Thursday, August 14, 2014

Keith Richards shares inspiration behind his first children’s book Gus & Me

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is sharing the inspiration behind his first children’s book, “Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar”, which will be published on September 9th.

Keith collaborated with his daughter, artist Theodora Richards, who provided illustrations for the project, which was inspired by a childhood experience shared in the guitarist’s 2010 New York Times best-selling memoir, “Life.”

The story was written with Barnaby Harris and Bill Shapiro and will simultaneously release in hardcover and ebook, with the hardcover edition including an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus book content.

Now, in a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the guitarist explains the origin of the book.

“My granddad Gus was a musician. He was the one who turned me on to music,” Keith explains. “He had some daughters too, so he was al-ways looking for guys to hang with. [Laughs] But this book didn't come from me. It was put forward as an idea that some other guys had come up with about certain chapters in Life [Richards's 2010 memoir]. They said, ‘These would make a great kids' book.’ So I said, ‘Yeah.’ I was about to become a grandfather for the fifth time, and I had a daughter who likes to do illustrations, and I felt I could keep it in the family, and I did also want to bring Gus to life again.”

“I suppose there's a reflective part of it—although my life and career hasn't really lent itself to much reflection,” he continued. “But, you know, I've done my gig, and you get to live to the end of the string as far as I've got, and certain other things take on more importance than they did when you were younger. The parenting is real hands-on stuff, but as a grandparent you are greatly removed—and once the kids start to realize that you're actually their daddy's daddy, you sort of rise in their estimation. [Laughs] But grandkids and grandparents can be connected in a special way. Gus kicked me into music, and I found out what I loved to do. He let me hold the guitar and showed me the notes to ‘Malagueña.’ So I thought this story was something to pass on, maybe turn a few kids on—and a few grandpas on.”

Keith’s memoir, “Life”, debuted at No. 1 on the The New York Times non-fiction best sellers list and spent six weeks on the USA Today's best sellers' list, peaking at No. 3. “Life” received the 2011 Norman Mailer Prize for biography. The audiobook version won two prestigious Audie Awards for 2010, including Audiobook of the Year and Best Biography/Memoir; it was also voted Amazon’s No. 1 Audiobook of the Year for 2010.

Last month, Keith and the Rolling Stones wrapped up their 14 On Fire European tour.

The band return to the road this fall to play Australia and New Zealand, dates that were rescheduled from this spast spring following the sudden passing of Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, L’Wren Scott.

The first show of the fall leg will see the Stones open the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia on October 25.

See also:

VIDEO: The Rolling Stones recap 14 On Fire European tour
VIDEO: Keith Richards raves about Mick Jagger’s harmonica skills
VIDEO: Rolling Stones headline opening night of Pinkpop Festival
The Rolling Stones top the hennemusic Hot 10
Search Rolling Stones at hennemusic