Keith Richards Looks Back On Drug Use And Death Of Infant Son

Keith Richards maintains that his years of drug use contributed nothing to his creative pursuits, according to Vintage Vinyl News. During the Rolling Stones guitarist’s recent chat with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he explained, “I have never felt it did anything for my creativity. It kept me up a lot at nights looking for the stuff. It was something that I had to stop because I realized there are experiments that go on too long. Some people can handle things and other people can’t. If the drugs become more important than the music then you’ve lost the battle.”

On June 6th, 1976, during the heaviest part of Richards’ drug addiction — while on tour in support of the Stones’ Black And Blue album — his and partner Anita Pallenberg’s 10-week-old son, Tara Jo Jo Gunne Richards died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Richards took to the stage that night in Paris, France — with four songs from that night’s performance appearing on the following year’s Love You Live collection. Richards shed light on carrying on and performing rather than taking the grief in: “It was such a shock at the time especially. . . I’m getting a phone call in Paris and this happened in Geneva, and I thought, I’m going to go mad. . . unless I do this show tonight. If I just sit here with this idea, I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe it was just a sense of self-preservation. . . it was a rough, rough thing. I had a feeling this is a show and I must go on stage. I’ll worry and grieve and think about this all after the show. Because if didn’t go on the stage I’d have probably shot myself.”

  • Keith Richards admits that some periods of his decade long dance with heroin remain a mystery: “It’s kind of hazy, y’know. I mean, I’ve got a good memory but there is. . .  There is that spot (laughs), that’s a bit hazy. But in actual fact, I function perfectly well and I was being harassed — first with my own demons and then the cops. So, it was kind of turmoil, really. But, I got used to it.”
  • Richards explained that the Rolling Stones have always relied heavily on their families both on and off the road: “I mean, this is a very rootless life, if you’re on your own. Y’know, the only thing sometimes, you’ve got to hang on to is family. Ask anybody in this band, they’ve got very strong family ties.”

 

FAST FACTS

  • Keith Richards has two older children from his 12-year-relationship with Anita PallenbergMarlon, aged 46 and Angela, aged 43.
  • He and wife Patti Hansen have two daughters — Theodora, 30, and 29-year-old Alexandra.

 

DID YOU KNOW???

  • Keith Richards has scored his highest charting album of his solo career, with the new Crosseyed Heart hitting Number 11 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
  • The album’s lead single, “Trouble,” went all the way to Number 20 on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart.
  • Crosseyed Heart, which sailed to Number One in Austria, reached the Top 10 on the Belgium, Danish, Dutch, Italian, New Zealand, Norwegian, Swedish, Swiss, and UK album charts.

 

Check out Keith Richards doing “Gimme Shelter” last week at the Apollo Theater:

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