Rocker Keith Richards was kept in the dark over specific plans for The Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary - he only learned about his band's upcoming concerts last week (ends12Oct12).

The guitarist revealed the group would hit the road to mark half a century together earlier this year (Mar12), but no dates had been discussed in detail until very recently - and Richards admits he was among the last to find out about them.

During an interview on the U.K.'s Absolute Radio, he says, "I'm amazed that we sort of handled it so well. Mind you it's been a bit of a secret from me until about a week ago as to exactly what was happening. So it's all been done a bit on the fly (in a rush)."

The Brown Sugar legends officially announced their stage comeback in a video uploaded to YouTube.com on Monday (15Oct12).

They have been busy rehearsing for two big gigs in London in November (12) and two in New Jersey in December (12), and Richards has been pleasantly surprised by how well practice sessions have been going, despite the fact he and his bandmates haven't played together since wrapping up their Big Bang trek in 2007.

He adds, "It's very high energy, and very enthusiastic. It's almost like, 'Hey, we got a gig...!' Everybody's really up for it. I'm amazed how the band has, like, just moved straight into the slot, and I thought it would be, like, a little rusty and cranky to start with, but everybody was up from day one. So I'm really looking forward to this, man.

"I was surprised how little rust was on the machinery, you know. We went straight into oiling. But yeah, I think everybody was itching to go get on the road again or, you know, to get onstage and to play together. It's a great feeling."