Keith Richards is a legendary musician, songwriter, Rolling Stones rocker, grandfather of five, and now an author. Richards played with the Rolling Stones for over five decades.
When interviewed by Stuff, Richards said the Rolling Stones are still bigger than any other band.
“They own it all the time; they’ve owned it for 50 years.”
Keith Richards is paying a tribute to his late grandfather by writing a children’s book titled Gus & Me — The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar.
Richards had a strong relationship with his grandfather. When Keith’s fifth grandson was born, he decided to “do something for my grandad too.”
Richards explains more about his reasons for writing the book.
“Maybe behind it all is everybody somewhere has got a grandad and maybe he is more fun than you think and maybe he could show you some things that you wouldn’t think of. I was just thinking of the extended family sort of thing and how we can really learn a lot from the old cats. Now I am one, I know the feeling.”
Keith’s grandfather, Augustus Theodore Dupree was a jazz musician when Keith was growing up. Richards’ family affectionately knows Keith’s late granddad as Gus. To this day, Keith still recollects how his grandfather introduced him to playing the guitar.
Here’s what Keith told News Corp Australia about his introduction to the musical instrument he has mastered.
“Gus sort of led me into it I think. He did it very subtly and I am always grateful for that. He used to see me looking at it (his guitar). It was up on a shelf in the parlor and every day he’d say, ‘when you can reach that, I’ll show you a thing or two’. And so I faked it and got a chair and a couple of books and I got the thing down. So he said, okay, you are smart enough to get it into your hands so I’ll show you a few tricks.”
In case you’re interested, Keith Richards has a favorite Rolling Stones song, according to National Public Radio; the 1968 hit, “Street Fighting Man.”
Richards recalls recording the song in the studio. He played it on an acoustic guitar into a tape cassette recording and overloaded it with distortion.
“So you had this very electric sound, but at the same time, you had that curious and beautiful ring that only an acoustic guitar can give you. It was just a bizarre way of making a record. And everybody, of course, is looking at me like I’m nuts. You know, I’m in the middle of this enormous studio with a little cassette machine and bowing before it with an acoustic guitar, and they go, ‘What the hell is he doing? We’ll humor him.'”
Richards added more about the initial recording.
“[Watts was] the only one at the time who got what I was going for. He actually brought along a little practice drum kit that fits in a little briefcase. Basically, you opened up the briefcase and there was a little cymbal and a tambourine and a pair of sticks. Charlie stuck with me on this track. I’m the rhythm player. I’m not a virtuoso soloist or anything like that. To work together with the drummer, that’s my joy. This record, to me, is one of the examples of what can happen when two cats believe in each other.”
The late Brian Jones added a sitar and tambour Richards recollects.
“Brian was a master of picking up the weirdest instruments that happened to be around. Other records — he was playing bells. He was amazing at being able to master, at least for a certain song, a sound or an instrument that had nothing to do with guitars or anything. He was a great experimenter, Brian Jones. He threw a lot of flavors into a lot of our records that wouldn’t have occurred to any of the rest of us.”
Here’s what he has to say about his talent.
“These riffs were built to last a lifetime, and I’m still working on them, you know?”
[Photo courtesy of Mirror]