Keith Richards credits Rolling Stones drummer with providing the inspiration for his solo band, the X-Pensive Winos. On November 13th, Richards will re-release his and the Winos' concert collection, Live From The Hollywood Palladium, which was recorded on December 15th, 1988.
During a chat with Rolling Stone, Keith Richards explained that with a pending break with the Stones, Watts tossed another drummer's name into the hat for Richards to jam with: “At that time in the '80s, Charlie Watts had said to me, 'It looks like there’s going to be a bit of a break coming up (for the Stones). And if you’re going to work with anybody else, Steve Jordan‘s your man.' So first off, the Winos are already created by Charlie Watts, in a weird way.”
Richards looked back at the very public split that found him and Mick Jagger sniping at each other in the press and devoting their time to very different solo projects: “What happened to Mick and I, at just about the same time, is somehow you kind of felt trapped with being just in the Rolling Stones. I mean, just joking, but what an extravagance. But at the same time, (we) were like that, and this period was for me, (it was great) to work with another bunch of guys totally differently. It was like, 'Hey, this reminds me of 15 years ago.' And I never expected to be able to pull such a lineup of musicians together.”
When pressed as to what makes a great guitar riff, Richards said, “It should be spontaneous and absolutely the guy that’s actually doing it shouldn’t know where it comes from. It just appears at your fingertips and is coming out of the instrument. And that is a great riff, totally unthought about, unstructured, no rules, no nothing. It’s just, one minute it ain’t there, and the next minute, there it is (sings 'Satisfaction' riff.)”
At the time he went solo, Keith Richards spoke about the strength of the X-Pensive Winos on the road: “I figured that with a band like that, that the only weak link would be me, because I'm pulling off a new job. But, I figured with the band that I had I could always fall back on that and we could always get into the music. And the voice croaked a bit for the first few dates. But it got better and better. And to me — I didn't know . . . I mean, either the voice was going to disappear totally, y'know, I'm gonna mime it (laughs) — or the voice would come back and I'd be able to. . . But it came back and it was okay. For the first bash of it, I was very happy with it, y'know?”