Former Rolling Stone member Mick Taylor has threatened to sue the band over what he claims are unpaid royalties.
Taylor, who was a member of the band from 1969 to 1974, says he has not been recognised for his contributions to songs which ‘would not have existed without him’. Taylor has not received royalties from the supergroup since they switched labels in 1982. “I should have got a lawyer,” Taylor told the Mail on Sunday. “Instead I called them rude words. (They) had new contracts and were advised they didn’t need to pay me any more. They all know it’s not right. In fact it is outrageous. They get all the money and I get the plaudits and praise, even from Mick, I’ve tried to talk to Mick a couple of times, but I realise that hiring a lawyer is probably the only way they’ll take me seriously. But they figure I’m not going to do anything about it.”
After replacing founding member Brian Jones shortly before his death, Taylor went on to play on classic Stones records such as ‘Sticky Fingers’ and ‘Exile On Main St.’. Taylor’s displeasure with how he has been acknowledged for his contributions to Stones songs is nothing new, and was sighted as one of the reasons he quit the band in 1974 – a decision which shocked the music world. “I was a bit peeved about not getting credit for a couple of songs, but that wasn’t the whole reason (I left the band),” he later revealed in an interview with Gary James. “I guess I just felt like I had enough. I decided to leave and start a group with Jack Bruce. I never really felt, and I don’t know why, but I never felt I was gonna stay with the Stones forever, even right from the beginning.”
Mick Taylor Guitar Solo
Mick Jagger offered a different reason for Taylor’s departure in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “he wanted to have a solo career,” he said. “I think he found it difficult to get on with Keith.”
Taylor also went onto discuss his reasons for leaving the group in his interview with The Mail On Sunday, saying: “Let’s put it this way – without my contribution those songs would not have existed. There’s not many but enough, things like ‘Sway’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ on ‘Sticky Fingers’ and a couple of others. Mick had promised to give me some credit for some of the songs – and he didn’t. By 1974, I felt I’d gone as far as I could with the band. I didn’t think they’d stay together. The records were doing well but the band was falling apart – it was in chaos.”
He further outlined his rift with the band by revealing he wasn’t a huge fan of them before he joined, and actually preferred The Beatles: “I sort of liked them, but was never passionate about the Stones. In some ways I liked the Beatles more. At the first session, I overdubbed the guitar on Honky Tonk Women, but I thought they were all a little bit vain and full of themselves.”
Despite the continued success of The Rolling Stones, Taylor insisted he has no regrets in leaving: “People are always asking me whether I regret leaving the Rolling Stones. Had I remained with the band, I would probably be dead. I was having difficulties with drug addiction and couldn’t have lasted. So no, I don’t regret leaving. But people who really know me ask another question – whether I regret joining the Stones. To me, that’s far more astute.”
After leaving The Rolling Stones, Taylor went on to play with various musicians and acts including Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead and Mark Knopfler. Today, Taylor can be found playing pub gigs, with artists such as Max Middleton and Snowy White drummer Jeff Allen.
UPDATE: (Sept. 15)
After an interview with The Mail On Sunday seemed to claim he was set to sue The Rolling Stones, Mick Taylor’s management has now moved to distance the guitarist from the reports.
Speaking to nme.com, they slammed the angle the story took in the paper, as well as dismissing the rumours of legal action. “(He) doesn’t feel any need to sue,” said Taylor’s manager Jeff Allen. “He certainly didn’t say that he was going to sue the Stones. Mick’s got a very good relationship with the Stones. In fact, the last time we met up with them, him and Keith were like long-lost lovers – hugging each other and happy to see each other. When Mick was ill either six or eight weeks ago with some kind of chest complaint, Mick Jagger had his office phone up to see what was going on, and then he phoned up the hospital just to check on Mick because they were worried about him. So there’s absolutely no animosity between Mick and the Stones.”
He also attacked the tone of the article, saying: “You can imagine the shock, horror and disbelief when that article came out in the Daily Mail. The emphasis of the article was that Mick was some kind of run-down, down-and-out tramp living in Suffolk. The reality is Mick’s having the house done up,” he said. “Mick is living in Holland at the moment with his girlfriend.”
Planned European tour dates for Mick Taylor can be found at micktaylor.net.