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Keith Richards has admitted The Rolling Stones' hiatus in 1990 was "necessary" to keep the band together.
Following their 'Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour', the 'Paint it Black' rockers took a brief break to work on solo projects, with Keith releasing his second solo album with The X-Pensive Winos, 'Main Offender', in 1992.
As the LP turns 30, the 78-year-old musician has reflected on the "weird period" and admitted the legendary band's time off was much-needed.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Keith spilled: “It was a weird period.
“Looking back on it now, it was a necessary hiatus. Once we started back again, I felt stronger than I had for a long time."
Keith explained how getting to experience being the frontman himself at his gigs with the Winos enlightened him to the pressure Sir Mick Jagger is under as bandleader.
He continued: “Doing the Winos I had learned a lot more about being the frontman.
“In other words, I came back to the Stones with a lot more knowledge of what Mick’s job entails. And it’s quite surprisingly different, you’re out there all the time."
Keith "tightened up" during his jaunt with the Winos and came back stronger when the 'Satisfaction' hitmakers reunited.
He added: “I mean, you are nonstop. With the Stones, I can slide my time. But doing the Winos, while I was working the Winos singing and playing guitar too, that tightened me up a lot.
“And I brought a lot of knowledge and a much tighter feel when I got back to the Stones.”
Keith had gone through a period of unrest in 1986, when relations between himself and Mick, also 78, reached an all time low during the making of their album 'Dirty Work', which the former described as "forget about it times".
Keith felt the need to find a new challenge and so he started working with drummer Steve Jordan - who is now the band's touring drummer following the death of Charlie Watts last summer - who contributed to 'Dirty Work', and previously admitted he was "dragged kicking and screaming" into the studio to start work on his debut studio album, 'Talk Is Cheap', which was released two years later in 1988.
Mick had also released his solo LP 'Primitive Cool' the year before, which is said to have spurred Keith on even more.
The pair put their differences aside when the 'Gimme Shelter' hitmakers were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1989.
Listen back to the full interview on Apple Music 1: www.music.apple.com/us/post/161401353.