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Producer Don Was on the Rolling Stones' Future: 'The Rock Cellar Conversations' Podcast Premiere

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Photo: Mathieu Bitton

“There was no vision for this album,” says producer Don Was of The Rolling Stones’ new CD, Blue & Lonesome. “We were making an album of new songs, and sometimes you do a bunch of takes and you need to take a little break, right? So we were working on a song and we just needed to get away from it, so Keith, really just to cleanse the palate, said, ‘Let’s play “Blue & Lonesome,”’ which is an old Little Walter song.”
The setting was Mark Knopfler’s recording studio in London where The Stones were working on their first album of new material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang. That break to “cleanse the palate” turned into a few days of recording one old blues tune after another, until they suddenly had an album’s worth of blues covers that sounded great.
In the premiere edition of Rock Cellar Magazine’s new podcast series, “The Rock Cellar Conversations,” KCSN Los Angeles DJ Jim Nelson sat down with longtime friend Was in his Hollywood office for an anything-goes chat that included details of the making of Blue & Lonesome and an insider’s revelation that The Stones are “not done making records,” along with Was telling Nelson about the time that Bob Dylan “punk’d” George Harrison during a 1989 recording session, what it’s like producing Brian Wilson, and not one, but two stories of absurdity involving Sesame Street’s Big Bird.
Don’t miss this fun and revealing conversation between two veterans — producer Don Was and interviewer Jim Nelson — as we kick off this new podcast series.
Enjoy the debut of the Rock Cellar Conversations below:

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  1. Many thanks for this, Jim. Very enjoyable and enlightening with your guest, Don Was on your inaugural podcast . I will pass on a link to page on the Prog & Rock fan FB page I moderate as well as other similar pagers. All best for future episodes.
    regards,
    Paul Watson.
    Will you be linking and uploading these podcasts on other pages such as iTunes, etc…? Thanks.

  2. very cool… have been aware of Don Was’ name for years… so cool to actually hear him relay stories about his experiences… raised my level of respect for him. Excellent start to what I hope is a long run for your podcast.

    • Thank you Marty. Chatting with Don in that setting was a lot of fun, as I hope you can hear in the podcast. I imagine we could have talked for hours and still only scratched the surface of the great stories he has to tell.
      Jim Nelson
      Rock Cellar Magazine

  3. I also second the motion to have these available on iTunes. Thanks for this interview in any case.

  4. Thank you for all the nice comments, everyone. Keep your eyes out for my next Rock Cellar Conversation, when David Gray and I chat about songwriting and why “Babylon” is like Frankenstein’s monster.
    Jim Nelson