Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has written a letter demanding that two Swedish newspapers apologize to the band and its Swedish fans for publishing a very negative review of an August 3 Rolling Stones concert in Gothenberg, Sweden. The review said Richards looked "very drunk" at the performance.
Now, there’s a shocker.
Richards, of course, is world-famous for looking like a particularly ancient and frightful witch and speaking an incomprehensible blather most commonly heard among street-wandering schizophrenics—and is widely beloved for it all, as a sort of crazy uncle character. Yet somehow the review set him into a state of high dudgeon reminiscent of Arianna Huffington on a bad day. In a statement released today and reported by Reuters, Richards demanded the newspaper apologize:
"Never before have I risen to the bait of a bad review," the veteran rock star said in a statement released on Wednesday.
"But this time … I have to stand up for our incredible Gothenburg audience and for our fans all over Sweden … to say that you owe them, and us, an apology."
I suppose it is ordinarily a bit of an insult to claim that a person was drunk on the job, but in Richards’s case, it’s precisely what we’d expect. In fact, it’s what he’s paid for—to appear to be drunk if not actually to be drunk.
So I greatly doubt that the band’s fans were offended by the reviewer’s claim that Richards was inebriated during the Gothenberg show, even if he wasn’t (although of course he probably was—he keeled over onstage during a Helsinki show on the same tour). After all, no one attending a Rolling Stones concert is expecting Keef to perform with the miraculous precision of a Jan Akkerman. No, they’re just there to have fun hearing the same songs they’ve heard hundreds of times before, performed live by a bunch of nutty rich old codgers.
Here’s hoping Keith gets over it and goes back to being our crazy lovable uncle instead of a crazy scary uncle who writes angry letters to newspapers.