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Name: devilsadvocate
Subject: Mick Taylor Interview (looong post.)
Date: Thursday, January 07, 2010
Time: 10:41:15 AM
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Message ID: 250651
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Thread ID: 250651

Mick Taylor Interview (looong post.)

In a recent thread, a poster (I'm sorry, I don't remember who it was) alluded to a Mick Taylor interview they had read in which he refers to song writing credits. I have a Mick T interview from the April 1992 issue of Guitarist magazine which may be the one that was referred to. It's a really interesting interview and I thought I would share parts of it in case people here are interested in what Mick T has to say about various things.

On listening to music:

I started listening to music when I was six or seven years old. The first stuff I heard was rock'n roll, Elvis Presley, which I immediately liked, but when I later realised that the music was actually indigenous black American music, I wanted to hear the original versions. So by the time I was a teenager, I was buying as many R&B records as I could afford.
Guitar-based blues was the main thing, and the stuff I liked the most of all was modern Chicago blues, as opposed to the traditional, folk kind of blues; it was Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. (…) B.B King was one of my really big influences on the guitar, and Eric Clapton was the other one. I used to go and watch Clapton playing with John Mayall, and he was the first English guy I ever heard who had a genuine, instinctive feeling for playing the blues, which really gave me a lot of encouragement. (…)

On playing with John Mayall for the first time:

I actually sat in with John Mayall back when I was about fifteen years old. Eric Clapton was supposed to be playing with him at the time but he didn't show up for the gig, so since I was in the audience, I went backstage and asked if I could play. He said I could, and he was obviously impressed enough to get in touch with me when Peter Green left. So I got the gig more or less automatically, but joining John Mayall was a real education in learning about blues, because he had the most amazing record collection. (…)

On playing with Jimi Hendrix:

(…) I played with him quite a bit, but unfortunately there aren't any recordings (…) Mind you, when I played with Hendrix I didn't exactly do too much – I just kind of played rhythm guitar, and listened to him! He's the only guitar player I've ever been completely, utterly in awe of. He was the most amazing guitar player, he really was. Absolutely incredible.

On his favourite Stones albums:

My favourite Stones albums are "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street", no doubt about it. As for favourite tracks, there are quite a few; I like "Stop Breaking Down", and then there's "Sway" and "Brown Sugar"… and "Honky Tonk Women", I suppose, because that's the first thing I ever did with them. And there's an instrumental jam on "Sticky Fingers" on the end of a song called "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" – one of those things which wasn't pre-arranged, they just left the tape rolling, so that's how it ended up on the album. (…)
On second thoughts, possibly my favourite Stones album is "Beggars Banquet" because I think it's got the best collection of rock'n roll songs that they ever wrote. And it's got that constant acoustic guitar running through it, and I love that – nobody seems to do it too much any more. Come to think of it, nearly every single track I did with the Stones had an acoustic guitar there, whether it ended up in the final mix or not. And it wasn't just on the ballads, either, it could be a song like "Street Fighting Man", and that's such a powerful sound. On that one they recorded the acoustic guitar and the drums onto a small cassette machine, and then that was put on to 24-track. It's such a strange sound, but a really great sound too.

On the '69 tour:

(…) So as far as playing the States was concerned I was more used to it than they were, because they'd just taken a three-year break from playing live. And it's interesting, because the last time the Stones had played America had been before the advent of large PA and monitor systems, right back when everyone was screaming so much that they couldn't hear themselves play. So when I joined it was the first time they'd had a huge PA system, and the first time they could hear themselves play. It made a big difference (…)
But the craziest thing about that particular tour, of course, was the way it ended at Altamont; apart from that, it was a normal rock'n roll tour, by most standards. But the Altamont situation was very, very scary (…) we had absolutely no control over organising it or the security arrangements or anything else – it was just left up to some people in San Francisco to get it together.
And it was horrendous, because it wasn't properly organised. There was a massive crowd that had been waiting there all day, and one of the main reasons why it all went wrong was that the stage was only about four feet off the ground. It was ridiculous, really stupid. I mean, it was even lower than the stage in your average club. (…) Well, we had to [keep on playing]. We were terrified of things getting even more out of control if we stopped, you see. It wasn't a very enjoyable gig.

Not a very enjoyable gig… Mick Taylor, king of the understatement! :)

On the lack of song writing credits being the reason why he left the Stones:

Oh, that's completely true, although that's not the whole reason why I left. But I was particularly dissatisfied with not getting credit for maybe three or four songs – not any of the best-known Stones songs, but ones like "Sway", and "Moonlight Mile", and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", and "Time Waits for No One"… Those four, basically. I co-wrote those songs with Mick Jagger, and Keith wasn't even in the studio at the time. Bill Wyman had even taken me aside and warned me that this was the way things had been and the way they were going to stay – he's had exactly the same problem himself.
But that's the way things worked, and I kind of reacted against it – well, I over-reacted, really. It was certainly a source of discontent. And it sounds kind of strange to tell people about it now, especially in the light of what the Stones have done since then (…)

On leaving the band:

You see, around the time I left in '74, the group was almost falling apart anyway; there were real doubts as to whether they'd carry on. Not because I was leaving, but because Mick and Keith weren't getting on, and Keith's drug problem was particularly bad at the time – as was my own. It all got very self-indulgent and out of control, and being in the Stones put you in a very privileged position, the kind of position where if you did want to abuse yourself then you could, because, after all, money was no object. And I didn't like the whole scene that surrounded the Stones, the people and so on, even though the actual band were very close and always got along fine.

There's a lot more, of course, but I think these are the most interesting parts. I also have another, shorter interview of Mick Taylor from a 2000 issue of the same magazine. I could also post the most interesting parts if there is any interest. :)

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