Keith Richards Wants Another Collaboration with Tom Waits

Months after wrapping up a series of dates on the Rolling Stones Sixty Tour, commemorating the band’s six decades together, Keith Richards is already looking into his next project. That next album may involve another collaboration with Tom Waits.

“With Tom, it’s no sweat,” said Richards. “We didn’t have to do anything together, we just did it because we were together. Sometimes we write things together and sometimes we’ll have dinner or something. It’s an organic thing and great fun. I loved working with him and jeez, I’d do it again anytime Tom.”

Waits and Richards worked together several times over nearly four decades. Richards first played on several songs on Waits’ 1985 album Rain Dogs. The pair also collaborated a few years later when they co-wrote the song “That Feel,” featured on Waits’ 1992 album Bone Machine. “[For ‘Bone Machine’], we somehow ended up in Tom’s studio-playroom in California, somewhere near Monterey,” shared Richards. “We played around and fooled around. We sort of fell into each other and started to strum along.”

In 2013, the duo also recorded a rendition of the 19th-century folk song “Shenandoah” for the compilation Son of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.

Richards said he was also “incredibly humbled” after realizing that he was the only other person Waits had written songs with outside of his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and praised the couple. “Kathleen is a very important part of what he does,” said Richards. “They are a tight couple. I think he has only ever written with Kathleen – and me. I only ever found that out after the fact and I was incredibly humbled by that.”

He continued, “They are a hell of a duo to break into, man. She is a hidden genius. What a great thing for a couple to be able to do that. I can only think of one other married couple who did that, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote all those great songs for the Everly Brothers. Tom and Kathleen remind me of them, actually. In a way, what they do is a very traditional thing.”

The Rolling Stone continued his praise for Waits and his live performances. “He’s such a fantastic performer,” said Richards. “Out of nowhere, he pulls out little tricks, a little bit of shadow and movement and he’s got it. I wish he would do more live work. I know that he is a little wary of doing that but me and a lot of people would love to see that. At the same time, you can only do it when you want to do it.”

The 79-year-old rocker added, “Tom’s music is so American — probably more folk-American than anything, but somehow modern,” said Richards. “He’s a weird mixture of stuff, a great bunch of guys.”

Both nearly reunited at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert at Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles in April.

“I spoke to him a couple of months ago,” said Richards. “There was a point where he was going to be at the Willie Nelson birthday party concert. I was looking forward to that, but it didn’t happen. We’re in touch. I have letters from him in his beautiful writing hanging on the wall.”

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