For much of his life, The Rolling Stones‘ Keith Richards has been known as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s hardest partiers, but the legendary guitarist, who turns 75 next Tuesday, admits in a new interview that he’s almost completely given up drinking.
“It’s been about a year now,” Richards tells Rolling Stone. “I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it.”
Keith, who will hit the road with The Rolling Stones on a U.S. tour in April, says he still has “a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer,” but notes that generally, it “was time to quit [alcohol]…Just like all the other stuff.”
Asked if it giving up drinking was an adjustment, Keith says with a laugh, “You can call it that, yeah,” but adds, “I don’t notice any difference, really — except for I don’t drink. I wasn’t feeling [right].”
Richards’ fellow Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, who struggled with alcohol abuse for decades before getting sober in 2010, tells Rolling Stone that he gets along much better with Keith since the guitarist cut back on the booze.
“He’s a pleasure to work with,” Wood maintains. “Much more mellow. He’s open to more ideas, whereas before I’d kind of grit my teeth and go, ‘He’s gonna give me some s*** for saying this.’ Now, he’ll say, ‘That’s cool, man.'”
Wood reports that Richards’ sobriety has also had a positive effect on how the two guitarists play together onstage.
“We’re weaving [guitar parts] a lot more conscientiously now,” he notes. “We’re much more aware of the gaps and the spaces between. We’re in our seventies, but we’re still rocking like we’re 40-year-olds, you know?”
The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour of the U.S. begins April 20 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
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