Keith Richards Reveals He Quit Smoking, Now Has 'More Stamina': 'Just Put the Hammer on It'

Keith Richards also said that he and Mick Jagger have no plans to sell the Rolling Stones' catalog

Keith Richards
Keith Richards. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Keith Richards has slowly bid farewell to various vices over the years, and these days, the rocker whose hard-partying ways is the stuff of legend has even quit smoking.

The Rolling Stones guitarist, 78, told CBS Sunday Morning in a new interview that after 55 years, he quietly put down his cigarettes two years ago with the help of nicotine patches.

"It's funny, I don't think about it much anymore… Sometimes, you know, a bell rings and something inside says, 'Hey pal, enough.' I just put the hammer on it," he said. "Luckily, I don't miss it, and that makes me feel good. Until I started rehearsing for the tour last August, and then I realized that I had 10 times more wind."

Richards elaborated on his rejuvenated performance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, saying he realized he had "a lot more air in the lungs and in the voice, more stamina."

"Otherwise, it ain't all it's cracked up to be," he joked. "Better than the alternative, man."

Richards has long been known for his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, and even once famously claimed he snorted his own father's ashes mixed with cocaine. The British star kicked his heroin habit in 1978 and stopped doing cocaine in 2006. He told Rolling Stone in 2018 that he'd also "pulled the plug" on drinking about a year earlier, save for an occasional glass of wine or a beer.

Elsewhere on CBS Sunday Morning, Richards spoke of his surprise at the death of longtime bandmate Charlie Watts, who died in August at age 80 after an undisclosed illness.

"I think he'd been trying to keep it under the wraps for a while last year, so that it came as quite a shock," Richards said. "He had had a round with cancer a year or two before, and he'd beat that one. He just got hit with a double whammy. Bless his soul."

The Stones will hit the road for a 60th anniversary tour in Europe this summer with Steve Jordan taking Watts' place on the drums, something Richards said Watts would have been in full support of.

RELATED VIDEO: Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts Dies at 80: 'One of the Greatest Drummers of His Generation'

He also said that he and frontman Mick Jagger have been working on new music, and recently came up with "eight or nine new pieces of material," a number he called "overwhelming by our standards."

Despite the fact that everyone from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to Sting and Neil Diamond have recently sold their catalogs, Richards said a sale is not in the near future for the Rolling Stones.

"Mick and I have not spoken about it on a serious level. I don't know if we're ready to sell our catalog, might drag it out a bit. Put some more stuff in it. The only thing about selling your catalog, that's a sign of getting old," he said, adding that he has no plans to retire. "If I did that, I wouldn't be coming up with an answer and then I'd be always thinking about it. Tomorrow? July the 5th, 2025? No, you can't know. I'll find out the hard way."

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