GQ sat down with Rolling Stones guitarist, pirate-at-heart, and walking zombie Keith Richards. This may be one of the funniest and ramblingest interviews ever conducted. Can’t ever say Keith doesn’t have a sense of humor.
“At which point, the employee returned and told me Keith was ready. I was led back to his office. Keith was standing there, holding that red Solo cup, a cigarette dangling from his lips like only Keith Richards can make a cigarette dangle from his lips. He was wearing a green leather motorcycle jacket over a green velvet vest over a green T-shirt. He had on black jeans. And on his feet, purple Uggs.
?Howya doin?, mate? Sorry I?m late,? he said. And then he plopped onto the green velvet love seat and kind of folded in on himself, like an unstaked scarecrow. He patted the cushion next to him. ?Have a seat, mate.?
You should sell your body on eBay.
Yeah, I think so. Apparently, I do have an incredible immune system. I had hepatitis C and cured it by myself.
Just by being me.
The legendary blood transfusions?
That?s all bullshit. Bullshit. I put that out because I was gonna have to clean up from all the dope. There?s nothing like legend.
Like your immune system?legendary.
It?s above average, yes.
That?s a fact of medical science?
Yes. They want it so they can study it and figure out how to make other people much better. [laughs] I mean, I eat everything wrong. I shove terrible things inside me.
Yet you won?t eat cheese.
No! Cheese is very wrong.
Look at everybody. [makes bloated face]
Do you have any other phobias?
As far as bodily, no. Cheese is a no-no for me. Everybody else, go eat it. Just take a look at yourself. Fermented milk is not the ideal choice for everyday eating, that?s all. [laughs]
Is there one moment in your life that you will always remember above all others?
The Marlborough Street thing, when the judge?s gavel hit the table and ?Ten pounds for the charge!? [In 1973 he and Anita Pallenberg were busted at their London home for drug possession.] That was a seminal moment when I thought I was going to jail. You try saying ?Guilty? twenty-five times. I could get very spiritual here, but I?ll never forget walking out for lunch that day.
Where?d you go?
Somewhere where the cops weren?t going. I never saw myself being a target for the system. And suddenly you realize you are. It never occurred to me that just because I did a little of this [he pretends he?s injecting his arm] or took a little of that [he mimes a toke], that I was gonna get this heat, you know? And then I realized I?d been targeted. And then your mind takes on other things. I still look out the window to see if there are any unmarked cars. [laughs] It puts fear in you. Suddenly, you feel like a criminal.
And that’s probably not even the best stuff in the interview. Where he describes groupies as gas stations and laments that back in the day they used to rub Vick’s Vapor Rub on his chest if he had a cold. Ah, the good old days.