Rolling Stones' hellraiser Keith Richards reveals he's cut down on hard liquor and cigarettes in a bid to live a cleaner life...after December turned into 'one long party' for his 75th
He is the hellraiser and renowned party animal in one of the most legendary rock and roll groups of all time.
But Keith Richards has revealed he is reining in his infamous party lifestyle and cutting down on hard liquor and his beloved cigarettes,in a new interview with MOJO Magazine.
The Rolling Stones rocker admitted he has started 2019 on a health kick, after December turned into 'one long party' for his 75th birthday and 35th wedding anniversary with wife Patti Hansen at his lavish Turks & Caicos house on Parrot Cay.
The Gimme Shelter hitmaker said: 'By January 1, you're knackered. And that's a good way to start a new year, right?! I'm drying out now!'
I've knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two, but otherwise… no. It's like heroin – the experiment is over.'
He paused. 'Mind you, if I meet you in a bar and you say, 'Do you want a drink?' – heheheh – I wouldn't turn it down! I'm not a puritan in these matters. It's just that it's not on the daily menu anymore.'
When asked if he had ever tried to give up cigarettes, the guitarist said: 'I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully! Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin.'
'It is. Quitting heroin is like hell, but it's a short hell. I mean, the actual process. Cigarettes are just always there, and you've always done it.
'I just pick 'em up and light 'em up without thinking about it. But lately, in fact – spread the news! – I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day, and I'm still working on it.
'Because I realised I don't need it. I realised it's just a useless habit. But hey, when you're 75, habits are pretty ingrained.'
Asked how he stays in shape, the star revealed he relies on an extremely basic regime to maintain his honed frame.
He said: 'I get up. Ummm. And then, uh, you know, I sit down. I don't do none of this trotting around, I think it's bad for you. It's bad on the joints, especially on concrete.
'I don't go with that. It's just not for me. It works for some guys, but y'know, it's just… Mmm. Oh, and when I go to the islands, I do quite a bit of swimming.'
He added: 'It's not a regime, it's just very nice to be in the water, and, uhh, you know… float about a bit.'
Despite his hectic lifestyle, jetting all over the world for gigs with the Stones, the star said he still doesn't own a mobile phone and says he's 'pretty technically illiterate'.
He said: 'I rely upon my kids or the wife to… just look it up! Google it or something! I don't touch those things. I've never liked phones, you see.
'Maybe that's just because, being so-called famous since I've been 19, the phone is always ringing and it's always somebody that wants something.
'So with the phone, I would only ever phone out. So when they brought in mobile phones, I'm like, Oh no…! At least before I could say, 'I wasn't in!' But now… Everybody who knows me knows I don't have a phone.'
2019 will see Keith embark on the U.S leg of the Stones No Filter tour with bandmates Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts, calling at 13 US stadiums during a two-month period this summer.
Keith said: 'Everybody wants to work as long as they can and feel good about it.'
'Our  tour in Britain and Europe was fantastic, the band was rocking. Until we got to Warsaw and somebody said, That's the last show…' Oh no man, it was just getting going!
'So when the proposition came up to play America in 2019, everybody jumped at it. It's what you do. If you give me 80,000 people, I feel right at home. There's something also about the harmless joy in turning loads of other people on. I wouldn't want to disappoint those people, doing the 'Ohh, I don't feel like it'.
'If I didn't feel like it, I wouldn't do it. Nor would any of us. The roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd – it gets ya! You can't stay away.'
The Stones are also about to start recording their new album.
Keith, who is also guest-editing the magazine this month said: 'We're in the studio in a couple of weeks, the whole kit and caboodle. The Stones with Don Was producing, in LA.
'We'll have it done this year, at some point. We'll put down as much as we can for a week or so, and then we're on the road. So we'll see what happens after that.'
The Rolling Stones, of which Richards is a founding member, are so famed for their hedonism and debauchery that their actions in the bands heyday have set the bar for what it meant to be a decadent rock star ever since.
Keith, known as Keef by die-hard fans. instantly set himself apart from the other band members for his raucous antics.
He was arrested and charged five times for drugs offences: in 1967, twice in 1973, in 1977, and in 1978.
At his first trial he was sentenced to a year in prison for allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property, though this was later overturned.
However the band were subsequently relentlessly pursued by police throughout their 1972 North America tour - dubbed the 'Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour' - which was when they first started book up entire floors of hotels.
On the way a show in Nebraska, the Stones were pulled over by the police, who uncovered an enormous stash of illegal drugs.
Nothing came of it - apart from a $165.50 fine for reckless driving - but Richards says of the tour in his biography: 'The State Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex (whatever that is), and violence across the United States.'
Facing a minimum sentence of seven years, Richards evaded jail time by striking a plea bargain that including holding a show to raise money for the blind.
He finally quit cocaine after he fell from a tree in Fiji and suffered a severe head trauma that required live-saving surgery in 2006.
While he still allows himself the 'occasional' glass of wine or beer, Keith told Rolling Stone in December 2018, that curbing his drinking has been an 'adjustment'.
He said: 'You can call it that, yeah. But I don't notice any difference really – except for I don't drink. I wasn't feeling (right). I've done it. I didn't want that anymore.'
Ronnie Wood, himself sober for eight years - told Rolling Stone that Richards has become 'a pleasure to work with,' since he cut back on the substances and alcohol.
'Much more mellow. He's open to more ideas, whereas before I'd kind of grit my teeth and go, "He's gonna give me some shit for saying this." Now, he'll say, "That's cool, man",' Wood said.
Wood said that the old Richards used to go over the top and could get nasty if he drank too much, but he realized this and started to cut down slowly.
Richards said there was an 'interesting' difference playing onstage sober than his previous alcohol-fueled performances, and Wood agreed that now the two guitarists work 'more conscientiously' when it comes to their guitar riffs, weaving them together more carefully.
The latest leg of the Rolling Stones tour kicks off on April 20 at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.