Keith Richards dismisses Led Zeppelin and The Who legends, calls them "an absolute disaster"
24 October 2023, 16:53
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Keith Richards is on the war path.
Not that they necessarily have to - given their stature as one of the greatest rock bands to ever exist, they've received some of the warmest critical praise for the album since the 1980s.
Sadly, it is also the Stones' first release since the passing of drummer and co-founder Charlie Watts, so he's obviously still very much a focus of the conversation for the surviving members.
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According to Richards, Charlie played a major part in bringing the band back together to start writing new music.
He said: "It [Watts' death] jolted us into thinking we’ve got to make a record. Mick agreed with me about the record. We said, 'Let's get this thing in the studio. Let's make this a project — go from A to B and actually finish it'".
Clearly, the memory of Charlie is still at the fore, but during promotion for Hackney Diamonds, Keith is also defending Watts to the hilt.
Talking to US disc jockey and comedian Howard Stern on SiriusXM, Keith was full of praise for his late friend, saying "he had feel".
"It's energies. Rock 'n' roll doesn't necessarily need the whole battery of drums, you know," he joked assertively.
"It's got to do with when not to hit. What have you got, if you're making music? Silence is your canvas."
Asked by Stern if Bonham was considered to be the greatest rock drummer of all time, Keith responded: "He had the greatest number of drums."
"But this is not baseball, this is playing music and it's a totally different thing. It's feel, it's got to do with when not to hit. It's silence."
Keith Richards Remembers Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts
Pushing John Bonham aside in favour of Watts' drumming expertise, The Who's legendary head-case behind the sticks, Keith Moon, was next in the firing line.
"Charlie had feel, he had intelligence. You are talking to me about people like Bonham and Moon who just liked to hit things and that's the difference."
"Charlie Watts was a solid guy. I loved Mooney dearly as a person. As a drummer, I'd kill him. Right?", referring to Moon's timing.
"He's not bloody good. He can't swing. The one or two tracks I did cut with him, it was an absolute disaster. All he could do is drum for The Who, which is OK, as long as you stuck with The Who."
The pair wrote The Rolling Stones' first bonafide hit, 'I Wanna Be Your Man', with Stern perplexed as why they'd offer another band a potential chart success.
"I think that they felt that they and that we were part of something larger, and that England was finally coming out with something, and they wanted to support us. They were big-hearted," Richards replied.
Talking about the band's initial success, he went on to explain: "I played Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters and I sold it back to America."
"And then we started to add our own things to it. But I’m not really interested in what followed us."
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It's certainly true that he was completely disinterested in what followed The Rolling Stones. In fact, Keith is disinterested in contemporary music completely.
Continuing his hot streak of headlines at present, he criticised modern music for being too "synthesised".
"The only way to cut a band is to put the boys in a room and play and look in each other's eyeballs,” he said, in relation to how The Rolling Stones started writing their new album.
"Don't get me going on modern-day music. Push-button drums and everything is synthesised. Digital recording is a one-way toilet."