Q&A: Richards on new book, Stones tour, solo music

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2014 4:02 PM
Q&A: Richards on new book, Stones tour, solo music

NEW YORK (AP) — There's one person who knew Keith Richards would become Keith Richards: his grandfather.

The Rolling Stone member said Augustus Theodore Dupree introduced him to the guitar and taught him about music as a child growing up in England.

"I think in a way he sort of had plans for me I wasn't aware of," Richards said. "He turned me on to the guitar and he did it in a subtle way."

The rock icon details his relationship with his grandfather in "Gus & Me," his children's book out Tuesday.

"He was a saxophone player. He got gassed in the First World War and he couldn't blow anymore, so he went to fiddle. He was playing way into his 60s — so am I," 70-year-old Richards said, laughing.

Richards has four children and five grandchildren. His daughter Theodora Dupree Richards — named after Gus — worked on the illustration for the book.

In a recent interview at Germano Studios — where he recorded his upcoming solo album — Richards talked about writing books, new music, touring with the Stones in 2015 and social media.

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AP: Why did you decide to write this book?

Richards: My publishers first came up with this idea. They said, "There's certain chapters about your grandfather that could make a great children's book." Children's book? This is not my line (laughs). ... And just about that same time my eldest daughter ... she said, "Guess what?" And I know that look in a woman's eyes. "Don't tell me you're pregnant, which means fifth grandchild." ... I thought, "Hey, there's something to be said for this" and I've always wanted to give my ole grandfather Gus, bless him, a little more memorial than he's had.

AP: Your 2010 memoir, "Life," was a commercial and critical success. Was there any pressure to match it with "Gus & Me"?

Richards: The initial idea did come from the publishers, so you know, "Maybe Keith can sell a few more books." That's their business after all. Nine times out of 10 I would have said forget about it. I'm not going there. But because of the circumstances and having another grandchild, everything was sort of falling into place. I said, "Damn it. Go for it."

AP: Do you want to write more books?

Richards: I don't know. There's been plenty of talk about doing volume two (to "Life") because a lot of stuff got left out. I may save that for a little later. ... I had no intention of doing "Life," but they kept bugging me, "C'mon, you've got to tell the story. Here's a lot of money." OK, twist my arm. And I found out I could articulate things pretty well (and) tell a good story.

AP: The Stones are heading to Australia in October. Are you excited?

Richards: The first thing is the jetlag. I figured it out, I'm going to go via Fiji, where I'm going to chop down the tree that I fell out of the last time I was there (he got a concussion in 2006 after the fall) and spend a few days getting rid of the jetlag, and then I can pop down to Australia. Because the jetlag is the hardest thing around trips like that. Everybody's waking up and tripping over each other and falling asleep in rehearsals.

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AP: Are you going to tour more dates?

Richards: They've got South America lined up in February, Buenos Aires, Peru. And after that, I know what the Stones tours are like, they tend to get extended.

AP: So could the band potentially tour most of 2015?

Richards: It sounds like that.

AP: Are you working on music?

Richards: I have a solo record finished, but I don't want to put it out while the Stones are working, so I'm thinking next June.

AP: What was the process like?

Richards: We had no rush. I think we spent a couple of years. (Producer) Steve (Jordan) and I are always working somewhere else, but every month or two we'd come down here and do a couple a day and knock off a couple of tracks. ... Nearly every record I've made is ... 'You've got another five days,' but this one we're taking our time.

AP: How's recording music today different compared to years ago?

Richards: Technology — it's changed enormously. ...I find that some of the technology is very confusing, especially the digital stuff.

AP: Speaking of technology, are you a fan of social media?

Richards: I stay well away. I have no computer at all. I have a little tablet that I knock around with. No passwords. I mean, I don't want to be hacked to death.

AP: Have you heard about the recent leaking of photos of nude celebrities?

Richards: The more I hear about it the more I'm sure I'm right.

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Online:

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/no-author/gus-me/9780316320658/

http://www.rollingstones.com/

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Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin