wingless Angels", an album of Rastafarian nyabinghi drumming and chanting. I caught up with Richards in a four-star hotel along the tour route, and somehow resisted the temptation to ask him about heroine, about Margaret Trudeau, or whether he was lying down or sitting up when he wrote the rift to "Tumbling Dice." Instead-perhaps because it was only an hour past sunset-I got a candid conversation about Rastafarianism, Jamaican music and hoe time's on his side.

Question: So what is it about Rastafarianism that you embrace?

Answer: To me, Rastafarianism, you don't have to think about it. You just go to this place. It's in the moment. When I'm with the brothers [in the Wingless Angels], it's just blessings and I and I [makes hugging motion], and it's no you and me. There's an old Rasta saying, "To think it to stink," you know. "To feel is everything." And that's how it is.

Question: What can you tell us about the actual drums themselves that the Wingless Angels play?

Answer: The guy that made the drums for me, I had a new set made in 1975 by a guy named Bongo, down in Kingston. Great old Rasta, and he made these drums for me. He said, "These are very good drums, but they won't reach their sound for 20 years." I thought, "Well, that's a long way, but they sound pretty good now." And you know what, right on the button, [Wingless Angels] was recorded in 1995! The drums have always sounded good over the years, and always getting' to sound better every year. That was another reason I had to wait [to make the record] -the drums weren't ready!

Question: Why is this record so special to you?

Answer: It took 25 years to make it, I realized. To actually make the record was only a few months, but I realize that the whole process of how it came about was started in 1972. And that's the longest project I've been in, except the Rolling Stones!"

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