Q. One passage in the book struck me. In talking about writing the song “How Can I Stop,” you say, “I always thought that’s what songs are really about; you’re not supposed to be singing songs about hiding things.” How long did it take you to come to that realization, that as a songwriter you’re not supposed to be hiding things?
A. It’s a slow realization, and a lot of it came through doing the book. And also there’s nothing much productive that comes out of hiding things. It’s much better to be open and cause a flash and not to bury things, because they only simmer. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. So I think I learned a bit something about that.
Q. At the show in December, Mick joked that when you first played New York, a carton of milk was 25 cents and a hamburger was 50 cents and that a ticket to see the Rolling Stones was — and then he stopped himself and said, “I’m not going to go there.” What do you say to the people who think your ticket prices are too high?
A. It’s the price of living and it’s the state of the economy. Actually, we’ve taken a deal on this tour which is substantially lower than another one we were offered. We’re not out to soak people, for Christ’s sake. It’s just what it costs to put it on and to pay everybody and to make a profit. It’s a business, but after all these years I don’t think anybody seriously thinks that the Stones are out to soak you.
Q. Plus, you have to pay Mick Taylor. How great is it to have him back?
A. Mick, I’ll give him 20 bucks a night. [Laughs.] It is brilliant. I think it’s going to be a very interesting series of shows with Mick Taylor involved. Both Ronnie and I are looking forward to this because we need all the help we can get. [Laughs.] You’ve got to realize that on Stones records there’s probably four or five, sometimes six guitars playing in and out of each other, so when we get onstage, Ronnie and I have to pick which bits of those six guitars we’re going to play. So to have Mick Taylor there as well, it just gives us a chance to maybe make the stage show sound a little bit more like the records.
Q. There are probably at least a dozen songs that you have to play to get out of the building alive. How do you figure out the rest of the set list? Is it a debate?
A. It’s a good question. We kind of throw all the songs in a pot, in a way. For the last shows, for instance, because it was so obviously a 50th [anniversary] we decided to throw in a few much earlier things than we would normally do. This has widened up our thing, and we can carry on doing that. And also be a little bit more experimental on the set-list side. It’s sometimes difficult to get Mick to change a groove once it’s good and once it’s hooked. I’d like to throw in three or four different songs at least a show in different places. But at the same time the show develops during rehearsals. Since I’m not going to be rehearsing until next Monday you’ll have to wait and see what happens. [Laughs.]
Q. Are there certain songs you’re itching to play, though?
A. If you feel like that, anybody, Ronnie, Charlie, can come and say, “What about playing this?” It’s one of those things, this band, sometimes we say, “What a great idea! I’d forgotten that one.” Anything’s possible.
Q. The subtitle of “Crossfire Hurricane” was “The Rise of the Stones,” which leads me to wonder, is there going to be a second part?
A. Whoa, you’re very observant. [Laughs.] But what are we going to do, “The Fall of the Stones”? [Laughs.] “The Rise and the Rise”? It depends on how much footage there is around. Since we’re going out on the road again, there might be something there. Really, that’s planning ahead. I’m just happy that I’ve got the boys back on the road. Right now I’m just resting on those laurels.
The Rolling Stones play the TD Garden June 12 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 15 and are $85-$600 at 800-345-7000 and www.ticketmaster.com
Interview was edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@GlobeRodman.