Veteran keyboardist Chuck Leavell, who has worked with such big names as the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and John Mayer, recently spent a week in Paris with old friends. That might not seem like news until you realize that he wasn’t hanging out at the Eiffel Tower, but in a recording studio, and the old friends were the Rolling Stones.


Leavell, who has worked with the Stones since 1982, told the Wall Street Journal that songs he worked on were “uptempo” rockers in the classic Mick Jagger / Keith Richards mode, and that Ron Wood played slide guitar on one of them. “Great hooks. Great energy. Bare bones,” he said, noting that the band only needed a few takes of each.

However, he did not disclose the name of any of the songs, nor would he confirm rumors that the Stones will play four concerts in the fall. That makes sense, given how famously secretive the group is with regard to new projects. But he did say that they also met in New York in April to rehearse, although that’s pretty much been common knowledge.

When not recording or on the road with rock royalty, Leavell runs a tree farm with his wife and is involved with the Mother Nature Network, a website dedicated to environmental causes.