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Keith Richards Says He’s Cut Back on Drinking: ‘It Was Time to Quit’

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

For all the chatter in recent years about whether or not rock is dead, we may now have definitive proof of its impending demise: Keith Richards said in a new interview that he doesn’t drink much these days.

“It’s been about a year now,” he told Rolling Stone. “I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it.”

The Rolling Stones guitarist added that he still occasionally consumes a glass of wine or beer, but felt that “it was time to quit. Just like all the other stuff. … I don’t notice any difference really – except for I don’t drink. I wasn’t feeling [right]. I’ve done it. I didn’t want that anymore.”

Bandmate Ron Wood, who has been sober since 2010 and offered “full support” to his friend, gave his thoughts on Richards’ decision. “It just wasn’t working anymore, you know,” he said. “I think the Keith that we used to know and love had this cutoff point where if he had one more, he’d go over the top and he’d be nasty. The cutoff point became shorter and shorter, and he realized that.”

Wood said the decision to not drink as much has made Richards “a pleasure to work with. 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 shit for saying this.’ Now he’ll say, ‘That’s cool, man.’ ”

Richards tried out this new approach to life on the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour of Europe this past summer, noting that it was “interesting to play sober.”

Wood said he noticed that their well-established dynamic has since improved onstage. “We’re weaving [guitar parts] a lot more conscientiously now,” he said. “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?”

Next: Top 10 Keith Richards Rolling Stones Songs

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