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Nov. 26, 2020

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Rolling with it, Richards is chilling in the garden

Keith Richards says he understood how hard Mick Jagger’s job was as a frontman when the guitarist took the lead role and performed his first solo tour in 1988

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FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones poses for a portrait in New York. On Friday, Richards is releasing a limited edition box set of his 1988 concert at the Hollywood Palladium taken during his first solo tour.
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones poses for a portrait in New York. On Friday, Richards is releasing a limited edition box set of his 1988 concert at the Hollywood Palladium taken during his first solo tour. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File) (Chris Pizzello/Invision) Photo Gallery

NEW YORK — Keith Richards is so old-school that when he does his interviews — he’ll do so from a landline.

The Rolling Stones icon isn’t a fan of technology. Years ago he admitted to not owning an iPod when the device was most popular. He’s one of the few people who hasn’t downloaded Zoom during the pandemic. And he doesn’t even own a cellphone.

“I’m not at all hooked in any high-tech internets,” he says. “I don’t even have a (cell) phone, man. I’m talking to you from on a landline. Why would I want a (cell) phone? You crazy?”

The unbothered 76-year-old rocker has been home for a full year now — a first for Richards, he reveals. He, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts wrapped part of their No Filter Tour in August 2019, and they had plans to hit the road again in May 2020, but things changed following coronavirus outbreak.

“I saw the garden grow, really quite unbelievable,” Richards explains. “Usually I come, it’s spring and suddenly it’s fall when I get back. I spent the whole summer actually admiring the garden and also doing a bit of gardening myself; watering the veggies and the stuff. I got into a more probably normal way of life, which is un-normal.”

While some performers in their seventies, including Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen, fear the pandemic is preventing them from hitting the road during their key years, Richards isn’t too concerned: “I can’t say I feel like a year has been stolen. I’ll just make up for it later.”

“I’m getting antsy,” he admits. “I guess I can take a year off but it’s in the bones. I guess after all these years, it’s in our calling, the body and everything. It’s like, ‘Come on, where’s our show, brother?’ It’s kind of a little weird, but at the same time, we’ve all got greater things to deal with at the moment.”

In the meantime, Richards does have something to give his die-hard fans that involves live music: On Friday he’s releasing a limited edition box set of his 1988 concert at the Hollywood Palladium recorded during his first solo tour.

“Live at the Hollywood Palladium” will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally, and the show was in support of “Talk Is Cheap,” his first solo album also released in 1988. He’s backed by The X-Pensive Winos, a group of all-star players, including drummer Steve Jordan, guitarist Waddy Wachtel, bassist Charley Drayton, keyboard player Ivan Neville, singer Sarah Dash and the late Bobby Keys, who played saxophone during the shows.

The tour came at an uncertain time for the Rolling Stones .

“The Winos came together because of the Stones around ’86 said, there was a definite hiatus. Let’s put it that way,” Richards says. “It’s understandable, especially in retrospect, after those many years, Mick and I and the whole band, ‘Is the whole world just the Rolling Stones?’ I suppose it was that kind of feeling. And I think Mick had it more than I did. But at the same time, we did need a break from each other and as it turned out, it was a great help to us both.”

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