Rolling Stone magazine has published on its website more of its exclusive interview with Keith Richards for his memoir “Life.” The interview with Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke is significantly longer than the Richards interview in the magazine’s issue #1116, which went on sale on October 15, 2010, and which had the first exclusive excerpts of “Life.”
“Life” goes on sale on October 26, 2010. Rolling Stones guitarist Richards wrote the book with journalist James Fox (not to be confused with the actor James Fox who co-starred with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger in the 1970 film “Performance”), and Richards credits his co-author for “laying out the concept” of “Life.” Rolling Stone’s website also has an exclusive interview with “Life” co-author Fox that was not in Rolling Stone magazine.
Although the other members of the Rolling Stones declined to participate in the book, several people who have been close to the Rolling Stones were interviewed for the memoir, including Richards’ son, Marlon (who is Richards’ eldest child); saxophonist Bobby Keys, a longtime member of the Rolling Stones’ backup band; singer/actress Marianne Faithfull, who was Jagger’s live-in lover in the mid-to-late 1960s; and singer Ronnie Spector, who is one of Richards’ former girlfriends.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Richards opens up about where his relationship with Jagger currently stands and the possibility of the Stones doing another album and tour: “Mick and I are still great friends and still want to work together. Both of us know things about each other — and are still finding out. There is no final judgment on one or the other. To me, it’s the miracle of juggling. You gotta juggle these weird things that don’t actually come between you, but they are just there.
“There’s no point in me saying, ‘The Stones have gotta go to work’ if Mick doesn’t feel like it. It’s tiring trying to get everyone’s enthusiasm up at the same time. And a lot of times it isn’t there. But when it is, it’s fantastic. And you have to pick those moments, in order to still be the Stones again …
“We’re whispering — I wouldn’t say talking. I’m getting hints. And I’m always ready. Mick and I spoke about a month ago in New York. It’s at that mumbling stage. But I had some outtakes from the last sessions we did [for A Bigger Bang] and said, ‘Just to jog your memory …’ So there’s interaction. You don’t want to push it too hard.”
Richards also talks candidly about some of the most important people who have been in his life.
On Mick Jagger:
“It was quite difficult. Because the relationship changed so much over the years. It’s had its ups and downs, and sometimes you wonder why it was worth it. What I really regretted was when we started to live apart. Mick and I could write so easily when he was next door, or on the next floor. That’s when things exploded. After ‘Exile on Main Street,’ we had to learn a whole new way of being — of putting things together that were so disparate, coming together after several months and saying, ‘Well, have you got anything?’ then working it up. It was difficult — and I’m sure it was for Mick too. If you’re stuck together in a band, I could just walk next door in the middle of the night and go, ‘Mick, I’ve got an idea.’”
On Brian Jones, the co-founder/original lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones:
“I enjoyed his company, and I tried incredibly hard, in 1966, to pull him back into the group. He was flying off. But my attempts to bring Brian back into focus were a total failure. After that … [long pause] He did some despicable things. The man was failing. He had been a strong man, but he was wiping himself out.
“Brian demanded, you have to understand. And in a band like this, you also have to be supportive and giving. Having to deal with his jealousy, with Mick and me writing the songs, when you’re working 300-odd days a year — it becomes intolerable, and you can get really nasty about it. I tried to be fair to him. But to be honest, he was a bit of a bastard. And it doesn’t surprise me that he came to a sticky end.”
On Anita Pallenberg, Richards’ former lover, who is the mother of his two oldest children:
“I had no intention of leaving the mother of my children. But you gotta believe me that there was no option. And thank God she’s still one of my best friends. We’ve been through the mill. And she admits she could be Vampirella when she wanted. It was tough. At the same time, there is an underlying love that goes beyond all of that other stuff. I can say, “I love you, I just won’t live with you.” And we’re now proud grandparents, which we never thought we’d ever see.”
On his mother, Doris, and grandfather Gus:
“My mother was an extension of him, in many ways, which was why it was very easy to hang with my grandfather. It was like being with Mum — the same sense of humor, the same music. I could travel between those generations.”
On his son, Marlon:
“Marlon grew up on the road. It was an interesting experiment. The fact that he’s turned into a perfect English gentleman is pretty amazing. But he grew up hustling on those tours. And he was very sharp at it. If you wanted something, he’d be like, ‘Alright, that’s half a dollar.’ Whether that was a good way to bring a kid up, he was the one who made that choice. He went to school when he wanted to, and we always had tutors and stuff. But he was learning life on the road. It was an interesting education. I wish I had been brought up that way. My childhood was very boring.”