Rolling Stones play down talk of concert tour

Wed Feb 2, 2011 4:20pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones on Wednesday said they have "no firm plans to tour," and sought to distance themselves from a legal battle between concert promoter Live Nation and its former chairman Michael Cohl.

The announcement by the veteran British rockers follows the recent filing of claims and counterclaims between Live Nation and Cohl over a contract he signed when he left the company in 2008 that involved a possible Rolling Stones tour this year.

The Stones, by some measures the world's biggest live act, last toured in 2007, and fans around the world have speculated they might soon mount a new show. In November, guitarist Keith Richards hinted the band was ready to hit the road again, and next year is the group's 50th anniversary.

Talk of a tour picked up this week when showbusiness website The Hollywood Reporter detailed some of the accusations between Cohl and Live Nation in a story about Cohl having filed a counterclaim to Live Nation's original, November lawsuit.

The Hollywood Reporter said Cohl claims Live Nation breached their 2008 contract by attempting to "interfere" and "destroy" his opportunity to procure promotional rights to a Stones tour this year.

On Wednesday, the Stones issued a statement in which they sought "to clarify their position regarding representation and touring.

"Following the end of the 2007 A Bigger Bang world tour The Rolling Stones became free from any contractual arrangements or agreements with Michael Cohl.

"He is neither their representative nor their tour promoter. Also the Stones confirmed today they have no firm plans to tour at this time."

The A Bigger Bang tour, which lasted from 2005 to 2007, became the highest grossing in rock history, earning over $558 million from 144 shows, according to Billboard figures.

In their statement, the Stones added that they "have recently secured a worldwide merchandising agreement with Bravado Inc and in 2008 signed a new global record deal with Universal Music."

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Rolling Stones band members (L-R) Charles Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards pose as they arrive for the premiere of the documentary film "Stones In Exile" in New York May 11, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>