Just as he has been doing for two decades as the Rolling Stones' bassist, Bill Wyman stood quietly apart at a small reception yesterday afternoon at the Madison Hotel. Radio and record people gathered, ostensibly to congratulate him on his A&M solo disc ("Si Si Je Suis un Rock Star"), but actually to shake hands and have their photos taken with a real, live rock 'n' Rolling Stone legend. Wyman was amused.

"They're curious; they don't know how to approach me," said the oldest Stone (he's 45). "Where I live in France, people don't treat me this way . . . That's my sanity."

Wyman seemed surprised at hearing of the shooting death of a fan outside the Capital Centre Tuesday night, but he was careful to distance the Stones from the violence. "It's always outside, isn't it," he said, almost resignedly. "We've managed to control the hysteria inside, but what goes on outside is something totally separate from what we can control. We had the same thing in New Orleans, somebody hung themselves . . . outside, but it always gets hung up with you."

The Stones, who have been recording live the last two nights, are still "all insecure inside," Wyman claimed. "Mick is, Keith is, Charlie is, we're all thinking, 'Am I really good enough to be in this band?' But we've each got four people we can lean on. We're still learning, still improving."

Wyman leaned forward. "Tonight will be better."