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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK


Bill Wyman tours memory lane

Bill Wyman with his wife Suzanne Accosta

By the BBC's Nigel Packer

Former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman returns to the British stage later this month for the first time since leaving the band in 1992.

Bill Wyman explains why he doen't miss being on the road
The 62-year-old is taking his 12-piece band the Rhythm Kings on the road for what promises to be a nostalgic tour of intimate venues.

The rock musician says he is looking forward to playing smaller UK venues after years of stadium gigs with the Rolling Stones.

"It's the first time I've played some of these places since 1966," he says.

"That was the last time the Stones did package tours around England."

The tour is something of a surprise to Wyman, who thought his days on the road were long over.

"I didn't intend to play live with this band, but we were asked to do a few gigs in Europe and they went so well it really inspired me.

"It was like being back in the 1960s, it was naive and magical."

'Magnificent' musicians

[ image: Bill Wyman (far right) on stage with the Rolling Stones in 1990]
Bill Wyman (far right) on stage with the Rolling Stones in 1990
Georgie Fame, Albert Lee and Gary Brooker are among the "really magnificent" musicians Bill Wyman has gathered for his band The Rhythm Kings.

The tour will highlight tracks from recent album Anyway The Wind Blows - a collection of classic covers and songs written by Wyman.

"The songs I've written complement the type of music we're doing -1930s bluesy jazz jump tunes like Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway used to do. We couldn't do something like Je Suis Un Rock Star!"

'It wasn't like us anymore'

Bill Wyman says he will never retire
Strangely the Rhythm Kings are touring the UK at the same time as his former band The Rolling Stones.

"It's a total accident," says Bill, who has been to see the Stones once since leaving the band at Wembley.

"I'd never seen The Stones before, so it was quite interesting," he says.

"But I didn't have any feelings about wanting to be up there. It didn't cross my mind. It wasn't like us any more, it was like me and them."

Wyman says he has no regrets about leaving the Rolling Stones in 1992.

[ image: Wyman says touring Europe
Wyman says touring Europe "was like being back in the 1960s"
"I really miss the travelling and boring hotel rooms and not being able to go out," he jokes.

"I did it for 31 years and decided I'm not going to do it any more. There's nothing more to miss."

He's still in touch with the others, especially Charlie Watts, but his own touring commitments will prevent him getting to see them live in June.

Wyman's favourite albums

Wyman believes there were four great Rolling Stones albums - Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street.

They are his favourites because they were "much more bluesy and R'n'B".

The musician says he listens to every type of music at home "even some new stuff, although it's hard sometimes".

"When I hear something I tend to think that's like The Doors, or there's a lot of Beatles stuff around. I can't get excited when I've got the originals."

And as for his own career, he says he will keep on playing "until I drop - like Tommy Cooper".

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Wyman tours the UK