Steve Jordan Hid His Beatlemania From Keith Richards
Rolling Stones touring drummer Steve Jordan recalled that he chose the Beatles over his current colleagues when it felt like a major life decision in his youth.
The former SNL and Letterman band member – who’s now covering the late Charlie Watts’ duties – even hid his Beatlemania from Keith Richards after joining the guitarist’s solo band in the ‘80s.
“Well, you know, as a kid you had to make the choice: you couldn’t be a Beatles fan and a Stones fan,” Jordan told Vanity Fair in a recent interview. “So I chose the Beatles. And for the longest time when I started working with Keith, I couldn’t have him over to my apartment, because it was like a Beatles museum! Which I guess was a little strange – like, I’m in my 20s so maybe I should be growing up a little bit!”
Jordan felt the situation was made worse by the fact that he and Richards were recording “right around the block, literally,” but he couldn’t bring himself to reveal how much of a Beatles fan he really was. “When I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, it changed my life,” he reported. “Many times in class I was drawing the Beatles onstage and not doing my schoolwork. I’d just be drawing the Beatles logo and Ringo behind the kit and stuff like that.”
Eventually, though, Jordan decided to face the music. “One day I finally say, ‘Okay,’ and Keith comes over. He comes in, and he looks, and he just starts laughing. The next day, he sends me four Beatle figurines, like the kind you get in those novelty stores in Times Square!”
Once the truth was out, Jordan was able to mine Richards for information about his friendship with John Lennon. “He would describe stories to me of him with John. And he would describe them vividly,” the drummer said. “Of which I felt: that’s as close to John as I was ever going to get.”
While he’d never had the opportunity to see the Beatles live, Jordan also never managed to experience the full length of a Stones performance until Sept. 26 this year, when he first covered for the absent Watts. “I’d never seen an entire show, because you either arrive at a certain time or you’re backstage or you leave before the encore, whatever,” he explained. “So in St. Louis when we played the first show, that was actually the first Stones show that I ever saw in its entirety! So I’m playing, and I’m looking at the show, and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is really cool!’ And then I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, I’m in the show! Better snap out of it!’”
“The magic is just palpable," Jordan continued. "The interplay between Keith and Woody, and the connection that you have to have with Mick, no matter if he’s eight million miles away from you, you know? The whole thing.”