- 26 Sep 23
As The Rolling Stones gears up for the release of their forthcoming studio album Hackney Diamonds, the band’s legendary guitarist opens up about his new clean-living lifestyle.
‘Sober’ isn’t the word, and it’s not one Keith Richards uses to describe his reformation over the past three years. But the notorious rock ‘n’ roller, Infamous for performing drunk onstage in the past, revealed this week in an interview with The Telegraph that playing live is interesting when he’s not intoxicated.
“The cigarettes I gave up in 2019,” Richards shared. “I haven’t touched them since. I gave up heroin in 1978. I gave up cocaine in 2006.”
The 79-year-old cut back on drinking in 2019, a decision that shook Stones fans who know Richards as the unstable face of Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll. But he’s not getting any younger, a fact the guitarist is readily happy to accept.
Reflecting on ageing, Richards explained, “I’m blessed, maybe, that physically this thing just keeps going. So far, I have no real problem with getting old. There are some horrific things that you can see in the future, but you’ve got to get there.”
“I’m getting along with the idea of being 80, and still walking, still talking. I find it a fascinating process. But then, if you didn’t, you might as well commit suicide,” he added in his trademark tone of deadpan comedy.
Richards had his first experience of sober-ish stardom while on the road with The Rolling Stones for their 2022 SIXTY! Tour, celebrating the group’s 60th anniversary together.
During the interview, Richards admitted that he still enjoys a drink here and there, though not at the same frequency he did previously. “I still like a drink occasionally – because I’m not going to heaven any time soon – but apart from that, I’m trying to enjoy being straight,” he shared. “It’s a unique experience for me.”
Earlier this month, The Rolling Stones announced details of their forthcoming studio album, Hackney Diamonds. The band’s 24th studio album is due for release October 20, expected to feature guest musical contributors from Paul McCartney to Elton John and Stevie Wonder, with Lady Gaga featured on the track ‘Sweet Sounds of Heaven.’
The 12-track album is produced by Grammy-winning Andrew Watt, recorded mostly in Los Angeles at Henson Recording Studios. The album’s lead single ‘Angry’ was released recently, written by Mick Jagger and Richards whilst the duo were in Jamaica, and then finished with Ronnie Wood in New York City.
‘Angry’ is accompanied by a music video starring Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney, who is an admitted big fan of the band. Hackney Diamonds will mark The Rolling Stones’ first album of original songs since 2005, and their first since drummer Charlie Watts passed away in 2021.
Nevertheless, Watts’ drumming will be featured on two of the new songs, ‘Mess It Up’ and ‘Live By The Sword.’ It was also announced that a documentary film about the album and its creation can be expected in the near future, produced by Fulwell 73.
Check out the music video for ‘Angry’ by The Rolling Stones below, and listen to the album single on all streaming platforms!