Keith Richards once labeled fellow Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood a 'quitter' when he tried to get sober

The guitarist lashed out at his bandmate before a concert in 2005, implying that he was a weakling for quitting drugs and alcohol


                            Keith Richards once labeled fellow Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood a 'quitter' when he tried to get sober
Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform onstage at Hard Rock Stadium on August 30, 2019, in Miami, Florida (Getty Images)

We've all seen the Jack Sparrow movies, knowing that Johnny Depp's drunken, bumbling pirate act was really just a slightly exaggerated Keith Richards impression.

The 76-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist is celebrated all over the world for his depravity and longevity, despite his copious drug and alcohol usage — but he has always been known to be incredibly supportive of his best mates and people who are close to him.

So it might come as a surprise to learn that he once berated and insulted his fellow Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood, when the latter was trying to get clean and lead a healthier lifestyle! Somebody should tell Keith that you can't always get what you want. 

The 72-year-old Wood recounted the startling details in an interview with Mojo magazine, saying that it happened in August 2005, right before he was about to come out on stage for a gig.

British musicians Keith Richard and Ronnie Wood of rock band The Rolling Stones with an unidentified woman, UK, 12th May 1976. (Photo by Maurice Hibberd/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Wood had made the decision to swear off drugs and alcohol of his own accord nearly 10 years prior to this incident, due to concerns for his health.

While Wood revealed that Mick Jagger had been supportive of his decision to go clean, Richards clearly had other opinions about Wood's choices in life, and the usually-reticent Stones guitarist let him know exactly what was on his mind in no uncertain terms. 

Wood recounts, "I do remember going on stage clean for the first time, it was at this club in Canada for the start of a tour. I was like this, [terrified], and Mick whispered, 'It's alright, you can do it, don't worry'."

It was in this moment of aching vulnerability that his longtime friend and bandmate Richards turned on him. Wood said, "And Keith's going, 'Rehab's for quitters!' Trying to make out I was the weakling. But it takes a lot of strength to do this if indeed I'm gonna be able to do it at all because there's no guarantees."  

Inductee Ron Wood of Faces and Rolling Stones fame performs onstage during the 27th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012. (Getty Images)

Wood went on to take shots at the rehabilitation industry, questioning whether these centers were motivated by helping people get better or by "big money," saying that they certainly stood to profit more if their patients relapsed back into their old drug habits.

In hindsight, Wood had every right to feel that way about his own personal health, considering he had been leading a debaucherous rockstar lifestyle since the 1970s.

While Keith could have been more supportive, it was probably a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." And as we all know by now, Keith Richards is probably indestructible.

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