Photo by Amanda Koellner
Anyone who’s read Keith Richards’ autobiography Life knows the Rolling Stones guitarist isn’t one to hold back. He’ll say what he wants, even if he nudges you in the ribs as he says it. In a new interview with The New York Daily News, Richards once again proved to be candid to a fault. Though the discussion was ostensibly about his new solo album, Crosseyed Heart, Richards took the opportunity to voice his opinion about the state of rock and roll in general.
“It sounds like a dull thud to me,” said Richards. “For most bands, getting the syncopation is beyond them. It’s endless thudding away, with no bounce, no lift, no syncopation.” But he wasn’t just talking about modern rock. He took issue with the entirety of metal music, saying, “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes.” Ironically, Metallica opened for the Stones back in 2005, an experience drummer Lars Ulrich recounted as leaving “a little bit of a strange taste in my mouth.”
Richards also doubled down on his disparaging remarks regarding The Beatles, whose Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band he recently called “a mish-mash of rubbish.” In his Daily News interview, he said he thought The Beatles “weren’t in sync with each other” during their landmark Shea Stadium performance in 1965. “When it got to [seeing the guru] Maharishi [in ’67],” he added, “I gave up.”
And he didn’t stop at guitar-based music, either. “Rap — so many words, so little said,” Richards said with a laugh. “What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there. All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another.”
Not even Richards’ own bandmates were safe from his barbs, as he stood behind the words in Life calling Mick Jagger a “snob.” “I’ll reinforce that,” he told the News. “His daughter, Georgia Mae, was sitting around in my room and she said, ‘Oh, you know what dad’s like. He’s such a snob.’ He can come off that way even to me and the rest of the band,. He comes on the plane and doesn’t say, ‘Hey mate.’ He’s preoccupied with something really boring. He’s a control freak… He lost himself a bit in the details.”
Still, at least Richards ended with a few kinds words. Well, almost. Though he called Jagger “a hell of a frontman” and said he “I still love him dearly,” he added “your friends don’t have to be perfect.” Apparently he doesn’t have quite the same opinion about music.