Keith Richards’ Best ‘Life’ Advice for Children


It’s delightful news: pickled-in-vinegar pirate of the good ship Rolling Stone Keith Richards is writing a children’s book, due out through Little, Brown in September. A collaboration with his sometime-model daughter Theodora Dupree Richards, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar will presumably be a lovely story about the evergreen bond between children and grandparents, according to Keef himself. It’ll be the second book for Richards — his first, Life, released in 2010, was a doorstopper autobiography detailing his many notorious adventures as the Rolling Stone who was very good at doing drugs and shagging beautiful women in addition to writing ageless songs and guitar riffs. In order to celebrate the lovely incongruity of one’s badass terror of a grandpa writing a book for a youth, we scoured Life for a sampling of its wisdom-for-all-ages:

How to handle policemen: “‘Why are you frightened of the policemen, Daddy?’ … Basically you were at war. All I had to do was to stop taking the stuff [drugs]. But I thought, first let’s win the war, then we’ll decide. Which was probably a really stupid attitude, but that’s the way it was. I wasn’t going to bow to these motherfuckers. They busted us soon after we got back from Jamaica in June 1973, when Marshall Chess was staying with us. They found cannabis, heroin, Mandrax, and an unauthorized gun. This was perhaps the most famous bust because I faced many, many charges.”

Fashion tips: “If I sleep with someone, I at least have the right to wear her clothes … otherwise it was plunder, loot that I wore — whatever was thrown at me on stage or what I picked up off stage and happened to fit … I used to dress myself by taking clothes off other people. I was never very interested in my look, so to speak, although I might be a liar there.”

How to deal with your first heartbreak: “I found out that Linda had taken up with some poet, which I went bananas about. I went running through the whole of London, asking people, anybody seen Linda? Crying my eyes out from St. John’s Wood to Chelsea screaming, ‘Bitch! Get out of my fucking way.’ … After I found out, I checked with my friends, where does this motherfucker live? I even remember his name, Bill Chenail. Some poet so-called … I stalked her a couple of times, but I remember thinking, what would I say? I hadn’t gotten that act down yet, how to confront my rival. In the middle of a Wimpy bar? Or some bistro? I even walked to where she was living with him in Chelsea, almost into Fulham, and stood outside.”

How to appreciate birds: “The most amazing thing I can remember on acid is watching birds fly — birds that kept flying in front of my face that weren’t actually there, flocks of birds of paradise … A flock of birds took about a half an hour to fly across my vision, an incredible fluttering, and I could see every feather. And they looked at me while they did it like ‘Try that on for size.’ Shit … Okay, there’s some things I can’t do.”