Blessed Poison is the working title of the new Stones album, according to Charlie, as told in an interview in New York this spring. The release date is scheduled for September, in time for the tour, to start later that month.
Mick and Keith had done some song writing already, in Barbados, and they also brought in old and new material. By March 13 they had all arrived in Los Angeles. Keith had been around for some days already. Its all happening in West Hollywood, at Ocean Way Recording Studio, on 6050 Sunset Boulevard. The recordings had a short break in late March, when Don Was left to Europe for a week, to promote his new album. By April they have been back in studio.
Los Angeles is the perfect place to hide away for The Rolling Stones. Among hundreds of big celebrities, movie stars, Oscar winners, parties etc., who cares about some old rock stars? And if you have ever been there, you know why so little news have leaked out from the studio recordings. An area of 12 million people and 8 million cars, you may drive around for hours, and simply get lost, before you find out where Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie and the rest of the people are hanging around!
In March they did some raw experiments with new producers, to check out new ways of mixing stuff, and may be to have a new hit on the radio? Some people fear the Stones will bring in "new and dangerous" sounds like techno, disco or whatever. Hopefully the Stones are able to balance old roots with new techniques, so that on one hand we will not have status quo, but on the other hand, we will still have the Rolling Stones 100%.
Don Was is the executive producer on the new album, like he was on Voodoo Lounge and Stripped. Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds is brought in to work on some tracks. He is known as songwriter, producer and movie soundtracks, working with Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, TLC, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle and lots others.
The Dust Brothers (Beck's "Odelay", the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique") are brought in to give some new ideas and sounds, as well as mixer/producer Danny Saber (who has worked with U2). In an interview, one of the "Dust Brothers" John King states: "We're going to start doing three songs and see where it goes from there. "That's the way it started with the Beastie Boys, and that's the way it started with Beck." Mick wanted the Dust Brothers, as they would be perfect for some songs with heavier beats.
The Stones have been arriving at the Ocean Way Studio every afternoon, and immediately begin writing and recording rough demos. Very little have leaked out about what they do or who has been in there, but it seems confirmed that they work with Darryl Jones on this album too (never change a winning team). Eric Clapton has been putting down some guitar works already. Other musicians to work with the Stones in the L.A. studio are drummer Jim Keltner, backing vocalist Bernard Fowler, singer Blondie Chaplin, and keyboard player Bernie Worrell.
They did a ballad with Babyface, which everyone seems to be happy with. The Dust Brothers sound seems to be too experimental, but we just have to wait and see until the new album is out this fall to judge for ourselves!
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 28 - May 1997 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe