How Kenney Jones Ended Up Playing Drums on the Rolling Stones’ ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll’
In a new interview with iHeartRadio Music News (via Noise11), the Faces and Who drummer explains how he ended up with the gig. And not so surprisingly, his fellow Faces bandmate and soon-to-be Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood was involved.
Apparently Watts was nowhere around in December 1973, when the group was ready to record his drum parts for the song, which ended up as the title track to their No. 1 1974 album. "I don't know where Charlie was," said Jones. "I think he might have been in the south of France."
It wasn't uncommon for Wood to just call Jones in to play whenever a drummer was needed. "[He] would always call me up as soon as I got one foot into bed," recalled Jones. "It was quite late. He'd call me up and say, 'Kenney, we haven't got a drummer. Can you come around and play on this?' I gave Ronnie one of my drum kits so the drum kit was permanently set up there in his studio."
When Jones got there, Wood recorded the session, leaving Jones and Mick Jagger alone in the room to record the song. “Ronnie came in and said, 'Keep playing, I just want to put the two of you down’," Jones said. "It was just Mick Jagger and myself, guitar and drums, and we did the track. Ronnie Wood came in, pressed the button, picked up the bass and played on it. I thought it was a demo for whatever they were doing. I forgot all about it."
After some aborted attempts to record the song with Watts ("They couldn’t capture the feel," Jones said), the Stones used Jones' demo version on the album. The song made it to No. 16 in the U.S. Wood would go on to play with the Stones during their 1975 tour, but he wouldn't join the band as an official member until February 1976.
As for Watts? Jones said he didn't care one bit that he wasn't on the song. “When I found out later it was actually me playing on drums on it, I called Charlie up and said, ‘I didn’t mean to play drums on your album’," recalled Jones. "And he said, ‘That’s okay. It sounds like me anyway’."
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