Keith Richards: Sgt. Pepper Was 'A Mishmash of Rubbish'

Mike TuttleLife

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Keith Richards has been around in the rock and roll game for so long, he can pretty much say whatever he wants. He was around for it all, and outlived most of the players.

Nowadays, even with the extended set list the Rolling Stones have to play, Richards hangs in there just fine.

"I can handle the show," Keith Richards told Esquire. "In the 60s, it was 20 minutes, in and out. Now it's two hours. I don't come off as exhausted as I used to 10 years ago, because I learn more about how to pace a show. I don't think about the physical aspects -- I just expect it all to work. I'm blessed physically with stamina. The frame still holding. I eat the same as I always have. Meat and potatoes, basically, with a nice bit of fish now and again. My wife tries to force more salad down me, but I'd rather take the pill."

Richards credits his stamina to something almost drug-like.

"Adrenaline is probably the only drug left to us, the one that draws us back as much as anything – although there is something about playing with this bunch of guys. Is it habit? Is it just the length of time we've been doing it? But when we start rehearsing, I always find this incredible enthusiasm among them all – especially this tour. It's been a great feeling from show one."

All that adrenaline has been there for the Stones from the beginning. But in the early days, Richards says, it was certainly hyper-sexual.

"When you're on the receiving end of the early reaction to the band, it's quite obvious it's primal and sexual and beyond any reason. They certainly didn't come for the music. Especially in those days – there were no PAs. And 3000 screaming chicks could just whale you out of the whole place. Just looking at the crowd, you could see them dragging the checks out, sweating, screaming, convulsing. Astonishing, even at that age. At the same time, a whole roomful of chicks yelling at you is not so shabby, either. Because the year before, nobody would look at you."

Keith Richards says that all that mania directed at a band can cause damage, and even lead to a band checking out on touring.

"But they talk about us – the Beatles, those chicks wore those guys out. They stop touring in 1966 – they were done already. They were ready to go to India and shit."

A guy like Keith Richards, who was around for it all, has earned license to have his own opinion about what he saw, even if that opinion might be at odds with the rest of the world. For example, Richards has his own opinion about what many consider to be one of the best albums ever.

"The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles. But there's not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away. Why not? If you were the Beatles in the 60s, you just get carried away – you forget what it is you wanted to do. You're starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it's a genius album, but I think it's a mishmash of rubbish ..."

But Keith Richards interjects that his own band was just as guilty of it.

"... kind of like Satanic Majesties – 'Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.'"

Mike Tuttle
Writer. Google+ Writer for WebProNews.