The Rolling Stones' guitarist spoke with Anthony Mason about his career, fame, and his relationship with Mick Jagger.
The session opened up with Keith’s usual self-effacing humour…
It's sometimes said there are two Keith Richards: "Do you ever feel there's this other guy, the mythological Keith Richards, who's kind of trailing around alongside of you?" Mason asked. "He's, you know, he's on the ball and chain," Richards laughed. "There's an image - it carries a long shadow. Yeah, I love the guy dearly. But I'm still trying to figure out who the hell he is."
When asked how he would describe his professional partnership with Jagger, Keith said, "I've never considered myself or him professional, quite honestly," followed by that famously husky laugh of his.
"I see you're still smoking," Mason said. "How many vices do you have left? You've sort of whittled them away over the years." "Yeah, I'm down to a precious few now," answered Keith. But he doesn’t miss them: "Not really. Because I've done - you can't go back and - I mean, God, I used to love heroin," he laughed. "But what junkie didn't?"
Richards once said that the reason he took drugs was to hide. "Yeah, it's to get away from the flim flam," he said, "from all of the unnecessary things about show business that seem to be important to show business people, that I never really thought myself part of."
Busted repeatedly over the years, Richards once said: "I didn't have a problem with drugs, only with policemen."
But he has no regrets. And when asked what was the toughest thing he's faced, he answered, "My son dying. Two months old, I'm on the road and I get the phone call - 'Your son's dead.' That's the toughest thing. I don't really wanna go there too much."
In 1976, Tara, his third child with Anita Pallenberg, was found dead in his crib. "You so say in the book you felt like you'd deserted your post," Mason said. "Yeah, supposed to be there, right? But I wasn't there."
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