The Stones will rock until they drop, says Wyman

Bill Wyman, the former bass player with the Rolling Stones, said yesterday that the band would carry on performing until one of them died.

Wyman, 60, who left the band in the early 1990s to pursue other interests, accused Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of having very few interests outside music and said they would probably rock until they dropped - literally.

Speaking at the opening of his latest Sticky Fingers restaurant in Cambridge, Wyman pointed out that he left the band because the rock'n'roll lifestyle was preventing him from devoting time to his hobbies, which include archaelogy, astronomy and photography.

He added that he felt the group had "reached the pinnacle" and could only go down.

"I saw no reason for doing any more with the band. We had reached the pinnacle. There was nowhere else to go except down," he said.

"We always said in the Sixties, 'let's quit at the top'. And I thought we should have done that. But I cannot see them ever stopping unless someone dies. There is very little else they do. What are they going to do? They are going to say 'Let's do another tour'."

But despite Wyman's trenchant views on the lifestyles of his fellow musicians, the lads might have something to say about yesterday's outburst.

Ronnie Wood has taken to painting with alacrity and his work has been well received by the art fraternity. In his spare time he enjoys a day at the races, particularly when one of his own horses is running.

Charlie Watts also owns several horses and is an acclaimed jazz musician. And as for Mick Jagger, those children just keep on arriving.

The simple fact is that the Stones enjoy their music, and they enjoy touring.

A friend of the band said last year: "People expect them to shut up and die, but while it is still fun they will not do that."

Wyman, on the other hand, has found marital bliss for the third time, and is now happier organising his restaurants.

The Cambridge venue is the third in his Sticky Fingers chain. He launched the first in London eight years ago and already had another in Manchester.

The latest outlet has around pounds 250,000-worth of Stones' memorabilia on the walls, which Wyman said had been screwed into place to prevent any sticky-fingered customers taking them away.

"We had a few problems early on in London," he said. "We tried all sorts of things to make them secure, including putting tags on the back - but that got complicated."