Some Notes for Johnny Depp’s Keith Richards Doc
Rolling Stone Keith Richards has been called “the world’s most elegantly wasted human being.” While this certainly makes him a more colorful central figure for Johnny Depp’s upcoming documentary, it also means that there are large chunks of his personal history that Richards might be hazy on at this point. After the jump, we’ve rounded up some essential sex, drug, and gun-filled moments that we feel beg inclusion in the rock doc; feel free to add anything we skipped in the comments.
December 18, 1943 Richards is born in the same hospital in Dartford, Kent, where Mike Jagger was delivered five months prior. This would be an ideal spot for the narrator to hint at the inevitability of their future music collaboration.
July 5, 1944 The Richards’ flat is destroyed by a German V1 attack. Even though he was probably too young to really remember anything, Richards has said that it affects him to this day. (“If I’m walking through a hotel and I hear a TV, and it’s playing one of those Blitz movies, the hair goes up on the back of my neck and I get goose bumps. It’s a reaction — something I picked up from what happened to me in the first 18 months of my life.”) It also accounts for his lifelong sartorial obsession with military regalia.
1959 Richards is expelled from Dartford Technical School for “truancy.” He transfers to the Sidcup Art College, where he devotes most of his time to playing Chuck Berry solos on his guitar and taking “pep pills.” When Richards gets bored, he feeds a cockatoo in a neighboring park the uppers.
Summer, 1961 Richards and Mick play together for the first time on stage as The Blue Brothers at a pub in Devon. After hearing the crowd’s response Richards whispers to his mother, “I wish we had a manager.”
October, 1962 Richards, Mick, and Brian Jones move into a filthy two-room flat in West London with three other guys. According to Keith’s mom Doris, “They’d stay in bed all day because they had no money for the heater, food, or anything…If someone had thrown a bomb in the place, it couldn’t possibly have been any worse.” They decide to call their newly-formed band The Rolling Stones in homage to Muddy Waters’ song, “Rollin’ Stone” and spend the next few months listening to music and rehearsing.
January, 1964 The Rolling Stones are grabbing a late night meal at Heathrow airport when some Americans pick a fight, questioning the band members’ sexual orientation. Richards single-handedly knocks down one, and scares the other two off.
June, 1964 Richards gets in another brawl at the San Antonio State Fair. This prompts him to purchase a fully-loaded Browning Automatic — and marks the beginning of his love affair with guns.
February, 1967 Police raid Redlands, Richards’s Sussex estate. He’s later found guilty of “allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property” and sentenced to one year in prison; Mick is sentenced to three months for possession of four amphetamine tablets. Neither ends up spending more than a day in the clink.
May, 1971 Mick marries his first wife, Bianca, in a small chapel in St. Tropez. Richards shows up for the reception in full Nazi uniform — down to the black jackboots.
February, 1977 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police find Richards in possession of 22 grams of heroin — an amount large enough to nail him on trafficking charges, which could have landed him a life sentence in prison. In April, he comes to the US on a medical visa to enter treatment; when he’s finally tried in October of 1978, he pleads guilty. The punishment? He’s put on one year probation, must continue treatment, and will perform a benefit concert on behalf of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. He must be feeling really guilty, because he performs two concerts.
2002 Richards’ estranged father Bert dies at 84. Richards may/may not have snorted some of his cremated ashes with/without some coke.
April, 2006 Richards falls out of a tree in Fiji and injures his head. After recovering from cranial surgery, he then makes the following public statement: “Excuse me, I fell off of my perch! Sorry to disrupt everyone’s plans but now – It’s FULL STEAM AHEAD! Ouch!!”