Ivan Neville dishes on the Stones, sobriety and the sweet life

NOLA music icon describes reuniting with Jagger, Richards backstage at the Dome

July 19, 2019 - 5:31 pm

Today on the Scoot Show, musician Ivan Neville talked about what it was like opening for the Rolling Stones in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Monday night.

Neville's band "Dumpstaphunk" is a New Orleans staple, and the home crowd loved having them warm up the stage for the main event. What must that have been like?

It was thrilling! very fun, one of those things... you get the opportunity to play a show like that in a venue like the Superdome at home, and things just seem to click and go well. We had a blast, I gotta tell you... coming up to the day of the show, waiting to do the show, especially with the storm and all of that, and how it had been postponed before from Jazzfest, the anticipation of doing this gig was nerve-wracking, but once we were in there, we were in there. Once we started playing the first song, we knew it was gonna be a good little set and a great night!"

What was it like to meet the headliners backstage?

"I did have an opportunity to see them back there and have a few words... we made small talk. They didn't have a lot of time, I saw both of them after our set so they were on their way to go play pretty soon but I got to see Keith for a little while before that and say how you doing, how's the family and all that."

Neville played keys for two Rolling Stones albums, and is also part of Richard's solo band Expensive Winos. What was it like to tour with him?

"At the time I was pretty wild, I was not a good boy during those days, behaving very badly... Keith's image is very much overblown, he's really not all about all that stuff, it's more of a legend that permeates that vibe about him. He's a cool guy that loves to play music, and I am happy for having survived my wild days like that, and lived to tell the tale."

So even in the Eighties, Keith Richards wasn't really the substance-fueled maniac he's made out to be?

"To tell you the truth, when we were traveling and playing music together, he was more about the music than anything else. All the perks, the little extras, the recreational things you might get into, he'd utilize it more as a tool. Myself, I was more indulging and abusing stuff probably way more than someone like he was. He's a guy that can just stay up all night and not really do a whole lot of that other stuff. Me on the other hand, I got pretty engrossed in it."

So how did Neville escape the sad fate of so many other musicians who succumbed to alcoholism and addiction?

"There were some moments where I came to a point where I figured I wouldn't be around much longer if I continued living the way I had been living. I kinda got lucky. I had many attempts at trying to straighten out that didn't stick, and then one last time in 1998, I turned a corner and went to one more rehabilitation center to get off drugs and alcohol - I had been in five previous times, but that time something happened, and I'm still here to talk about it. next month it will be 21 years of sobriety for me."

Listen to the entire conversation between Scoot and Ivan Neville below.

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