Bill Wyman Talks About Being ‘The Quiet One’ in Variety interview

Bill has given an in-depth interview with Variety, talking about The Quiet One, the Rolling Stones and Ray Charles – the greatest artist of the 20th century, according to Bill.

Variety has published an in-depth interview with Bill, discussing a range of topics – from his emotional recollection of Ray Charles, his unique approach to The Quiet One documentary and being back to full health following a diagnosis with prostate cancer: “I’ve been totally cured, thank you. Back to normal now, and I didn’t have to have the hammer and chisel job, either. Just radiotherapy, so there was no cutting in or anything, which was nice,” says Bill.

Read the full interview: Bill Wyman Talks About Being ‘The Quiet One’ and Not Like a (Typical) Rolling Stone.

Bill hopped on the phone to discuss the Sundance Selects film, which open at the Nuart in Los Angeles and IFC Center in New York City, before becoming available on demand for streaming June 28.

The interview includes:

Variety: Early on in the film, there’s a vintage interview where you’re being extremely self-deprecating and you say, “I’m not a musician. I just play in a band.” Were you being that humble because you were playing rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-‘60s and people didn’t think that counted, or did it have something to do with being a bass player, where humility maybe comes with the territory a little bit?

Well, I think it’s because I’ve always regarded a musician as someone who reads music, who sits and practices for hours and hours and hours, and probably plays in a classical orchestra or is working to be the top jazz musician. Those people rehearse and practice daily, four or five hours. I never did that. I played by ear, the same as the rest of the band did. I did take piano lessons as a child, which helped me understand the formation of music, and so I was able to pick up song ideas quicker than the others and sort of get my shit together on a song. But that was about it, really.

I don’t regard myself as an incredible bass player. I’m very efficient and I do my job very well and I’m not noticed, and that’s the way it should be. I don’t profess to be like Stanley Clarke or someone like that. … You just sit with the drums and build the basics of the song — you know, foundations. That’s what I learned from Duck Dunn in the Booker T. band and those kinds of bands that I admired, and the double bass players in early rock ‘n’ roll and Willie Dixon and all the Chicago blues.

Variety: I can remember going to the Stones’ tour in ‘89 thinking, “Well, we all better catch this while we can, because this will probably be the last one.” Judging from your comments in the film, that’s kind of how you felt about that tour, too. You felt like it was a suitable swan song and you got out afterward.

As I say in the film, we played 120 shows in America, Europe, Japan, to seven and a quarter million people. We averaged 60,000 per show. And I didn’t see it going any bigger than six shows at Shea Stadium, five in Wembley Stadium in England, 10 at the Tokyo Dome, and so on. Since I left, those sizes and amounts of shows have never happened since. And I thought, it’s a great place to end, at the top. I didn’t want to end when we were drifting down or anything like that. Fortunately it hasn’t happened, but I didn’t know that at the time.

And I’d been in a band 30 years, and there were so many things that I needed to do. I had to get my life in order. I had to get married again and have a new family, which I have. My life’s been wonderful since I left the band. I had to move on. It’s like if you were a bricklayer for years and years and years, you want something different, don’t you? And everybody does, you know. There’s sportsmen who want to be musicians, musicians who want to be sportsmen — whatever career you have, there’s always something else you want to do. And I had so many other interests that I had to get my head into and deal with, and they all became very successful, so I was very fortunate in that way. Restaurants as well — I never mentioned restaurants!

Read more in the full interview: Bill Wyman Talks About Being ‘The Quiet One’ and Not Like a (Typical) Rolling Stone.

One Comment

  1. Streamed “The Quiet One”. Well done, informative and brought back a lot of memories. Just loved it. Got to meet the man behind the name Bill Wyman…

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