The music was always good. We tried to preserve the music, but the vibes got to be really heavy because we weren't being taking care of correctly. The more famous he got, the less recognition we got. It really became a trial. At that point, we decided it was time to move on.
But during the making of Talking Book, it was a joy to work with him. It was at the height of everything. There was total loyalty and total belief. There's a time that you think it was going to go on for forever and that you can never make any mistakes. Every record we touched turned to gold, whether it was for Stevie or for other artists. All we had to do was walk into the studio and do what we did best.
We needed Stevie because Stevie really reflected the times. He had an important message. I felt like his music making superseded the entertainment business. His music reflected the cry for civil rights, the urban black experience, and about who he was. I felt like his music was very political and I came from a political background. He didn't just write love songs, but he related to the world's reality at that time. I thought he was a messenger. What he had to say was really important, and it's proven to be that way. Here we are 40 years later, and we can remember the songs. We might have had our business differences, but we didn't have any differences in our philosophy and the music.
After the fourth album, we started repeating ourselves and, I have to say, not in a low way, but I think Steve has concentrated the next 40 years of his album-making experience of trying to repeat the experiences of those albums we made together including the sound. We used to turn out a record every 18 months. Why did that stop? He surrounded himself with people he was more comfortable with. Malcolm and I were kind of prickly and white [laughing]. He felt a little out of his element, maybe. I don't know honestly.
I don't feel badly towards Steve. I wouldn't mind a $100,000 check for me and Malcolm. I'm 71 years old. I don't have that much mileage left. I mean—that would be nice in our retirement and golden years for him to remember what we did for him, but I think that's highly unlikely. I don't see any reason to not state what really happened at this point. I thought we were treated badly in the end. As the albums went on, our credits got smaller and smaller. It was an amazing experience. We know what we did. Steve knows what we did. I don't know what happened, but we really lost touch with each other. Towards the end, Malcolm wouldn't even come in the studio, which was sad.
It was like this, there were three points of light and they all came together, and there was this bright flash for five years. During those five years, it was a magical time. It was beautiful. We made some really great records and we felt we were going in the same direction. I regret that it ended the way it did. The music making during Talking Book was at our best. The best vibe, the best emotional time and the most complete expression of what we were doing. We weren't repeating ourselves in any way. We were there for all the right reasons. There were no extraneous players in the game.