I started with Sam Cooke when I was 6 or 7 years old.
I met a zillion people through Ronnie Wood. He's been my friend since he was in The Faces, and he's still my best friend. A real person, earthy, working 24 hours a day, uplifting to be around, and he's still got that fire about music.
You learn if you mind stay open. And once you can't learn no more, your mind must be closed. Life goes on and you keep growing, you know?
Plantation gospel music was the stuff I fell in love with when I was a kid - these beautiful melodies and these hard, hard stories.
When I first played New York, it was with James Brown at the Apollo, and I was playing in a band under the name The Valentinos. I remember Sam Cooke saying, 'I want you to go in there with James Brown. I couldn't be as hard on you as James Brown would be.' But we came out marching like soldiers.
I know a lot of people who are not here anymore, and I wonder why I'm still here... Not a day goes by that I don't think about Sam Cooke. His presence is so strong and so convincing to me, a true artist, a true talent, who never talked down to people.