Stones demand apology from Swedish papers

STOCKHOLM Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:29pm EDT

Rolling Stones Ron Wood (L), Keith Richards (C) and Mick Jagger perform during a concert on the band's ''A Bigger Bang'' European tour in Warsaw, July 25,2007. Richards has demanded that two Swedish newspapers apologize to the Rolling Stones and their fans in Sweden for stinging reviews of the band's performance at a concert in Gothenburg. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Rolling Stones Ron Wood (L), Keith Richards (C) and Mick Jagger perform during a concert on the band's ''A Bigger Bang'' European tour in Warsaw, July 25,2007. Richards has demanded that two Swedish newspapers apologize to the Rolling Stones and their fans in Sweden for stinging reviews of the band's performance at a concert in Gothenburg.

Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Guitarist Keith Richards has demanded that two Swedish newspapers apologize to the Rolling Stones and their fans in Sweden for stinging reviews of the band's performance at a concert in Gothenburg.

"Never before have I risen to the bait of a bad review," the veteran rock star said in a statement released on Wednesday.

"But this time ... I have to stand up for our incredible Gothenburg audience and for our fans all over Sweden ... to say that you owe them, and us, an apology."

A review in the newspaper Expressen said 63-year-old Richards, renowned for his haggard looks and tales of excess, appeared "very drunk" during the August 3 performance in Sweden's second-largest city.

The Rolling Stones ended the two-year "Bigger Bang" world tour last Sunday in London.

Earlier this month, Richards toppled over on stage at another show in Helsinki.

In a statement sent to the newspapers Expressen and Aftonbladet by the group's promoter in Sweden, the British musician said the press had abused its power.

"You have a duty to wield the power of the press with honesty and integrity. There were 56,000 people in Ullevi stadium who bought a ticket to our concert -- and experienced a completely different show than the one you 'reviewed'."

He added: "How dare you cheapen the experience for them -- and for the hundreds of thousands of other people across Sweden who weren't at Ullevi and have only your 'review' to go on."

The statement, a copy of which was provided to Reuters by the promoter, concluded: "Write the truth. It was a good show."

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