NEW YORK — Keith Richards had a goal when he was readying the release of his first solo album in two decades: Get his Rolling Stones bandmates excited about recording their own music.
“(The band is) going to get in the studio, which was one of my aims really of doing this (solo) one. (It) was, ‘Hey, Rolling Stones, you haven’t been in the studio for 11 years. ... It’s time to get in the studio,’” Richards said in an interview with The Associated Press last week.
The Stones’ last album was “A Bigger Bang” in 2005. Richards’ “Crosseyed Heart,” his first solo album since 1982, debuted at No. 11 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart this week.
The veteran guitarist said the Stones are his top priority, so when he found a small break from the band, he used the time to put out his own music and release a documentary, “Keith Richards: Under the Influence,” on Netflix.
“The thing is I work for this other band,” he said with a laugh, “and if they’re working and they’re on the road, there’s no way that I’m gonna put (out) anything personal or solo.
“So in a way it just so happened that this month the Stones have gone dormant for a while.”
The 71-year-old talked about songwriting, working on music with his bandmates and more.
Associated Press: So what’s happening with the upcoming Stones album?
Richards: It’s up here and out there at the moment, but at least they’ve decided, ‘Yes.’... I think they’ve been a bit scared of getting in the studio together. Well, we’re gonna see what comes out of that because after this amount of time off there’s obviously gonna be some rust to knock off, but at the same time, we’ve been working a lot on the road. The band is hot. I think hotter than I’ve actually ever heard them, and I think given the right material and everything, I hope they get them in the studio sometime within the — I don’t want to give any dates — but in the near future.
AP: How old are some of the songs on your new album?
Richards: I would say ‘Nothing on Me’ was written for ‘Bigger Bang,’ which was like 2004. I had already laid down ‘Illusion’ at the same time. Two or three of these songs were coming out of stuff I was writing for the Stones and then we reached our deadline there so these things were left over, so I said, ‘Well, that doesn’t mean they ain’t finished.’ As a songwriter you just pick up things, the deadline don’t matter. ... I’ve got songs lying around for 25 years and I still haven’t finished them.
AP: How did it feel to release both an album and a documentary in the same week?
Richards: One minute there’s nothing, then it’s BOOM! I’m still reeling and rocking from it all. One thing is to bring out a record, at the same time, to bring out this documentary was double duty. I’m waiting for paycheck! (Laughs.)
AP: Your album earned positive reviews — do you ever read those things?
Richards: I don’t want to be stroked too much. I’m interested in other people’s point of views at the same time. I’ve been beautifully stroked this week. I’m so glad people like it as much. Me? I’m just gonna make a record, you know, throw it out there and see, and then it’s up to everybody else to see how they feel about it. ... It’s been a bit mind-blowing, actually. It also gives me a little bit of leverage with the other guys. (Laughs.)
AP: Your last solo album, “Main Offender,” was released in 1992. Do you think your next solo album will come sooner rather than later?
Richards: The speed (that) this world’s going right now (laughs), I don’t think it’s gonna be another 20 odd years. I don’t think I have that much in me. But I loved making this record. ... I wouldn’t say, ‘It’s impossible.’ You know, I’d do another one in the next year or so. You can’t tell with me. Nor can I. (Laughs.)
AP: Why do you feel that Netflix was the best outlet to showcase your documentary?
Richards: Because it was there and because I know very, very little about outlets and inlets. ... I leave this to other people like Miss Jane Rose (his manager). I’m not a businessman particularly, I just happen to make lots of money. ... (Laughs.) Maybe that’s a way to be a businessman, I don’t know, but all I can say is I do what I do and I have the people that I trust and I love and have been around me for many years.
AP: Do you think you’d do a solo tour to support this album?
Richards: Given the way this one’s going and given the way it was made, I’m interested in continuing the process, yeah. Sometime next year. I mean, you’re rushing me. (Laughs.) But it’s a good idea. I’m thinking about it now.