For decades, people have been predicting that the Rolling Stones will break up or never tour again. So far, those predictions have been off the mark.
Now comes another dubious report claiming that the Stones won’t tour again. This time, the story is alleging that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has arthritis in his hands, and his memory has deteriorated to the point that he may have trouble remembering the band’s songs. The tabloid story, posted on November 20, 2010 on the website Holy Moly, says that it has an “exclusive” that “the likelihood is that the Rolling Stones will never play live together again.”
Holy Moly’s “proof”? Holy Moly has concluded that Richards has arthritis based on what Holy Moly calls his “crippled claw” hand movements in a “Culture Show” TV interview with Richards that aired October 2010.
The website also claims that the Stones won’t tour again because the metal plate that Richards got in his head following a 2006 head injury has damaged Richards’ memory. Holy Moly says that the head plate has affected Richards’ memory “to the extent that at a recent band meeting, concern was raised as the other members weren’t convinced he could actually even remember the songs.”
I won’t post a link to this trashy article because it’s filled with so much irresponsible reporting. The only reason why I’m commenting on this article is that the Holy Moly story will inevitably be believed by some gullible fans. Don’t believe the lies.
It’s not “exclusive news” to say that someone has a serious health problem without evidence or at least information from reliable sources. Whoever wrote this article (the byline is credited to “Anonymous”) ignores the fact that Richards has been giving very articulate, lucid interviews to promote his memoir “Life,” with Richards showing how vivid his memory is. So any rumors that Richards is going senile can be debunked right now. There is also no proof that he has arthritis, and certainly not the kind of arthritis that would prevent him from performing or playing instruments.
As for the likelihood that the Stones will tour again, all signs point to “yes.”
First of all, Richards has said in countless interviews over the years that he will be performing music until he dies, and that he will be in the Rolling Stones until the end of the band.
Second, all of the Rolling Stones have said the band will only break up when one of the remaining original members (Richards, lead singer Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts) quits or dies. And Richards has made it clear that he won’t quit the band.
Third, there is too much money to be made for the Rolling Stones to stop touring. Rolling Stones tours have consistently broken box-office records. The band’s “A Bigger Bang” tour (which lasted from 2005 to 2007) is the largest-grossing concert tour of all time. According to Billboard, the tour’s revenues totaled $437 million.
Last, and certainly not least, Richards and fellow Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood have said in recent interviews that they want to tour with the Stones again, and they have hinted that the tour may happen in 2011. No concert dates for the next Rolling Stones tour have officially been booked yet, but Richards and Wood are smart enough to know that you don’t make those statements to the media if an essential band member has an irreversible medical condition that will prevent him from going on tour.
Time will tell when the Stones will tour again, but as long as all of the Stones are alive and available to do a tour, they have never said that they will stop touring.