Keith Richards: “I’ll take anybody’s idea. Writing is a cut-throat business…”

Keith looks back on his solo adventures – and what's next for the Stones

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As part of our 300th issue celebrations, we spoke to Keith about the forthcoming reissue of his second solo album, 1992’s Main Offender. Keith Here’s part of the interview; you can read the rest of the interview – along with features on Paul McCartney, our 300 Greatest Albums list, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Wilco, Low and Spiritualized – in our all-star 300th issue.

UNCUT: Hi Keith!
RICHARDS: Hello darling!

Main Offender is a terrific album. You must be very proud of it.
I am, actually. The first one [Talk Is Cheap] was such a blast, I really enjoyed myself and I wanted to give it a second go. We were more familiar with each other, knew how to play with each other. It was probably more fun, I guess.

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And collaborative, too?
A lot of it comes from freewheeling in front of a microphone with a riff. But, yeah, it’s the way I’m used to working. I’ll take anybody’s idea. You can call that collaboration, I call it thieving! Writing is a cut-throat business…

Steve Jordan was your main foil in the Winos. What does he bring to the table?
Steve’s been a friend of the Stones for a very long time. When we came to that hiatus in the ’80s, Charlie said to me, “Listen, Keith. If you’re gonna do anything with anybody else, Steve Jordan’s your man.” I took Charlie at his word, and he was right. Steve and I got together and did Chuck Berry’s Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll [concerts and film], Aretha Franklin’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

Steve, of course, has been with you on tour recently. What does he bring to the Stones?
He brings a knowledge of what Charlie does without… well, no-one can copy Charlie because he was unique. But Steve brings more energy, because he’s younger. He’ll play more to Mick’s dancing than maybe Charlie would. My job depends upon those drums behind me. I’ve been blessed, goddamn, with Charlie Watts for all those years and to find another as reliable as that is fantastic.

What accounts for the Stones’ resilience?
The songs. They can evolve, or different people can step up. It’s a great thing, a very surprising thing to me, but at the same time there it is. I love it. I’m really looking forward to doing something this year for the 60th anniversary. Though I don’t know what yet…

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