Keith Richards: Rap is for the ‘tone deaf’ & ‘Rap – so many words, so little said’

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Keith Richards has another hilarious new interview out this week. About a month ago, Keith sat down with Esquire for what turned out to be rollicking, funny bitchfest about life, love, the Stones and more. Keith is promoting his first solo album in more than a decade, Cross-eyed Heart. Which is why he agreed to sit down with the NY Daily News and once again come out with some #HardTruths about music, Mick Jagger’s snobbery, and how the Stones are a “painful democracy.” You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On today’s rock music: “It sounds like a dull thud to me. For most bands, getting the syncopation is beyond them. It’s endless thudding away, with no bounce, no lift, no syncopation.”

On heavy metal: “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes.”

On rap: “Rap — so many words, so little said. What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there. All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another.”

Working with the Stones: He calls the Stones “my baby.” He refers to that band’s inner workings as a “painful democracy.”

Mick Jagger is a snob: “I’ll reinforce that. His daughter, Georgia Mae, was sitting around in my room and she said, ‘oh, you know what dad’s like. He’s such a snob.’ He can come off that way even to me and the rest of the band. He comes on the plane and doesn’t say, ‘Hey mate.’ He’s preoccupied with something really boring. He’s a control freak. He likes to know everything that’s going on. He lost himself a bit in the details.” Even so, Richards makes sure to say of Jagger, “he’s a hell of a frontman,” and “I still love him dearly,” while adding “your friends don’t have to be perfect.”

On the Beatles: “As a band, they weren’t in sync with each other,” Richards says. In fact, Richards moved on from his Beatles fandom a long time ago. “When it got to (seeing the guru) Maharishi (in ’67), I gave up.”

His image as a hellion: “I can drag that image around — the Keith with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and a joint in the other. It’s a ball and chain. At the same time, I take it as a privilege to be taken into people’s hearts and minds. I feel like I’m doing all these things that they can’t do in a 9 to 5 job. In a way they’re saying, ‘Go ahead, Keith.’ They’re giving me license…and I’ve taken full use of it.”

The only drug he uses these days is pot: “It’s just a lift. It gives you a slightly different perception of your surroundings. To me, pot is just fun. And I’m glad to see the rest of the country is coming around to my way of seeing things.”

The band dynamics: “If you’re in a band, you have to sublimate yourself to each other. What’s the point of being in a band when you want to be numero uno? It’s got nothing to do with flash — and all to do with keeping the pulse going.”

[From The NYDN]

I wonder if Keith has certain artists or acts in mind when he’s talking about rock and rap music. Like, sometimes I’ll listen to some of the new rap artists and I’ll just think, “Really?” Of course, I’m sure in some circles, Maroon 5 is considered “rock” and if Keith is talking about Adam Levine, then more power to him. But I would be crushed if Keith was talking about a real rock band like Radiohead or something. As for Mick’s snobbery… yes, I’ll believe that. I also believe that Mick is probably incredibly detail-oriented and hyper-organized and that’s one of the big reasons that the Stones are still touring and making crazy money.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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149 Responses to “Keith Richards: Rap is for the ‘tone deaf’ & ‘Rap – so many words, so little said’”

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  1. Tiffany27 says:

    He’s not dead?

  2. meme says:

    true dat, keef! I love him. he’s the real rock and roll deal.

  3. Darkladi says:

    Carry on, mate!!

  4. Who ARE these people? says:

    “Rap — so many words, so little said.”

    “Brown Sugar. How come you dance so good.”

    Now that’s literature.

    • Astrid says:

      good one!

    • Imo says:

      What a reductive, obnoxiously myopic statement about an art form you obviously know nothing about. Educate yourself or at least try not to put your ignorance on display.

      • FingerBinger says:

        You understand that comment is making fun of Keith’s comment by quoting Rolling Stone’s lyrics?

      • Imo says:

        FingerBinger
        *sigh*
        Oh okay, sorry. I was rage responding. I’m just so fed up with similar notions. Never liked the Stones – Beatles 4eva so…apologies to op.

      • Bfwwwff says:

        Rap is cRap. Bad poetry set to a computer drum. Any moron can do it.

      • Kitten says:

        Stones over Beatles any day of the week, but rap is an art form. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, but to say that it’s somehow less than rock n’ roll is bullshit.

      • JoJo says:

        I believe he is speaking about rap from a strictly musical perspective, NOT lyrically. He is speaking from the perspective of a guitarist, so we need to look at his statement in regards to ONLY the instrumentation. The music in rap is lyrical; the words form the rhythm and beat that would normally be created by a backing band. In my opinion, what makes the Stones great is the music behind the lyrics. What makes rap great is the lyrics and message, not the beat and music behind them. In his book and in his interviews, he only talks about the instrumentation behind the lyrics, so it doesn’t surprise me that he says, “so many words, so little said.” I don’t think he’s listening to the words.

        Also, I think lyrics and rap, in general, are multilayered in that the writer has a meaning they ascribe to the words and the listener then ascribes their own understanding of the lyrics, as well as what they think the writer meant. Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all lyrics and rap, as some can be heard literally, so that can add another dimension.

        In either case, everyone has their own subjective taste in music and the only opinion that matters is your own.

      • Boo says:

        JoJo, thanks very much. That was a refreshing explanation and viewpoint.

        You’re probably right too in that I expect Keith is about the music rather than the words. It would make sense then that he can’t understand value in heavy metal or rap.

    • Shaz says:

      Or, I can’t get no satisfaction I can’t get no satisfaction I dun tried I dun tried I dun tried I dun tried I can’t get no satisfaction

      • Jaded says:

        Then there’s this:

        “She would never say where she came from
        Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
        While the sun is bright
        Or in the darkest night
        No one knows, she comes and goes

        Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
        Who could hang a name on you?
        When you change with every new day
        Still I’m gonna miss you

        Don’t question why she needs to be so free
        She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
        She just can’t be chained
        To a life where nothing’s gained
        And nothing’s lost, at such a cost

        Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
        Who could hang a name on you?
        When you change with every new day
        Still I’m gonna miss you

        “There’s no time to lose”, I heard her say
        Catch your dreams before they slip away
        Dying all the time
        Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
        Ain’t life unkind?

        Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
        Who could hang a name on you?
        When you change with every new day
        Still I’m gonna miss you…”

      • Sof says:

        At least those dumb lyrics are paired with good music. Can’t say that about bad rap, most beats sound the same.
        Now being serious, I can’t think of a single music genre which doesnt use nonsensical lyrics to sell.

      • Saks says:

        Also the time and context. It’s unfair to compare the lyrics of The Stones in the 60′s to the mainstream rap “lyrics” which for our age and time frankly suck

      • Chica says:

        I disagree that rap all sounds the same and that there aren’t good beats paired with meaningful lyrics.

        To generalize and diss a whole genre music that speaks to the oppression and life of a whole race of people just pisses me off to no end. Yet, rap and hip hop culture is among the highest exported good around the world. Just love it when the privileged try degrade and discount something that they haven’t created and that doesn’t relate to them: “This is not inclusive of me therefor is must be garbage…”

    • LeAnn Stinks says:

      Actually, the line is “Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good?,” which makes more sense.

      Secondly, many artists suffer from trite lyrics, even the great Beatles. “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” are two such examples.

      Finally, I have to agree with Richards. I always was never a fan of Rap. But, I have to admit compared to what it has morphed into today, classic rap like Run DMC, Young MC, etc, were poetic geniuses. But, to each their own.

      • Wilma says:

        I just started listening to rap. I really like listening to the lyrics. Lots of rap songs are short stories, with plot twists and turns. Yesterday I found myself laughing out loud while on my way to work on my bicycle, listening to Jay-Z. He has some really clever and funny lyrics.

      • enuff said says:

        @leeann stinks…unless you grew up in the mid 60′s…amidst the teen age angst that were the Beatles and the Stones…not sure anybody would ‘get it’ who didn’t experience it first hand…the beatles were great lyricists…they had a profound affect on everyone…period.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Oh geez, I was just having fun.

        And the lyric – how you come you taste so good instead of dance so good? This changes everything. Thanks!

        Now, how about that CCR song: “There’s a bathroom on the right…”

      • Crumpet says:

        You know, of course, the CCR lyric goes “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Yes of course I know the real lyric. Everyone is so testy!

      • EscapedConvent says:

        “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy…” —- Jimi Hendrix

      • Crumpet says:

        Apologies! I was not being testy, I promise. :)

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Thanks Crumpet.

        Escaped — ha! Won’t be listen to Hendrix the same way again.

  5. Astrid says:

    Good read. I don’t totally agree with his perception of music but the Rolling Stones still manage to pull off amazing live performances. And that’s not by accident. Saw them this summer and it was a dream come true.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      I’ve seen them a dozen times and never been disappointed. They take the performance seriously but you can also tell they love what they are doing and the joy carries through.

      • Shambles says:

        “You can also tell they love what they are doing and the joy carries through.”

        And that really makes all the difference. I went to a music festival this summer, and I saw 2 different EDM artists. Altogether different genre, but you can still tell who has the joy and who doesn’t. Deadmau5 was the first act I saw, and you could totally tell he was just phoning it in. It was just a stop on his tour. The next night I saw Bassnectar, and it was a whole different world. You could tell he absolutely loves what he does, and he was right there feeling every moment with us. That joy absolutely translated to his music, and it made such a huge difference.

      • Kitten says:

        That doesn’t surprise me, Shambles.

        The most bizarre live music experience I’ve ever had was seeing RAC with my brother a couple years ago. I guess I never actually thought about what it would be like, but there was no actual live singing…it was just a couple kids playing a couple guitars over pre-recorded tracks. Like, there was a laptop, but no turntable-ism and they basically only do remixes of other artists’ music so they just played…other people’s music.

        If I had thought it through I think I could have anticipated that but…
        Anyway, the whole performance was so passionless…so meh.

    • carol says:

      A- mazing performances!!! I’ve seen tons of acts live and really, the stones just blew them away. I saw the stones for the first time last year too.

  6. ninal says:

    Well he’s cranky old pepaw age so yeah.

  7. Mia4S says:

    An opinion has been given!!! Attack Internet, attack!! ;-)

    I can’t stand about 98% of rap, hip hop, or pop, but to each their own.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      The Internet can attack all it wants. Keith doesn’t care

      • meme says:

        he’s has no fvcks left to give LOL

      • LolaDoesTheHula says:

        @Mia4s, rmfe, sentiments like yours are so common around these parts, and it sounds so dumb everytime…why is what he said an “opinion” but expressing an opinion on what he said an “attack”?

      • Mia4S says:

        Jeez it’s a joke guys, relax!

        You know full well most of the “news” on the Internet is click bait hoping to garner an extreme reaction. The sites that publish these stories are not hoping for three comments says “agree to disagree”, they want 600 comments of outrage (!!!). And often they get it, even with innocuous views like his.

    • bns says:

      Literally no one is attacking him. People are allowed to respond to others opinions…

  8. EN says:

    > Rap — so many words, so little said. What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there. All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another

    Well, that is an interesting view. It makes me understand rap better I guess.
    My issue with rap is that it has no redeeming qualities – there is no melody and the words are usually offensive. To like rap you not only have to be tone death but also not know English.

    • FingerBinger says:

      You’re listening to the wrong rap songs. There are rap songs that don’t use dirty language and don’t demean women. Listen to Common he has very thoughtful lyrics. There are songs with melody too.

      • EN says:

        Common’s songs are considered rap? Or does he write both rap and non rap songs?

      • Genny says:

        Listen to Kendrick Lamar, Tupac, Biggie, hell, listen to 90s rap.
        We can sit here and argue in circles what is good and what isn’t, but if you don’t want to see validity in a genre, you won’t. I like older rock. I love rap. Both have bad music within it. That doesn’t mean that there’s no meaning in the genre as a whole.

      • Kitten says:

        I would not tell someone who does not like rap to listen to Kendrick, particularly considering how problematic some of his lyrics are. Actually, same with Biggie and Tupac.

        (and I’m a fan of all three)

        I think Common is a better recommendation. Common is rap, incredibly good rap and the dude puts on a live performance that you would not believe.

        Some great and positive hip-hop lite is Jurassic 5.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      No redeeming qualities?? Are you talking about rap as a whole or just certain songs? It’s sounds like you’re making a generalization.

      • EN says:

        Whatever comes up on radio. I am assuming these are the most popular and mainstream songs?

      • Imo says:

        EN
        Whatever station you’re listening to will give you the type of music it is known for so I don’t know what you mean. If you’re listening to cheesy, pop stations you will hear cheesy pop rap. If you choose to base your broad criticism of rap on that it is your fault you are not aware that there is informed, conscious rap out there.

      • EN says:

        > If you choose to base your broad criticism of rap on that it is your fault you are not aware that there is informed, conscious rap out there.

        Mmm-hmm. So, I have to become an expert on rap before I can say that whatever is released for mass consumption and is in the top by popularity is no good, or I don’t like it?

        I like classical music ( grew up with it), and many people say to my face that they don’t like/ don’t understand classical music. It is actually a very common attitude these days. I don’t see it as a personal slight. Just as a sign of times.

        In defense of classical music , at least it doesn’t demean women, calls to violence and has words like n*, b* and f* in every line. How can people be OK with that I don’t understand.

      • Imo says:

        EN
        You’re the one who stated that rap has no redeeming qualities. You didn’t say some rap or even most rap. When you generalize you can expect to be challenged. What if I said that classical music is repetitive garbage? Of course it isn’t but making such a blanket statement about an entire musical genre is just as shortsighted.
        And it is insulting that you think people who like rap also must obviously be okay with offensive, sexist lyrics. People are capable of intelligent differentiation. You should try it.

      • Neah23 says:

        @EN

        I think your views come from a place of ignorance more then anything. The fact that you are unaware that Common is a 100% rapper and not all rapper use curse words or calls to violence is very telling.

      • V4Real says:

        “To like rap you not only have to be tone death but also not know English.”

        @EN
        What’s offensive is your comment. There’s quite a bit of music out there that I’m not a fan of but there’s no need for me to insult the people who enjoys listening to that music. Your comment seems as if it is coming from a place of ignorance. It seems you know very little about rap or what is or isn’t rap.

        What if I said your claim of listening to classical music is trying to prove you come from a higher place of intelligence but if that was true you wouldn’t make such an ignorant comment about rap or pop to try to insult the ones who listen to these types of songs?

      • EN says:

        > I think your views come from a place of ignorance more then anything. The fact that you are unaware that Common is a 100% rapper and not all rapper use curse words or calls to violence is very telling.

        I don’t like rap, as music ( I like melody and it doesn’t have it). And then on top of it you get offensive violent lyrics ( in the US at least), and yes many people choose to remain ignorant, by choice.
        And it seems that people who like rap and hip-hop are just fine with the offensive and violent content since nobody speaks up against it. Why is that?

        I only learned about Common when I heard his song at the Oscars. And I liked it. But he is not that popular which can be easily proven by simply looking at the charts. If there were more artists like him then rap might’ve had different reputation.

      • EN says:

        > you wouldn’t make such an ignorant comment about rap or pop to try to insult the ones who listen to these types of songs?

        We keep going in circles. Why so many popular rap and hip-hop songs lyrics are offensive? And why are so many people are OK with it?

      • V4Real says:

        @EN
        How are we going in circles if I only responded to you once; this being my second retort to you?

        You keep bringing up the why does so many rap songs have offensive lyric question as if that question is some kind of grand eye opener. But let me answer your question this way. Why does so many popular movies have violence in them? Why are there popular movies that glorify prostitution (Pretty Woman, Pretty Baby and Risky Business comes to mind). Why are there popular movies where people go out and seek revenge on the ones that have wronged them? Answer: they’re just movies, The Goal: to turn a profit and entertain.

        It’s just music, not to be taken literal. If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it. If it’s not your cup of tea, try a different cup. But stop trying to insult people who do like rap or pop. You’re taste in music doesn’t make you superior in your listening skills. And there are a lot of popular rap and hip hop songs without offensive lyrics. If you have never heard them than that’s on you.

      • Kitten says:

        Man what is so sad to me about this thread is that AAVE is such a rich f*cking language, but you’re interpreting it as *less than* because it doesn’t sound white and “proper”. I’m trying to come down too hard on you, EN, but you should really open your mind up.

        EDIT: Ok I’m sorry EN I just read down-thread what you meant. I misunderstood. You do need to understand that not every rap song has offensive language though.

    • Imo says:

      My issue with this viewpoint is that it has no redeeming qualities.

      • Kitten says:

        You have to consider the source, though. This is someone who hasn’t heard rap beyond what’s played on the radio. Truthfully, I’d probably feel the same way if I were her because I think a lot of Top 40 rap is garbage.

        That being said, I listen to rap everyday and the majority of my music collection IS awesome hip hop. To say that it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities is simply not true.

      • scotchydeez says:

        I agree, I also think this is rich coming from a guy who appropriated black blues music in order to write songs and sell records. In fact some of their earlier work was covers of a variety of blues artists. Those artists didn’t always get paid….
        I think he’s old and was cranky during this interview….

    • Solanacaea (Nighty) says:

      Portuguese rap lyrics are actually not totally bad, no violence, guns and things like that. Though I don’t lke rap… Thinking about one of the most played “songs”: it’s about unemployment and the problems youth has, one studies a lot and gets no job…

      • Franca says:

        Here in Croatia 90% of rappers talk about social issues. Probably because there are no gangsters here, so gangsta rap would just fe hilarious coming from a Croatian.

    • bns says:

      Not know English? This stupid comment.

      • EN says:

        When ( many many moons ago) I didn’t know English, I liked some songs because music was beautiful. But once I learned English I stopped liking them because of the words.

        The same with Spanish language songs. The tunes are often catchy. But once you learn Spanish you realize that 50% of the words are traison and corazon, and it is just silly.

      • bns says:

        @EN

        Oh I see what you’re saying now. I’m sorry I jumped the gun. I thought you were saying that rap isn’t real English.

    • Aren says:

      I agree. My music teacher used to say that most people like simple, cheap music because that’s all they can aspire to understand.
      It’s the same in every country, the music for the masses is below mediocre, because so is their fanbase.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        That’s a mighty big heap of contempt and I say that as a classical pianist/sometimes music teacher, which I guess would have cachet with your teacher.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      I think the phrase is ‘tone deaf’.

    • Pinky says:

      You don’t know cRap. Listen to The Sugarhill Gang or Grandmaster Flash’s The Message and then get back to me. I’ll wait…..

  9. Catherine says:

    Keith Richards in old codger moan shocker. I agree that Mick is a snob though.

  10. Eleonor says:

    I love Kiff.
    And he is right about Mick: he is an hell of a frontman.

  11. FingerBinger says:

    How does being a control freak make you a snob? Keith has to be using the wrong word. Snob and control freak aren’t synonymous.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I wondered what he meant by “snob,” too. Unfriendly? Just a “hi, mate,” no hug? To me a snob is someone who thinks they are superior to others for some reason – wealth, intellect, culture, etc. – and talks down to people.

  12. Franca says:

    I don’t see how detail-oriented and hyper-organized translates to snob, but maybe I misred.

    There is so much great rap music, and great new rock music but unfortunately the ones who become big and mainstream tend to be crap. Although I do wish more new rock bands would talk about socila issues, I don’t see much of that. It’s usually the same old boring songs about love and feelings.

    • Bae says:

      Yeah, I can’t think of a really popular newish rock band that writes mainly about politics and social issues. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  13. tifzlan says:

    I wonder if he’s ever listened to Immortal Technique. I often have to lie down and think about my life and the state of the world for an hour because he just says /too/ much.

    • Toasty says:

      Thank you, always open to hear new music and expand my understanding and appreciation. I’ve never heard of him, but a quick google he seem’s really interesting. I’ll definitely give him a listen. Again, thank you.

  14. Nayru says:

    I used to say that I liked everything except country. Now I think it is ignorant and small minded to dismiss an entire genre of music. It’s narrow minded to insist upon a restricted definition of music just like insisting art must be on a canvas or something.

    There are plenty of socially conscious hip/hop rap artist including Lupe Fiasco, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def. They have just as much to say as any average rock artist.

    • magda says:

      I could say that I don’t like rap….in general, I hate it. But Things fall apart/The Roots is one of my favourite album ever…..

    • Luca76 says:

      Yeah there’s great hip hop out there its still not my favorite music but it exists. The problem is that the quality of mainstream music is across the board pretty awful with a few patchy bright spots at a certain point you have to be a private investigator to find it. Years ago you just really had to turn on the radio. Now you have to forgive me because I grew up near New York City and we had every type of radio station and now I like every type of music but I miss the days when there were so many radio stations that played whatever you were in the mood for.

    • Wilma says:

      Ah yes, Mos Def was the one that made me take an interest in rap.

    • jugstorecowboy says:

      Basically he sounds like his own is the only music that is worthy. Whatever, call me tone deaf but I like rap.

  15. bns says:

    People that say shit like this obviously don’t listen to rap. Shut up old man.

    • Imo says:

      Testify.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I like him, and know almost nothing about rap, but even I know that very often rappers have a great deal to say about a huge range of subjects. And as someone above pointed out, the Stones’ lyrics aren’t exactly world changing.

      • Franca says:

        The Stones did have some lyrically amazing songs. Gimme Shelter is my favourite.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        True. I was young when they were starting out, and to be honest, I think I’ve just heard all of their songs so often that I don’t really “hear” them anymore.

      • frisbee says:

        @ Franca – Gimme shelter! The best opening bars of any rock song anywhere ever! I have to go and play it now :)

    • Neb says:

      So unfair. I like the Stones but to effectively dismiss rap like that goes to show he is narrow minded about a different art from. Rap is poetry. Rhythm And Poetry.

      He HAS to be referring to the mainstream junk on the radio, in which case I can’t blame him. Tyga, 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne… those guys give rap a bad name, and contemporary music in general. But I can’t believe a musician would be so wilfully ignorant as to not know of any outstanding rappers, like Immortal Technique, Atmosphere, Prodigy, Blue Scholars, Kendrick Lamar, Nas (those last two ARE mainstream)… the list goes on.

  16. embertine says:

    RRR MUMBLE GRUMBLE YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY GET OFF MY LAWN DON’T HAVE NO RESPECT CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION GRUMBLE

    I’ll take criticism of rap from Keith Richards when he acknowledges that the Stones’ most famous song contains the most egregious double negative in rock history. Good day sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.

    • Jayna says:

      Keith is all about the musical side, the melody. He’s a great rhythm guitarist. Mick basically writes the lyrics. I think he is saying where is the melody, the music in it, is his feeling.

      • belle de jour says:

        This is exactly why I love hearing his observations (he’s dead right about the syncopation, for instance); he’s a veteran, accomplished musician, and in those areas, he knows exactly what he’s talking about. I also think he’s referring to ‘what’s being said’ in the *music* & melody progression – as well as in the words. And to the fact that you can’t find the pocket if your sounds and beats are falling in precisely controlled electronic signals vs. being organic every time you have to perform with others.

        Since it’s sort of a tradition to give younger bands and newer formats a hard time, I take all those comments with an enormous grain of old-guy salt. I don’t agree with him about some rap, but I love what he knows about playing music.

      • Imo says:

        This feels like an assumption that rappers are just standing around on a street corner or hanging out in studios thinking up stupid rhymes.
        Tupac, Slick Rick, Azaela Banks, Nicky Minaj, Dana Fane – all classically trained, to name a few. I would go so far as to say that rappers are exposed to more genres of music than Richards even though few will ever reach his level of musicianship. Variety is the spice of life.

  17. The Other Maria says:

    He’s just mad he can’t rip off rap like he did many a jazz and blues player….

    • Jayna says:

      He is a student of the great jazz and blues players. He admires them and studied them and incorporated it in their rock music, because he feels that is the greatest music. He bows down to the greats.

  18. A says:

    i like maroon 5 and they have never said they are rock. They mix a lot of styles together

  19. Hannah says:

    Keith is loveable and payed his due to say whatever he wants but for someone who built his entire early career on a black American music for, he’s remarkably ( to use his own lingo) “tone deaf” to the continuation of black American music.. Rap is as authentic as the blues. Ok not every rap artist is a lyrical genius and lots of it is commercial crap just as lots of rock music is, but you need to look no further than Kendrick Lamar to see an artist with real talent.

    • Aren says:

      Blues is built on classical music’s chord progressions. So I guess we can say black american blues musicians ripped off European music and have no real talent.

      • bns says:

        Don’t be obtuse. The Rolling Stones (and pretty much all classic rock) are heavily influenced by black artists and black music. The person above didn’t say that they had no real talent.

      • Imo says:

        Aren
        If you think variations of chord progressions alone equals one of the most expressive, unique, evocative forms of musical expression known to man you need refresher music theory classes.

      • V4Real says:

        Though I’m not the first king of controversy
        I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley, to do Black Music so selfishly
        and use it to get myself wealthy.”

        At least Eminem admitted it.

        I like the Stones. I prefer them over the Beatles. But, yeah they were influenced by Black sound. And yes I like “Brown Sugar and Harlem Shuffle.”

    • TLOH1366 says:

      Early Black American music was influence by European instruments particularly the violin (European) and hymns (European) which late became known in Black churches as spirituals. So Black American music was influence in part by White Europeans – so if we are going parse – do it with some semblance to accuracy. Instead of blanket statements that fit neatly into an inaccurate narrative.

      • Pinky says:

        Well, Europeans stole many of their instruments from other cultures, so be gone.

      • Imo says:

        TLO…
        Mmmkay…early African American music, including the blues is a derivation of the West and Central African call and response dynamic, which is, itself, centuries old. Check your facts and bias proof them while you’re at it. And by the way, hymns did not attain liturgical prominence until the spread of Calvinism – again, well after the aforementioned African vocal style became prolific.

      • Kath says:

        Keith is very vocal about his love of the blues. He pretty much acknowledgedes that he learnt music from listening to people like muddy waters and Bobby Womack so I have no idea why some people in this thread felt the need to claim the blues is base on white European music all of a sudden . I feel this is distasteful this attempt to suggest it’s not an autonomous African tradition.

      • Imo says:

        Kath
        Because obviously European = superior and original.

  20. Jayna says:

    He talks about Mick being a snob and is always so quick to point out Mick’s faults, not so much his own. Mick kept that band going while Keith was drugged out of his mind.

    Mick said many things hurt him in the book Keith wrote, but that what really hurts is on tour backstage Keith never wants to visit, interact with Mick, come to his dressing room, whatever they call room, etc., in other words acting like mates. Keith makes no effort. Funny how Keith sees one side.

  21. Megan says:

    Patty Hansen looks amazing.

  22. QQ says:

    ….and Keith Richards is for the Blind with all their vaccines current, This Raisinnette which is probably embalmed and preserved and pickled on all the drugs needs to sit down somewhere

  23. hmph says:

    I agree with him. Especially about rap.

  24. FLORC says:

    As a side topic on NPR’s Wait Wait several weeks back there was a former roady (sp?) for the RS who became a doctor. A vet or dentist i think. He said he loved being on tour with the Stones, but 1 day KRichards came to him an said he should be doing soemthing with his life in so many words. The guy said of all people. When Keith comes to you and says that you listen! It was hilarious. Worth a listen.

    • belle de jour says:

      Robin Williams had a joke along the lines that Jack Nicholson partied so hard, he was the only human on the planet to hear Keith Richards say, “I think it’s time for me to go home now, mate.”

    • Boxy Lady says:

      I know Charlie Sheen is kind of persona non grata on this website (I still can’t believe he made it to 50 yesterday) but he said something similar about Slash of Guns N Roses once.

      “Slash sat me down at his house and said, ‘You’ve got to clean up your act.’ You know you’ve gone too far when Slash is saying,’ Look, you’ve got to get into rehab.’”

  25. skippy says:

    I love Keith. I want him to come live with me. He tells great stories.
    Always makes me laugh.

  26. Milo says:

    I teach high school. Kids in my first class were listening to music while completing an assignment. One was signing along. The lyric sounded like “I put my thumb in her butt” yeah…current popular rap is great.

    • Imo says:

      “God Made Girls” Rae Lynn
      “Animals” Adam Levine
      “Hello Kitty” Avril Lavigne
      “This Is How We Do” Katy Perry

      Yeah, it’s just rap that offends.

      • Milo says:

        Did I say it wasn’t? I actually introduced my students to the roots and common and Eric b and rakim and many others. I’m an old head hip hop fan, but the new popular radio stuff is shit-tactic and I give not a single damn about how shit-tactic other genres are, they have nothing to do with the horrific lyrics that my students were repeating.

      • Imo says:

        Without the framework you’ve now provided you basically, in your op, gave yet another example why rap should be seen as without value. You weren’t specific to era or subgenre. I actually think that you, as an informed music lover, could have helped with the blanket criticisms listed in this thread instead of chiming in.
        I also fully understand that this is just my bossy opinion and I don’t want to be the comment police.

      • Milo says:

        i referred to current popular rap in my op, but it’s all good. I was probably overly sensitive to your response because in my thoughts I was only referring to the stuff currently being played on the radio and current rap just makes me sad. Mostly cause I remember sitting in front of my boom box waiting to hit record when songs came on cause they spoke to me and now they just tell me to make my butt clap or some other such nonsense.

      • Imo says:

        Nilo
        You did say “current popular rap” in your op so I will pour the pinot while you slice a bit of crow for me as well. Some of the snide, ignorant comments here made me a bit jumpy also. And boy did your boombox recollection launch me back to the past. ‘Award Tour’, ‘Tennessee’ and ‘Scratch’ still transport me to this day!

      • Milo says:

        Award tour is the song of the week for my class to analyze next week!!! or How I Get Over… I can’t decide which one I’m more excited to play for them.

      • Imo says:

        Okay you’re totally my new bestie – Taylor Swift style!

  27. parissucksliterally says:

    Old rap is great – “The Message” “White Lines” , “It’s Like That”, for example. Before rap became about sex and drugs, it DID mean something.

  28. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Simple minds see simple lines.

    It amazes me how quickly folks trash rap and then quote the lyrics literally scoffing “What is that?”

    A metaphor and right next to it a simile, next to that is a play on words using a common phrase to illustrate a point. In other words the depth is there but some would rather pretend it isn’t. Sorry rap is one of the few genres where blacks are prominent and I side-eye anyone who declares it completely and totally garbage.

    You don’t have to love any music genre but if you’re basing your knowledge on what’s on the radio then I’ve got a few other genres I’ve got comments for days on.

    For instance why are all country singers so interested in girls climbing into their truck?

    • BB says:

      I don’t want to turn around and make another blanket generalization, buuuuttt I can’t stand country and your last sentence made me think of it. Every song sounds the same to me and it’s always about trucks or tractors, beer, girls getting revenge on cheaters, drinking lemonade, summertime, the grass, getting drunk, porch swings. I swear it all sounds the same to me and I can’t really recall ever hearing socially conscience country music in the last 15 or so years. I don’t hate Reba or Garth Brooks, though, but I cannot get down with country.

      • JustCrimmles says:

        You forgot to mention trains, mamas, dogs, prison and standing outside in the pouring rain. While drunk. ;)

  29. Nikki says:

    Friends of ours, an older Jewish couple, went on a commercial flight to Mexico and chatted for quite a while with Keith Richards, the husband not even KNOWING who Keith Richards was, just chatting about other stuff! The kicker is, later they saw him at a restaurant, but he was with others, so the wife headed for a far table to not disturb them. KR saw them, stood up and shouted, “Mates! C’mon over!” waved them over, insisting they join them for dinner! 😄

  30. Emily C. says:

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap. The stuff that gets the most popular is often the worst. It would be ignorant and ridiculous to say all romance novels are bad because of 50 Shades of Grey, for instance.

    Though I don’t know of anyone who makes rock any longer. Radiohead? Oh dear.

    • Phoebe says:

      Oh dear what? They are one of the last great rock bands.

    • Crumpet says:

      Thanks for the reference, I had never heard of Sturgeon’s Law. I wholly admit that I am generally not a fan of rap, and when it comes on the radio I can’t change the channel fast enough. But I loved 8 Mile. I will also admit that I simply have made no effort to educate myself on rap. Enjoyment of certain music types is learned. For instance, I never would have enjoyed classical music so much if I hadn’t taken a college course in it. Now I can hear each individual instrument and the dance they weave together is so amazing. I assume rap is the same, I just haven’t made the effort.

  31. Wonderbunny says:

    > But I would be crushed if Keith was talking about a real rock band like Radiohead or something.

    And if he was, then so what? You know how good Radiohead is and you can appreciate them and Keith Richards at the same time. What he thinks is fun to listen to, but it doesn’t have to have any influence whatsoever. Us all being different with different points of view is one of the best things in this world.

  32. My Two Cents says:

    Only song of theirs I liked was Start Me Up and that was because it was the Chiefs song to get the crowd going. Was fun to be there and feel the hype of the crowd. As for the rest, I can take them or would rather leave them. Keith Richards is so lucky to have survived his heroin days and still have a working brain. They can still sell out stadiums so they are doing something right rocking into their 70′s! Doubt any rappers will be doing the same.

  33. Macscore says:

    I just came here to say how great Patti Hansen still looks.

  34. TherapyCranes says:

    Brother Ali, Lupe Fiasco, Wax, Watsky, Atmosphere, Common, Invincible, Asheru… etc etc etc. There are so so so many hip hop artists that rap about sexism, racism, tolerance, love and the struggles of the modern man. You don’t have to limit yourself to old school hip hop to find great music with great messages. Pop rap is just as bad as pop music. All you need to do is scratch the surface of rap to find life changing songs and artists. Generalizing is never a good thing. If you’re actually going to demean an entire art form the least you should do is try to learn about the thing you are going to so ignorantly bash.

  35. TopCat says:

    I have nothing against rap as a genre per say. I think rap can be used and has been used to tell the truth. But a lot of mainstream modern rap is just horrible; homophobic, sexist and violent. It seems to be one of the few mediums where it’s okay to be racist, sexist and homophobic which shocks me. Listening to most mainstream rap makes me angry/upset. I hate the b word, f word, h word, s word. I think it just promotes misogyny and cruelty. But some older rap and particularly songs I love.

    I love Tupac’s ‘Broken Wings’ and I used to love Eminem because he seemed tongue in cheek but I can’t listen to him now because his ‘angry, angry young man’ schtick wore thin.

  36. Bobafelty says:

    This guy snacked on his dad’s ashes and permanently fried his brain with drugs, so not sure why he thinks his ‘taste’ in anything is relevant.

  37. eleri says:

    lolololol. keith: NO one gives a rat’s ass about your opinion on music. you are not relevant. your music was once relevant and ok but now lololol is all i got. plus public enemy.

  38. Stacey says:

    Many years ago, I ran a huge event with many, many celebs attending. Of all the A-listers (and some B-listers) we worked with, my whole team fell in love with Keith Richards. (And his tux jacket had a lining of white silk with tiny black skulls. How cool is that?). But mostly, he was just incredibly sweet. Called us all Darlin’ and when I told him one of my interns was almost paralyzed with awe at finally meeting her longtime crush, he made a point of chatting her up, even held her hand and walked her over to the bar and bought her a drink. Hours later, when he left, he remembered her name, asked for her and planted a big kiss on her before taking a picture with her. He was just kind when he didn’t have to be, authentic and grateful for his life. I love, love, love Keith Richards.