AceShowbiz - Keith Richards reveals old age and arthritis have changed the way he plays guitar. The 79-year-old The Rolling Stones rocker and his bandmates, Sir Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, are gearing up to release the band's first new studio LP, "Hackney Diamonds", for 18 years.
While he's lucky enough that his arthritis doesn't cause him extreme pain, Keith accepts that any loss of speed on the fretboard is caused by the joint disorder and the fact he is almost 80.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, he said, "Funnily enough, I've no doubt it has, but I don't have any pain: it's sort of a benign version. I think if I've slowed down a little bit it's probably due more to age."
Keith is endlessly amazed that the guitar consistently shows him new ways to play. He added, "And also, I found that interesting, when I'm like, 'I can't quite do that any more,' the guitar will show me there's another way of doing this. Some finger will go one space different and there's a whole new door just opened here."
Keith also revealed that the new album come about after Mick, 80, suggested that the band head into the studio at the end of their 60th anniversary tour in 2022. He said, "And for the first time it hit me in the right spot. Because I've always wanted to record the band as soon after they get off of the road as possible, because then the band is lubricated."
The band's last album of new material was 2005's "A Bigger Bang" while in 2016, they released "Blue and Lonesome" which was comprised of blues covers.
Keith thinks the reason it took him and Mick 18 years to write a full record of new material is because the singer's "waves of enthusiasm come and go." He said, "Mick writes the lyrics. But he's got some angst in him and I said, 'Well, let's use it because the singer has to want to sing the material.' Mick, given a song that he's not really interested in, can really make it bad. And that's maybe one of the reasons it took 18 years, because Mick's waves of enthusiasm come and go."
"Hackney Diamonds" will mark the first time the band will release an album without drummer and original member Charlie Watts, who passed away in 2021.
When asked about how he felt about releasing music without his former bandmate and friend, Richards said, "Feeling like I'm carrying on Charlie's wishes makes it a little bit easier. I will always miss the man dearly, but I know that if he was here today, he would be very happy to know that the band was continuing."