Thursday afternoon, Chuck Nowlin had a very special guest live in the studio – another Chuck: the Rolling Stones’ longtime keyboard player Chuck Leavell.
TD Garden plays host to the legends Friday night for the second of two shows, and Leavell, who has played the keys for the Stones for 30 of their 50 years, found time in his visit to Boston to meet with our own Chuck.
Leavell was very gracious about the massively positive response to the band’s performance at the first Garden show, and wasn’t surprised that Boston gave them a good crowd.
“Boston’s always been a great music city, period. But certainly great for the bands that I’ve worked with,” he said, referring to the Allman Brothers Band, among other acts.
When asked about recent comments about the Stones going back to their beginnings as part of their 50th anniversary, Leavell explained that their live shows on the “50 and Counting” tour tend to resemble the band’s shows in their early days, when they were still trying to make a name for themselves as the “Bad Boys” of rock and roll.
“It is a little meaner, a little leaner and tougher and more in-your-face, and that’s how I think it should be,” he said.
Mick Taylor came out for a special guest performance at the first Garden show, and he should be expected to come out again at show 2.
“It’s wonderful to have Mick come out and celebrate with us. He was such an important part of the band in that era that he was with the band,” said Leavell. “It’s gracious of the guys to have him and he’s a lot of fun to have out there, and of course the fans are loving it.”
Leavell also detailed his work in leading the band’s performances and rehearsals as the “musical director”, much like founding member Brian Jones did in the band’s early years. He also picks the band’s setlists, and examines previous shows in cities where they played to make sure it’s a little different than the last time.
Chuck even got Leavell to play a little song on the studio’s little toy keyboard, which he unsurprisingly makes sound really good. He plays the same keyboard to re-write the ChuckTV theme song.
Listen to the full two-part interview with Chuck Nowlin and Chuck Leavell below.