Page 3 Profile: Keith Richards, Rolling Stone


Up to his old antics?

The 69-year-old rocker was infamous for using vodka and cocaine as a pick-me-up before gigs, and he even admitted to snorting his father’s ashes. Any insinuation that his transition into later life might have calmed him down was quashed in 2006, when he filmed his cameo in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Co-star Bill Nighy said he was drunk in his trailer and required “a little support” on-set.

“If you’d wanted straight, then you got the wrong man,” Richards apparently told director Gore Verbinski. Such tales of excess are why we love the Rolling Stones guitarist, who is currently on tour with the band. But a new interview suggests he isn’t quite as down with the kids as we might have thought.

A rant about music piracy?

Not quite. Richards has bemoaned the MP3 player. “I don’t have an iPod,” he said. “I still use CDs or records. Sometimes cassettes. [They have] much better sound… My old lady’s got one. My kids have them. I say, ‘Look me up this’, or, ‘I like that. Check me that’. I know what these things can do. I’m not totally anti-them.”

Anyone who’s endured the tinny sound emanating from people’s headphones on the bus might agree with him.

Certainly, you’re not going to get the same sound from a small metal box as you are from vinyl. But as Richards admits, there’s no going back. “They’re sucked into it and they can’t get out of it,” he said, wailing that music-lovers are “all being short-changed”. “There’s something missing there,” he mused. “But it’s the price of the future I guess.”

In Richards’ defence, he wouldn’t be the first to complain about the effect that Apple has had on the music world. Last year, Neil Young despaired of the poor sound quality of digital downloads, saying: “My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practising for the past 50 years. We live in the digital age, and unfortunately it’s degrading our music, not improving it.”