Now that The Rolling Stones' No Filter tour has concluded, longtime backing singer Bernard Fowler says he's turning his attention to promoting Inside Out, an album of Stones covers that came out in April.
Fowler plans to do live shows to get the word out on the album and is already thinking about a follow-up. Like Inside Out, it would have him reciting, rather than singing, some of Mick Jagger and KeithRichards' best lyrics over music that emphasizes percussion over melodic instruments.
Fowler says he didn't get serious about making Inside Out until he ran the idea by Mick and Keith before the first leg of the No Filter tour in 2017:
"It was at the rehearsal where I was playing conga and reciting whatever song it was. I was reciting it in the beatnik fashion and everybody smiled, Keith walked up to me and said something about it and then Mick said, 'Bernard, I've heard Stones songs done a lot of ways, but never like this.' And I said, 'Well, I'm gonna record it when the tour is over,' and he said, 'It's a good idea. You should.' I had already planned to do it, but when he said what he said that was a full-on green light for me."
Fowler chose some obscure album tracks rather than hits for Inside Out, though he did eventually add "Sympathy for the Devil" and a song he felt a connection to from his youth, "Undercover of the Night."
He says, "I was looking for a strong lyric content and I didn't want to do any of the popular songs, because most of their songs with that strong lyric content are in the albums."
Fowler says he kept Jagger and Richards apprised of his progress as he was making the album:
"As I started recording the very early stage, I would send them a little taste of how it was going. And I saw Keith in New York in the studio and we went into a room and I played one track for him and he looked a me and said, 'Damn, Fowler, you went deep.'"
The critics and Fowler's fans and friends obviously agreed, as the album received rave reviews and strong word-of-mouth praise.
Fowler talked about following up Inside Out:
"Now that Inside Out has been so well received I have to do a follow-up to Inside Out. Plus there's a few tracks that I recorded that I didn't put on the record, so I'm planning to go to Uruguay to record some percussion players, then bring it back and see if I can do it one more time."
Fowler has not decided if the follow-up will be all Jagger-Richards songs or might include songs by other artists. He also says he's planning to record a follow-up to his first American release, 2015's The Bura, sometime soon.