Fifty-four years after releasing their debut album, the Rolling Stones are at work on their next one.

Over the past two years, the band has spent a total of about three weeks in the studio putting together its first original record since 2005's A Bigger BangGuitarist Keith Richards thinks it will still be a while before it sees the light of day, but he promised it's on the way.

“I’m going to sound like Trump — ‘It will happen; don’t worry about it’ — but it’s in the early stages,” Richards told The Wall Street Journal. “We have some stuff down, which is very interesting. It’s more difficult for us to write together the further apart we are, but it also has its benefits in that we come back to it from a different angle.”

While Richards and singer Mick Jagger, his songwriting partner of more than half a century, famously butt heads, the guitarist knows that when they get together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. "Mick and I live off this fire between us," Richards noted while managing to get in a shot at the 74-year-old Jagger, who became a father for the eighth time in 2016. “Mick’s a randy old bastard,” Richards said. “It’s time for the snip — you can’t be a father at that age. Those poor kids!”

Update - It seems that Richards regrets that last remark...

"I find it an interesting challenge to write for Mick,” he added. “There’s no point in my giving him a song that’s beyond his range or that he’s not comfortable with. What I really like to do is write a song where Mick goes, ‘Yeah, right, I’m in!’ That’s what I try and do, because I’m writing for the lead singer of the Rolling fucking  Stones, and that is my job — to give him a riff that he leaps on and goes, ‘Right, I know what to do with this.’"

Jagger recently reported the Stones had “half an album” of material recorded. Guitarist Ron Wood noted the process is "like putting it on top of the strainer and seeing what soaks through by the time you come back to them again. The lumps that are left on top after time has gone by, that’s what you make your dough out of. It wouldn’t surprise me if we re-cut them all again. It’s one of those things."

For his part, Don Was, the band's producer, is still enamored with the process of working with the Stones and watching their collaboration in action. “The songwriting that Keith and Mick did [recently] was really something to behold,” Was said. “The three of us sat in a room, with them facing each other, five feet apart, with guitars, and there’s something magical that happens that’s still as fresh as when they started.”

That magic seemingly owes as much to the many years of practice as to the head-vs-heart dynamic between Jagger and Richards. “Writing songs, you don’t get a minute off, not even to sleep,” he said. “You wake up in the middle of the night with a couple of notes in your head, and you’ve got to get out of bed and figure it out. It’s like being incontinent — either you’ve got to take a pee, or you’ve got to lay this little line down. So you get up, go to the piano or the guitar and hope it sticks."

One of the litmus tests for whether it's a good part lies in how it burrows into his or his family members' heads. "I don’t record shit," he noted. "If I don’t remember it, it’s no good. I’ll wait for the wife or one of the daughters and see if they start to sing it without knowing it.”

The Stones recently won a Grammy for their 2016 blues album Blue and Lonesome. They also spent time on the road last year and recently announced another run of tour dates that begin in May.

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