The Rolling Stones say they’re ‘not interested’ in splitting up at launch of new exhibition

Ronnie Wood says band are 'an institution that will never stop rumbling'

The Rolling Stones have vowed they are not splitting up during a video message broadcast at the launch for their forthcoming memorabilia exhibition ‘Exhibitionism’.

The band will display over 500 artefacts at the display at the Saatchi Gallery on London’s Kings Road from April 6 next year for six months.

At the launch party at the Gallery tonight (July 2), the band used a video interview to deny that the exhibition meant they were considering breaking up.

Guitarist Keith Richards said: “People have said we’re splitting up since every tour from about 1975. If anybody should be interested in when we’re going to quit, it should be the Stones, and they’re not particularly interested in doing so.”

Fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood added: “The exhibition is an insight into an ongoing machine and institution that will never stop rumbling. We didn’t get into this exhibition with the thought of retiring. It’s just another input into the travelling circus.”

The launch party saw the first airing of two songs, ‘Bitch’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’, recorded at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre on May 20 when the Stones played their 1971 album ‘Sticky Fingers’ in full. Tickets for the exhibition go on sale on July 10 from here.

Although no precise memorabilia for ‘Exhibitionism’ has been confirmed, the launch hinted at exhibits that will be on display, with photos of items set to be included such as a fake-fur jacket Keith Richards wore on tour in 1994, Mick Jagger’s Union Jack jacket worn on stage in 1982 and a Gibson Firebird III guitar played by late guitarist Brian Jones at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1966.

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The Rolling Stones

In the eight-minute video, it was revealed that Wood is the only member of the band to have actively collected memorabilia during the Stones’ career. Singer Mick Jagger said: “I’ve had to get things from other people.” Drummer Charlie Watts said: “I have a collection, but it’s mainly jazz. I’ve got more stuff on Louis Armstrong than on The Rolling Stones.”

Richards said that the guitar he played on the band’s 1969 song ‘Gimme Shelter’ will be on display. He said: “Mick fell on it at the end of the session and the thing fell in half in my hands, but we’d finished enough of the song so you didn’t have to hear that. To me, these guitars are still working machines. I don’t bow or pray to them, or not very often.”

Saatchi Gallery is on London’s Kings Road, near Edith Grove where the band lived together from 1962-63 with photographer James Phelge. Watts said: “Kings Road is a bit of a high street now, but in those days it was quite lively.”

The band weren’t at the launch, as they are still on tour in North America, which ends at Le Festival D’ete in Quebec on July 15. They last played in Britain in 2013. There have been tabloid reports that the band will play at Knebworth next year to mark the 40th anniversary of playing there in 1976, though the band have yet to comment on the speculation.