The Rolling Stones' Bernard Fowler Celebrates The Band's Lyrics On New LP


Bernard Fowler has been in The Rolling Stones' live band since 1989, lending his voice to the band's signature sound on stage and in the studio ever since.

In his role as a backing vocalist and percussionist, it's a good bet that Fowler knows the band's music and lyrics as well as anyone else. For his new solo album, Inside Out, Fowler decided to highlight the words he's been singing for so much of his professional career.

Stripping away the bands classic riffs and jangly harmonies, Inside Out zeroes in on the lyrics of the Stones. Accompanied only by sparse instrumentation, Fowler's new album delivers a jazzy spoken-word interpretation of selections from the Stones' expansive catalog.

Fowler tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that there are only a couple of songs on Inside Out that he's performed with the band. He wanted his foray into the world of spoken word to have as much impact as possible.

"It was important that the lyrics were really strong," Fowler explains. "And most of the hits that people know, the lyric wasn't strong enough for what I wanted to do. So I had to go into the catalog and dig some good ones, dig some of the gems out."

The vocalist credits his longtime band mates with creating many timeless songs that are of the utmost relevance.

"Those lyrics, the lyrics that I chose to use, they could have been written just yesterday," he adds.

While selecting the repertoire for the record was a major undertaking, Fowler says that getting the band's blessing was surprisingly simple. He says the idea came to him at rehearsal one day when he was practicing some percussion.

"I'm playing conga, and I just started reciting the lyric and a beatnik kind of fashion, and everybody stopped and looked at me and some people were smiling. Chuck [Leavell, keyboards] was cracking up — he was laughing his butt off — and it just became a thing that I did every day before the sound check."

One day, Mick Jagger mentioned that he really liked how Fowler's beatnik routine sounded. Fowler replied that he planned on recording some songs in that fashion.

"[Jagger] said, 'That's a good idea, you should do it!'" Fowler recalls. "...And that made me go to it even faster. I got a green light from the boss."

Check out Fowler's full Out of the Box interview above!

Get more info and tour dates here.

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