Keith Richards says arthritis has “no doubt” changed his guitar playing, but not much as it’s a “benign version”

His comments come days before The Rolling Stones release their first album in 18 years, Hackney Diamonds.

Keith Richards has said that having arthritis has changed his guitar playing, but that age is a factor too.

The Rolling Stones legend, who turns 80 in December, tells the BBC in a new interview that while he has “no doubt” that arthritis has changed his playing, he doesn’t have any pain, as his arthritis is “a benign version”.

He explains, “I think if I’ve slowed down a little bit it’s probably due more to age. 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 it. Some fingers will go one space different and a whole new door opens.

“And so you’re always learning. You never finish school, man.”

The Stones’ new album, Hackney Diamonds, is set for release on 20 October, and it’s the band’s first album of new music in 18 years. There’s a star-studded supporting cast, too, with everyone from Elton John and Paul McCartney to Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga. Former bassist Bill Wyman also features, playing bass on the track Live by the Sword.

It’s the band’s first album since the death of longtime drummer Charlie Watts, too, after he died in 2021. However, he does feature on a couple of tracks.

While it’s the first Stones album of fresh material in almost two decades, it wasn’t as if they hadn’t been working on a new release in that time.

“There’s a lot of stuff in the can which is pretty damn good,” Keith explains. “But it’s not an album. It’s just a lot of tracks.”

It was after their 60th-anniversary tour last year that plans for a new album were solidified, however. Frontman Mick Jagger wanted to go to the studio to record, something that hit Richards “in the right spot”.

“I’ve always wanted to record the band as soon after we get off of the road,” he explained, “because the band is lubricated.”


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