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Why Keith Richards thinks Metallica and Black Sabbath are "joke" bands


The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has an acidic tongue that, on reflection, could be held in the same infamous regard as his hedonistic edge. While Richards has never been shy to voice his opinion, both Metallica and Black Sabbath both found themselves on the razor-sharp receiving end of his brutality when the Rolling Stone man branded them “great jokes”.

Notoriety is a currency that Richards has used to fuel his career, and the same can also be said for both the bands that he decided to target in this particular instance. In all honesty, his close-minded view on the genre of metal shouldn’t arrive as a spectacular surprise, especially considering that the guitarist rarely wanders outside his comfort zone of blues, jazz, and R&B.

Richards has always drawn from the sunnier side of music, and contrastingly, there’s a justified reason why Ozzy Osbourne has earned himself the nickname ‘The Prince of Darkness’.

The first attack at the genre came in 2010, a time when Richards offered up his alternative definition of the genre and said: “If you want heavy metal, listen to John Lee Hooker, listen to that motherfucker play. That’s heavy metal. That’s armour”. 

While it’s understandable that The Rolling Stone doesn’t find the pair of metal behemoths fitting to his taste, his decision to disregard their entire artistry and label them as “great jokes” shows that Richards is incapable of understanding music is subjective.

His idiotic comments arrived during an interview with the New York Daily News in 2015, a moment when he decided to unleash hellSeemingly unprovoked, Richards said: “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes”.

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It wasn’t just Metallica and Black Sabbath who found themselves being scorned by Richards — he also had some less than savoury observations about hip-hop that he felt necessary to get off his chest. “And rap – so many words, so little said,” he impolitely added. “What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there. All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it, and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another.”

On the one hand, it’s easy to write off these ruthless remarks as the demented talk of a man in his autumnal years who is incapable of appreciating any music outside of his immediate cultural lexicon. However, this is also Keith Richards. Few people are more equipped at generating publicity than him, and his savagery coincidentally aligned with the release of his first solo album in over two decades. It’s a method he’s been using since The Stones began, and long may it continue.

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