April 4, 2011

Keith Richards, lead guitarist, The Rolling Stones - Interview by Eva Rinaldi

Welcome down under to Australia.  I heard you have quite a thing for our beautiful country, especially the women.  My girlfriends have been all asking me about you for months, and your music really does it for them!

What do you most love about Australia?... and don't just say the women again.

Keith: Blonde woman ha. 

How and when did you know you were going to make it in the world of Rock N Roll?

Keith: I had my first good review when I was a child. My mother heard me playing. She asked me if it was me playing? She thought it was the radio. As a child you never forget something like that. I would probably say things happened really fast in the early 60’s. There were screaming girls everywhere that’s when I realized. 

Out of your collection of 1000 guitars, do you have a favorite?

Keith: My Gibson ES 350 Guitar. It's good to take on stage but I’m really afraid of breaking it. It has the beautifulest all round sound. The best guitars were probably the first built when they were first invented basically. Gibson and Fender are the best. You can’t beat the early jobs... It was like they were born out of nowhere. 

As an artist, I understand that you also have an appreciation of other forms of art and expression.  What is it about bodypaint that really does it for you, and can you see yourself getting painted up for me in more than just facepaint like fellow rock gods KISS?

Keith: I think bodypaint is artistic and reminds me of about Paint it Black (& ‘Exile’ album), a genuine Jagger and Richards collaboration. I can't see myself being painted up though. Maybe Mick might.

How do you find the balance between personal reward vs financial reward?

Keith: I think in its own weird way. That’s where heroin and all the stuff sort of helped me keep my feet in the gutter. Fame is a bigger killer than drugs. A dose of fame you go into a whole another world and you along with fame comes big decisions and how to treat other people.

What do you think of our style here at Rolling Stone Magazine, and do you prefer the Aussie version or the original U.S version out of New York?

Keith: I like them both.

Do you agree with Rolling Stone magazine that you are one in 10 greatest guitarists of all time?

Keith: I’m honoured. 

Well done on the photography collaboration with Annie Leibovitz back in 2008.  We do some great work with worthy causes also.  Keith, honestly, do you think that there might be a chance for us to top your collaboration with Annie, and what sorts of causes in Australia interest you the most? 

Keith: Annie is a talented woman. Yeah I don’t see why not but we better hurry I’m getting old.

Where do you find the energy to still perform at a top level?

Keith: Alot of backstage secrets and it’s not just food and water ha.

What's the biggest (and smallest) audience you have performed to?

Keith: We used to make anywhere between 2 shows a day and maybe 500 miles apart. You need a lot of substance instead of food and water to keep you going. The most recent outing for the US was "A Bigger Bang Tour."  in August 2005. Drawing almost 4.7 million fans in 144 shows.

I understand that as a mega rock star you have been with some of the worlds most desirable and beautiful women.  But, you still have quite a thing for Australian women and the bodypaint connection.  What's with that, and would you call it a fetish, or something else?

Keith: Yeah, I do have a thing for the blonde Aussies.
What do you most love and hate about Mick Jagger?

Keith: Jagger is sometimes unbearable and for two decades hasn’t been to his dressing room. Mick read it.  He’s been a bit bitchy here or there.  Most of the stories are like 30 to 40 years old.  It might just be rehashing, however I needed to tell the stories to put things into context.  Even if we tried, Mick and I wouldn’t be able to insult each other.

I heard via a very good friend that Australian artist and caricaturist Tony Rafty drew you and "the boys" a decade or two ago.  Do you remember Tony? (we would love to reunite you guys at Tony's beautiful home - museum at Little Bay!)   Then we can grab a bite and drink by the ocean after : )

Keith: Yes I remember Tony. A great artist. If the boys agree to a portrait I don’t see why not.

Where in Australia would you like to visit by yourself or with a special companion, away from all the media, so you just take Australia all in?

Keith: I don't know. Can you recommend a place and some top sights to visit.

Can you foresee yourself spending more time in Australia after you have completed your 2011 tour? 

Keith: At this stage it is too early to tell.

Tell me something you have never told a journalist before?

Keith: I like your hair. Actually, I better not say. You might just need to read my autobiography 'Life'. 

How would you like to be remembered?

Keith: Rock n Roll