Watch Keith Richards Reunite With The X-Pensive Winos In NYC
In 1986, when his Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Jagger was busy with other things, Keith Richards put together a band of his own. Richards assembled the group that he called the X-Pensive Winos as a backing band for his performance in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll, and he kept working with those musicians for years afterwards. The X-Pensive Winos — guitarist Waddy Wachtel, keyboardist Ivan Neville, bassist Charlie Drayton, saxophonist Bobby Keys, drummer Steve Jordan — backed Richards up on his solo albums Talk Is Cheap and Main Offender, and they toured with him for a while. Last night, Richards played with the X-Pensive Winos at the Love Rocks benefit show at New York’s Beacon Theatre, and it was his first time playing with them in some time.
The Love Rocks show was an all-star affair that also featured people like Mavis Staples, Warren Haynes, Melissa Ethridge, and Hozier, but Richards was the main-offender attraction. Richards hasn’t toured with the X-Pensive Winos since the early ’90s. The band backed Richards up on his 2015 solo album Crosseyed Heart, and they played one show with him that year at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, though Charlie Drayton wasn’t part of that show. Neither was Bobby Keys, who died in 2014. Drayton wasn’t in the band last night, either; Richards announced the former Letterman house-band bassist Will Lee as an “honorary Wino” instead.
At last night’s show, Richards and the X-Pensive Winos knocked out a three-song, 16-minute set, with Richards singing lead the whole time. They did “999,” one of the songs from Richards’ 1992 solo album Main Offender, and they also covered “You Got The Silver” and “Before They Make Me Run,” two of the Rolling Stones classics that featured Richards on lead vocals. They sounded muscular and locked-in, and Richards looked like he was having a great time. Watch a pro video of the full set below.
As a bonus, here’s another video from last night. It’s Mavis Staples doing the Staple Singers’ classic “I’ll Take You There” with former Yankee Bernie Williams backing her up on guitar.
During his set, Keith Richards mentioned the Main Offender album, pointing out that it “happens to be re-released this week or something like that.” He’s right! Mostly! There’s a deluxe box-set Main Offender reissue coming out next week. Here’s one of its unreleased tracks, a live version of the iconic Stones anthem “Gimme Shelter” that Richards played with the Winos in London in 1992:
The Main Offender box-set reissue is out 3/18 on BMG.