From Jimi Hendrix to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, the Beatles’ positively influenced their contemporaries—but the high praise might not extend to the band’s greatest British peers. In an interview from Esquire‘s September 2015 issue, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards punctured the hype surrounding the album some call the best ever. “Some people think it’s a genius album,” Richards said of 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “But I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish.”
Richards did balance his criticism, comparing the Stones’ weird, psychedelic record Their Satanic Majesties Request—which came out about six months after Sgt. Pepper’s—to the Beatles classic. Richards’ explanation? “Oh, if you can make a load of sh-t, so can we.”
“If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away,” Richard said. “The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles. But there’s not a lot of roots in that music.”
The guitarist was contrasting the Beatles’ relative dearth of blues and folk music with the themes that have defined his body of work both with the Stones and as a solo musician. In fact, Richards also discussed the cover of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” that’ll be on his upcoming solo album Crosseyed Heart, his first in over two decades.
Richards recently wrapped a North American tour with the Stones and released the music video for Crosseyed Heart‘s first single, “Trouble,” streaming below. Read the Q&A—which features a lot more than Beatles bashing—over at Esquire. Crosseyed Heart drops Sept. 18.