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Keith Richards says he quit drinking: 'I didn't want that anymore'

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards made a reputation for himself over the decades as a hard-living classic rock 'n' roller, but he's dialing it back now.
/ Source: TODAY

Keith Richards built his reputation over the decades on two particular talents: being an amazing guitarist for The Rolling Stones since the 1960s, and for surviving a hard-living, hard-drugging, hard-drinking existence.

But at least one of those things has changed, he now says. Richards has, for the most part, given up drinking.

"It's been about a year now," the 74-year-old explained to Rolling Stone magazine recently. "I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it."

Though the man the Irish newspaper The Independent described as "the most elegantly wasted human being on earth" will "occasionally" have a glass of wine or a beer, the more hedonistic days of the past are in the past.

"It was time to quit," he added. "Just like all the other stuff."

Oh, and he still smokes, but drugs have earned his scorn.

"Drugs are not interesting these days," he told The Independent in March. "They are very institutionalized and bland. And anyway, I've done 'em all."

If The Rolling Stones epitomized the hard-charging rock 'n roll lifestyle of the 1960s and '70s, Richards was their debauched ambassador: he once 'fessed up to snorting his father's ashes with cocaine.

His bandmate Ronnie Wood got sober in 2010 after decades of substance abuse, and now says Richards is "more mellow" for being sober.

"The Keith that we used to know and love had this cutoff point where if he had one more, he’d go over the top and he’d be nasty," said Woods. "The cutoff point became shorter and shorter, you know, and he realized that."

Keith Richards
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, still rockin' in their 70s, live on stage on May 29 in Southampton, UK.Getty Images

Now that the band is planning for their "No Filter" tour in 2019, Richards says he's happy with his new way of life — though it was an adjustment.

"You can call it that, yeah," he laughed. "But I don't notice any difference, really — except for I don't drinnk. I wasn't feeling (right). I've done it. I didn't want that any more."