Sticky Fingers have spent the last 20 or so years touring the world, performing their legendary Rolling Stones tribute. Now they have released their own album, Like A Rolling Stone, and the Glen Carroll-led ensemble have created a record that sounds like what the Rolling Stones would sound like had they stuck to their heavy blues-tinged Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!-era sound. And it should sound like the Stones; the band on the album is a supergroup of musicians who have all played with the Stones, as well as many other rock and roll legends. It includes Waddy Wachtel on guitar, Kenny Aronoff on drums, Bobby Keys on sax, Ian McLagan on keys, Bernard Fowler on backup vocals, and Kenny Aaronson on bass.
Over 20 years in the making, the recordings are the culmination of Glen’s long time vision of where he wanted the band to go. I caught up with Glen and asked him about how the project finally came together.
How did you get such a renowned group of musicians together?
Creating this ensemble was really easier than you might think. All of the musicians have either recorded, toured, or both, with each other. It is nepotism at its best. A Darwinian talent selection of the “fittest and finest” finding its place in time and space.
You’ve been touring for many years; why did it take so long to get the debut Sticky Fingers album out?
I had a bet with Axl Rose about who could take longer recording their next album and I won. I’ve been writing songs for years and touring for more than a couple of decades. You hopefully learn a lot over the years. Admittedly, I took my sweet-ass time with this record but I recorded songs I like with guys whom I love. The rather lengthy gestation did allow the songs to evolve musically, like a fine wine. Given the choice between Chinese Democracy or Like A Rolling Stone, which would you say won? Just kidding. I love “The Axl.” I kid “The Axl.”
How does the writing process work for you?
Mostly I write songs one of two ways. I’ll either start with lyrics and add music later, or conversely, I’ll come up with music and then write lyrics for the song. Generally, the idea for a song will come from a phrase or a situation that describes a feeling that is familiar to me. Occasionally a song will jump into your head with both. That was the case with “I Miss The Good Times.” I was virtually humming it at the same time I wrote the lyrics. It would be nice if they all came that easily—that’s what she said! Sorry, I love The Office!
How would you describe your music?
Our root sound is a blend of British Invasion, hard based blues, a splash of edgy country, mixed in with traditional Americana toe-tapping, heart-pumping, tear-jerking, tongue-in-cheek, ass kicking rock and roll. There’s no denying we have a Stones-y energetic sound to our music. All of the musicians in this group have performed and/or recorded with the Rolling Stones. It’s a very small school and the membership is exclusive. It was a real dream when this group came together. Each musician’s contributions helped shape and hone this record into what it is today. I’m ever grateful to Kenny A, Bobby, Waddy, Kenny “Double A,” Bernard and Ian McLagan.
How did you start out with the band?
I was drumming for the band when we first began. We were going through several vocalists a month. Some guys could sing yet had no stage presence. Some guys had all the stage presence in the world but couldn’t sing. We also had tried out a couple of guys that may have been able to pull it off but they refused to work on religious holidays, their wedding anniversary, etc., or any occasion that they felt took precedence over our music. Vocalists can be a real pain in the ass. I guess “divas” exist outside the opera world!
And guitarists can have their own unique brand of artistic drama. Back in 1997, we got booked as musical guests on the Jenny Jones television show in Chicago. Right before the gig, the guitar player disclosed that he was afraid to fly and wasn’t going and hadn’t thought it pertinent to tell me. What he finally said was, “I guess it’s time I have to drop out of the band, man.” I had to replace him in 12 hours, get the flight info changed with the television station and rehearse with the new guy. That was an easy task. So then the new guy astonishingly leaves me hanging two months later. For whatever reason he didn’t show up for a flight toPanama, while the rest of the band was already on location. Finding a “replacement guy” fromPanama with zero notice sucked! The wannabes and never gonnabes that you have to deal with in the early years make you really appreciate the real cats if you’re lucky enough to last long enough!
I’m so extremely fortunate to work with these world class musicians who I can now call genuine friends. If you keep your nose to the grindstone long enough it doesn’t matter how hard the adjustment bureau tries to hold you back. You can get what you want when it is time.
Any plans for live shows with this group?
This record was recorded with the intention of performing it live. We have to work around a lot of other tours. John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stones, etc. I’ve already performed live with some of these guys but getting them all together is a bit like herding cats. We would prefer to have all the original artists—as would our fans—and that’s understandable. I was at Kenny Aronoff’s house last week and we were talking about touring for the future so our fans can expect some dates to support this record. We also discussed possibly recording a live album with new material that’s already written, along with some of the favorites from this album.
If you could ask Mick Jagger one question, what would it be?
Has anyone ever told you that you look like Glen Carroll?
You can get more information about Sticky Fingers, and the new album, at stickyfingersband.com and facebook.com/stickyfingersband.