Nobody's coming out with an official pronouncement, but it looks more and more as though the Stones have stopped Rolling. As Spin says in its current issue, with the band having fewer and fewer reasons to stay together, "It's Almost Over Now."
Unlike many rock 'n' roll bands, the Rolling Stones have not always tied their tours to new releases, but one still might have expected the aging veterans to tour behind their first CBS album, "Dirty Work," since CBS had paid them many millions of dollars to leave Atlantic. The album went double platinum in its first few months, but sales have since dropped off; a summer tour would undoubtedly have provided a much-needed boost.
It has been some time now since singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards were bosom buddies, but tensions have apparently reached the crisis stage over Jagger's unwillingness to go on the road again (at least with the Stones) and his apparent interest in pursuing his solo career at the expense of the Stones. Some observers noted that the Jagger-Richards body slams in the Stones' recent video, "One Hit to the Body," seemed less acting than acting out. Call them the Grimmer Twins.
Jagger is reportedly already preparing for his second solo album and Richards is putting together a band to start work on what will be his first official solo album (CBS, Atlantic and Arista are all bidding for it). One of the intriguing rumors of the summer has Richards working with Bob Dylan once Dylan has finished his current tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; with the new rock stance that was evident in Dylan's recent Washington concerts, such a union could be rewarding for both parties.
Another hot rumor has Washington's Nils Lofgren, who has spent the last few years as Bruce Springsteen's guitarist in the E Street Band, joining Richards, at least in the studio. Of course, it should be remembered that 10 years ago Lofgren was reportedly considered as the replacement for guitarist Mick Taylor (other stories have him requesting an audition but not getting it before Ron Wood got the slot) and that, reflecting his influence and fandom, Lofgren once recorded a song called "Keith, Don't Go."
Still, Lofgren apparently didn't meet Richards until 1984 at a Springsteen show at the Meadowlands. One major problem for Lofgren: He has another solo album due in September or October, and there may be some work to do on new Springsteen songs that could be part of a multirecord live-studio package geared to the next Christmas season (at around the same time Dave Marsh's followup to the bestselling "Born to Run," titled "Glory Days," will be published by Pantheon/Knopf). In the meantime, Lofgren's own live double album, "Code of the Road," released in Europe only, is available in local stores as an import. At the Faces Reunion
As for other Stones, guitarist Ron Wood was recently in England to participate in the one-time reunion of the Faces. Afterwards Rod Stewart jokingly suggested to the press that the Faces might tour "now that his Wood's band has folded. And yours has, too," he added, pointing to Faces drummer Kenny Jones, who replaced the late Keith Moon in the Who. If nothing else, this suggests how inbred some of these British bands are. And yes, there is now serious talk of a Faces tour in the fall.
Word has been floating around New York that Wood has been taken off the Stones' payroll for the first time in 10 years, though Stones spokesman Jane Rose says there is no payroll. "They're all equal. When they work, they all get money; when they don't work, they don't get any money." At the same Faces reunion show, bassist Bill Wyman was asked if the Stones would welcome Jagger back. Wyman's answer: The Stones might not be there if and when Jagger wanted back in.
Meanwhile, drummer Charlie Watts continues to work in London with his 20-piece jazz band (which may make a single appearance at New York's Ritz), and Wyman has started to record his next solo record -- and to film Watts' shows (Wyman is a notorious archivist; the Stones' long and tumultuous history already is entered on computer).
And Richards and Wood recently went to Detroit to produce Aretha Franklin's "Jumpin' Jack Flash," the title cut from Whoopi Goldberg's next film, due in October. Richards, Franklin and Goldberg also made a video before Richards headed off to St. Louis to meet with director Taylor Hackford, who is putting together a Chuck Berry movie biography; Richards will be involved in the sound track, and will also be the music supervisor on "Love in Vain," the long-projected biofilm on legendary bluesman Robert Johnson.
Come to think of it, there's not much moss gathering under these guys after all.