The Rolling Stones Told Member: ‘Don’t Play That!’

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Darryl Jones, a highly respected bass player, recently reflected on his long tenure with The Rolling Stones and shared some insights into how the band members have guided him in playing their iconic bass parts.

Recognized as one of the top bassists in the rock ‘n’ roll scene, Jones has been working with the Stones as a touring and session musician, frequently receiving direction from the legendary Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. However, his role has not been limited to just following instructions; the band members have encouraged him to bring his own creative input to their music.

While speaking in an interview with Bass Player, Jones discussed how he prepared for his audition with the Stones by purchasing several of their Greatest Hits records and attempting to learn the basslines originally played by longtime bassist Bill Wyman.

Jones pointed out that while some bass parts were recorded by other members, such as Keith Richards, it was primarily Bill Wyman who played them live for many years.

Interestingly, Jones noted that the band did not insist on him replicating the basslines exactly as they were originally played. He recalled a rehearsal where he played Bill Wyman’s original bassline for the song “Respectable” from the 1978 album “Some Girls.” Mick Jagger’s reaction was telling.

Before the audition, I went out and bought a bunch of Stones Greatest Hits records and started trying to figure out some basslines,” Jones told Bass Player when asked how he learned the parts recorded by longtime Stones bassist Bill Wyman. “That really showed me, even before the audition, that there was no way I was really gonna be able to learn these basslines verbatim.”

Of course, some bass parts were recorded by other members, usually Keith Richards, but it was Bill’s duty for a very long time to perform them live. Darryl continued:

“But there are certain things that Bill and whoever was playing bass – Keith was on a bunch of it, Ronnie’s on some of it – did, that really are parts of songs. I try to cover those things, but I can’t think of any song that I really try to play exactly like Bill played, you know.”

“At one rehearsal, I figured out what Bill had played on ‘Respectable,’ and I started playing it, and Mick was like, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘This is what Bill played on the song,’ and he said, ‘No, don’t play that. Play what you hear.'”

In related news, The Rolling Stones rejected a famous new guitarist.