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Keith Richards disses rap, metal, Beatles; Haggard disses country, Cash

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards at TCF Bank Stadium in June

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards at TCF Bank Stadium in June

Two iconic musicians went on separate crotchety press tours this week.  

First up, eternally cool old guy Keith Richards sounded less cool and more, well, old in an interview published yesterday by the New York Daily News. In it, the Rolling Stones guitarist, 71, had no kind words for two entire popular genres of music. 

On rap: "Rap — so many words, so little said. What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there,” he says. “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 heavy metal: “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes.”

He's not even wild about his own genre, saying most rock 'n' roll bands sound "like a dull thud." 

Richards made headlines last month when he told Esquire the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is "a mish-mash of rubbish." He doubled down with the Daily News, saying, "As a band, they weren’t in sync with each other. When it got to [seeing the guru] Maharishi [in ’67], I gave up." 

Keef's peers in the kiddie book industry were spared his wrath. 

Another badass old-timer, Merle Haggard, recently dissed an objectively shittier style of music: bro-country, the twangy frat-boy sound that dominates contemporary Nashville. 

"I can’t tell what they’re doing,” the 78-year-old country god tells the Fargo Forum. “They’re talking about screwing on a pickup tailgate and things of that nature. I don’t find no substance. I don’t find anything you can whistle and nobody even attempts to write a melody. It’s more of that kids stuff. It’s hot right now, but I’ll tell you what, it’s cooling off.”

The Hag says he's down with Sturgill Simpson, though, with whom he'll share the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand on Monday along with fellow country legend Kris Kristofferson. "As far as I'm concerned, he's the only one out there. The rest of them sound like a bunch of (crap) to me," Haggard said of the 37-year-old Simpson. 

Can you handle one additional bomb? OK, good, because Haggard, reflecting on his own career, even trashed ... Johnny Cash? "I didn't like Johnny Cash. I thought he was kind of corny. I wasn't really a fan," he tells the Forum, in perhaps the first recorded instance of someone not loving Johnny Cash. (Broader context: Hag was retelling the story of how Cash helped establish him as a star, so all is well on Country Mount Rushmore.)