Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has said he does not regret leaving the band in the 1990s “for a second”.
The musician, 86, played with the rock veterans for more than 30 years until he departed in 1993, featuring on some of their biggest hits including Paint It Black, Brown Sugar and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
During his time, he performed alongside an evolving line-up which included Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and the late Charlie Watts and Brian Jones.
Reflecting on departing the group, he told The Times’ Saturday Review: “Not for a second have I regretted leaving.
“Within two years of leaving the Stones I was married to Suzanne (Accosta). We’ve been married for 30 years, we have three beautiful daughters, it couldn’t be better.”
He said that the band’s long-time drummer Watts, who died aged 80 in 2021, was his “closest friend” in the group, but that he still keeps in touch with other members.
“I see Mick occasionally because my wife is best friends with Jerry Hall (Mick’s ex-wife)”, he added.
“Mick and Keith and I send each other Christmas cards. I don’t have much to do with Ronnie.
“Honestly, though, my life is open now in a way that it never was before.”
Wyman revealed that when the group started up in the 1960s, he believes none of the members thought it would last for more than two or three years.
“The Beatles were the same. We all thought it would be a brief adventure before we got on with our normal lives”, he said.
“Then it went on, and on, and on, and there was never time to do anything else.
“I had to do a solo album in bits between four month tours, and as Charlie Watts said, being in the Rolling Stones meant five years of work and 20 years of hanging around.
“Eventually I left and wrote 11 books, formed my own band, did archaeology, photography…”
In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Rolling Stones.
The band, which now features Sir Mick and guitarists Richards and Wood, travelled through Europe last summer for their 60th anniversary tour.
Their Sixty tour featured stops in cities including Madrid, Milan and Paris as well as two shows at BTS Hyde Park in London.
Steve Jordan also toured with the band on drums after the death of Watts.