Keith Richards said Paul McCartney wrote to him after a minor war of words broke out over his description of the Rolling Stones as a “blues cover band.”

Last year The New Yorker quoted former Beatle McCartney as saying, “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. … I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.” That led Mick Jagger to respond during a Stones show by telling the crowd, “Paul McCartney is here. He’s going to help – he’s going to join us in a blues cover later on.”

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Richards noted that he "got a note from Paul about that, saying, ‘I was taken totally out of context.’ He said, ‘That’s what I thought when I first heard them.’" The guitarist added that "Paul and I know each other pretty well, and when I first read it, I said, ‘There’s been a lot of deleting and editing going on here.’ And the next day I got a message from Paul saying, ‘If you’ve read this shit, it’s all out of context, believe me, boys.’” He described McCartney as a “great guy,” adding, “I mean … look at the songs he’s written.”

In the same interview, Richards confirmed that Charlie Watts had died before completing work on the Stones’ current album project and that the drummer’s replacement Steve Jordan would take up studio duties if recording continued.

“We do have a lot of stuff of Charlie Watts still in the can,” he explained. “We were halfway through making an album when he died. … Of course, if we want to carry on recording, we’re gonna need drums, and it’s gonna be Steve Jordan.” He recalled feeling apprehensive about touring without Watts when it was revealed he was too ill to hit the road with his bandmates of six decades: “I was [like], ‘Oh, I cannot do this without Charlie.’ But Charlie said to me, ‘You can do it with Steve. He can take my seat anytime.’ And he talked me into it. … Goddamn, I loved that man.”

Reflecting on the Stones’ upcoming 60th-anniversary tour, Richards remarked, “Who can wrap their head around 60 fucking years? It all seems impossible, that it’s been that long.”

Rolling Stones Albums Ranked

Ready to journey through the past (darkly)? Check out Rolling Stones Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

More From Ultimate Classic Rock