According to billboard.com, the Rolling Stones are working with Don Was (in Paris, of course). I believe Was falls into the Advanced-producer category that I have been thinking about. Another is Jeff Lynne. Rick Ruben, too, I think. Anyway, he's a bit of the article:
Was describes the Stones' new music as considerably different from their recent releases. "Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] are writing songs together in a collaborative fashion that probably hasn't been seen since the late '60s," he says. "I would say that longtime fans of the Rolling Stones will be thrilled with these results, and new fans will understand why they're the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world."
Was recalls sessions in which Jagger and Richards composed spontaneously, sometimes with Richards playing bass and Jagger on drums. "He's a great drummer," Was confides. "He's also playing a lot of guitar, and he's a really good guitar player. He's been playing bass on some things, [and] Keith is playing bass on some things. They're just great -- there's a reason that they've been the Rolling Stones for so long.
"And they can do it four times a day, every day," Was says of the pair's writing sessions, "and they're really good songs. I've never seen anything like it."
"It's not done," Was adds. "We can still f*** it up a thousand different ways, you know? But what I'm hearing now is very much in the great Stones tradition."
Was has been active throughout 2004, producing the Stones' two-disc "Live Licks" set released last month, as well as upcoming albums by Solomon Burke, Jessie Coulter and Kris Kristofferson, the latter recorded specifically for release in a surround-sound format.
Whenever someone talks about the current project of an Advanced act, it is always described as harking back to the band's glory days. It is also customary to describe it in lofty terms, even though when you actually hear the record, it sounds like the same old stuff. Well, it does to those who are not Advanced.