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Keith Richards: New Starts, Old Habits

Rock’s immortal pirate king is ready to get back in the hunt.

“They’re about five minutes away,” says Hervé, the moustachioed owner of Luc’s, a French bistro tucked away in a back alley in the Norman Rockwell-esque town of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Customers are gently told that the front patio is closed. The restaurant’s music changes, from classical to Toots and the Maytals’ “Pressure Drop”.

At exactly 3 p.m., Keith Richards steps out of a chauffeured black Mercedes sedan. (Despite what you might think, Richards is usually punctual to a fault.) He looks off-duty in a brown leather jacket, aviators and black Uggs; he’s missing his usual bandanna and the piratical fishhooks that often adorn his hair. A sandalwood aroma follows him (his friend Tom Waits says he smells like a “campfire”).

Richards, 71, has just come off the road with the Rolling Stones, who finished their latest U.S. stadium run a month ago, and is taking advantage of the break between tours to release his new solo album, Crosseyed Heart. He steps inside to chat with the bartender. Then he greets a pair of teenage boys at a patio table, kissing them on the head; they hug him reverently – it looks like a scene out of The Godfather. It turns out the boys are Hervé’s sons, and Hervé is married to the niece of Richards’ wife, Patti Hansen. “I call him my French nephew,” Richards says with a laugh, finally taking a seat out front and lighting up one of many Marlboro Reds. “It’s a family affair. They’ve been here for 15 years, and it’s become one of the most popular French bistros in New England. And it happens to be my local hang.”

Hervé’s wife, a friendly blonde woman named Marissa, brings over some french fries. “Thanks, darling,” Richards says, but he doesn’t touch them. (He often doesn’t eat when he goes to restaurants, even when he’s dining out with his family; instead, he’ll cook himself some chicken or bangers and mash later that evening.)

He lives about 15 minutes away, in a sprawling, Italian-style villa with a tennis court and a guesthouse, sitting next to a 1,700-acre nature preserve. Visitors are greeted by two French bulldogs; the walls are full of photos from Stones tours. He’s been in Connecticut since the late Eighties, after his daughters Alexandra and Theodora were born. Richards and Hansen were living in Manhattan’s East Village, which lacked green space and held some less-than-domestic associations for him. “On the odd occasion there was a [heroin] drought in the Seventies,”he remembers, “we’d have to go down the East Side and carry a shooter. Just in case.

“A year or two after they were born, I said, ‘I can’t bring the kids up on Fourth Street’,” he says. “Not when there’s fresh air and some countryside not far away. It’s not called New England for nothing – a lot of it reminds me very much of parts of England, of Sussex or Surrey.”

At home, he will play Mexican dominoes or watch the History Channel or cable news – which often makes him angry, like when he saw James Blake getting tackled by a cop. “Another pointer that you can’t get rid of racism with the stroke of a pen,” says Richards. He also followed the protests in Baltimore and Ferguson: “Cops used to slap you around the ear and send you home. Now they shoot you.”He has a large home library and is currently reading a book about rogue Napoleonic-era sea captain Thomas Cochrane. Richards is a naval-history buff: He told his biographer, James Fox, to read Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, a historical novel set on a British ship in 1800, to better understand his “friendship and adversity”with Mick Jagger. (“He felt it was something that explained his sadness,”says Fox.)

“Nine-to-fivers would all like the freedom I have. They have given me license.”

On any given day, Richards might fax a couple of notes to his longtime guitar tech, Pierre de Beauport, asking him to investigate an uncredited Little Richard guitarist named Rudy Richard or an obscure reggae record. Richards will watch new movies that come in the mail, and walk around the house playing an acoustic guitar. “If the Old Lady says, ‘That’s nice’,” he says, “I’ll follow it up.”

He orders a vodka-soda. As the waiter walks away, Richards speaks up: “Double ’em!”

Lately, he has been recovering from a painful injury, which he’s been keeping secret. At the July 4th show in Indianapolis, he was running down the catwalk toward the stage during the sax solo of “Miss You” and tripped face-forward. “Somebody tossed a red straw boater hat, and it landed right in front of my feet,” he says. “I kicked it aside – ‘All right, that’s out the way’ – and it fucking bounced back in front of me, and I hit the floor. And suddenly, I’m on my hands and knees in front of 60,000 people, you know? My bracelet came off from the shock. It was, ‘OK, get out of this one, pal!’

“I might’ve cracked a rib,” he says, placing his hand on his right side. “There’s nothing doctors can do about it. I thought, ‘Shit, if I let them know how much I’m hurting, the doctors and the insurance companies will be like, ‘Cancel the next gigs.’ Fuck it. I’ll live with it. After 50 years on the stage, you’re going to fall over occasionally and take a knock.”

It’s a classic Richards story – the close scrape and the getaway. His career is full of those stories, whether it’s the mayor of Boston personally bailing him and Jagger out of jail to play a 1972 show, or Richards dodging a possible seven-year ­heroin-trafficking sentence by agreeing to play a concert for the blind. (Pete Towns­hend has said the Stones have “a sinister reputation for miracles”.) But Richards’ greatest getaway is the sheer fact of his physical survival – that he’s lived faster than anybody and yet failed to die young, or, indeed, at all. His uncanny resilience first became part of the cultural lore in the 1970s, when U.K. rock magazine New Musical Express voted him “Most Likely to Die” for 10 years in a row. These days, his apparent immortality has become an Internet meme: One joke goes, “For every cigarette you smoke, God takes an hour away from your life and gives it to Keith Richards”; another goes, “We need to start worrying about what kind of world we are going to leave for Keith Richards.”

But there’s no disputing what Richards has left us: He’s the guy who helped bring the blues to white America, who has given us some of the greatest ballads of all time (“Ruby Tuesday”, “Wild Horses”) and the most menacing anthems (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Midnight Rambler”). Richards invented a heavily rhythmic, sometimes droning guitar style – strange tunings, almost no solos – that stumps even his heroes. “I try to copy stuff from him, and I can’t get it, man,” says Buddy Guy. “And I’ve been trying ever since I met him.” With his low-slung guitar cool, Richards helped define the very idea of what a rock star is to every generation that followed. He has taken note of this fact: “I’m glad you like the hairdo and the outfits, boys,” he says of the thousands of guitarists who look like him. “I always take it as a compliment.”

Richards needed every bit of his iron constitution in February 2006, when he slipped while jumping off a two-metre-high branch on vacation in Fiji, slamming his head on a tree trunk. Two days later, he suffered two seizures and was flown to Auckland, New Zealand, where surgeons removed a blood clot from the surface of his brain. He was told he shouldn’t work for six months, but he was back on the road in six weeks, taking Dilantin, an anti-­seizure medication with side effects that can include confusion and decreased coordination (which he still takes). Richards’ team was terrified he was going to fall during a show; reviews were not kind to his playing. “You could make the argument that he was clouded,” says de Beauport.

The fog lasted well after the tour ended. “I think that bang on the head, that did quite a bit more damage [than people thought],” Richards says. “You take a blow like that, you kind of feel stunned for another year or two afterward, really. You know, you suddenly realise you’ve been semiconscious.”

From left: Hansen; daughters Angela and Alexandra; son Marlon’s wife, Lucie; grandson Orson; daughter Theodora; Richards; Marlon; and granddaughters Ida and Ella in Turks and Caicos in 2010. Credit: J. Rose.

The Stones went on a long break. Richards stopped playing guitar and turned his attention to writing his autobiography, Life, spending hundreds of hours with author Fox at Richards’ home in Turks and Caicos. The darker parts of the writing process – delving into his decade-long heroin addiction, which ended in 1978, and the death of his two-month-old son in 1976 – “was very, very difficult for him,” says Fox. “He touched on these very sad things that sort of still haunt him, and it visibly affected him at the time. We had to go very gingerly. Keith’s way was to give himself a bottle, give himself protection, to create this kind of boundary so that you can go on creating inside it. I think he denied all this stuff with the help of lots of substances for a very long time.”

“[The book] drained more out of me than I had thought,” says Richards. “I can play two Stones shows a day and I’m OK, you know? But the prolonged research, and your whole life is coming back in front of you – oh, man.”Richards was highly critical of Jagger, describing a friendship soured by business, ego and old grudges, and the two didn’t speak for months.

Life topped The New York Times‘ bestseller list, and it won a Norman Mailer Award. But the irony was not lost on Richards that his biggest hit in years was not a piece of music. “You make the best rec­ords you can for 50 years,” he says, “and suddenly, a book…” With the Stones on hiatus, Richards told friend Steve Jordan – who had played drums and written with him in his Eighties side project the X-Pensive Winos – that he might retire from music. “I thought the book might be the crowning glory,” Richards says. “I just hit one of those points. Do you have anything more to say? Can you still get the guys to do it? Because I’m useless without a gang.”

Jordan persuaded Richards to play at New York’s One East studio once a week – just guitar and drums – to keep Richards’ chops up. “We had a blast,”says Jordan. “He would just start digging through his memory bank for some stuff, then we would jam and just start rocking.”The results would evolve into Crosseyed Heart: Working much like Richards and Charlie Watts did when they recorded early versions of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man” alone in the studio, Richards recorded guitar, bass and piano tracks all by himself. One of the songs he and Jordan recorded, “Trouble”, may be Richards’ most joyous rocker since ” Before They Make Me Run”. “Blues in the Morning” is a revved-up tribute to Chuck Berry, with a powerful sax solo by late Stones alum Bobby Keys. “It’s the most straight-ahead rock & roll you can get,”says Richards.

On the gospel-tinged ballad “Just a Gift”, Richards writes a letter to someone he’s trying to reconnect with: “If you want and feel a need to call . . . my address hasn’t changed at all, and I’m still the same.”Richards has never been afraid to write about Jagger, so I ask if this is one of those songs. “You know, that’s a good thought,” he says. “When you’re writing love songs, you’re really thinking about a chick. But then again, the Rolling Stones is my wife!”

People who visited Richards in the studio were struck by his good mood. “We’d order pizza at night for the crew,”says Morgan Neville, who directed the new Netflix documentary Keith Richards: Under the Influence. “Everybody would be crammed in this tiny control room – like, 15 of us. And Keith would sit on the couch with such a grin on his face. He just wanted to be in the mix. He laughed nonstop.”

The last time Richards formed a side band during a falling out with Jagger – the X-Pensive Winos – was much wilder. Guitarist Waddy Wachtel remembers the Winos staying in a house in Toronto and stumbling downstairs one morning: “We’d been up until God knows when. I had just gotten out of bed. I was sitting there, and all of a sudden, behind me, I hear ice cubes hitting a glass. And it’s Keith, making his first drink. He said, ‘You want a drink?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want a fucking drink! I can still taste the vodka in my mouth from last night!’ It gave me a chill.”

Wachtel remembers one Thanksgiving with Richards in the late Eighties: “We had bourbon and ice. That was dinner.”Wachtel saw it as progress when he and the band were able to get Richards to switch from bourbon to vodka. “At least he didn’t have all that sugar making his brain insane,” says Wachtel. “He could get in a dark place.” When the session guitarist showed up for Crosseyed Heart, he was surprised and happy to see Richards actually eating. “We’d never done that before,” says Wachtel.

Richards still has a temper. Fox remembers leaving a Turks and Caicos bar with him when a local kid ran up to him with an iPhone, telling him to listen to his band. “Keith just turned on him like a barracuda and said, ‘Fuck off!’ And he deserved it because there were no manners, there was nothing. It was justified. But it certainly wasn’t the response the kid was expecting, if you can imagine.”

But Richards “is in a better place than he was even 10 years ago,” says Wachtel. “He just had a big smile on his face.”

Last year, Richards published another book, Gus & Me, a children’s tale about how his grandfather taught him to play classical guitar. “Gus never forced anything on me,” says Richards, sipping his second vodka-tonic. “He just suggested, or dangled things. Like the guitar, which hung on the wall. ‘When you can reach it, you can have it.’ ”

Now, Richards has five grandchildren of his own, ages one to 19, all of whom he sees regularly. “It’s not the first thing you think of in life: ‘I wonder what I’ll be like as a grandfather?’ ” he says. “But once it happens, there’s a certain relationship, that distance between parent and grandparent, which sometimes can be very, very useful and very inspiring. A couple of my grandsons, all they want to do is go on the road with me now.” He laughs. “Well, maybe this isn’t the best idea.” One of them is Orson, who is 15 and looks like a young Keith, except with blond hair. “He likes to hang with me, but he’s got to go to school still,” Richards says. “So I play Scrabble with him, on my computer. It’s the only thing I use the thing for. I give him the worst words I can think of: shithead, asshole.” A group of local middle-aged women at a nearby table, who had been pretending not to eavesdrop, start laughing.

Richards still talks about his musical heroes like a young fan. He exchanges faxes with Chuck Berry and stays in touch with Jerry Lee Lewis, who he calls “obstinate and beautifully unique”. Now that Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino are in their eighties and Lewis is on his farewell tour, the Stones will soon be the elder statesmen on the road. “Don’t remind me!”Richards says, covering his face with his hands. “I never thought I’d get this far. Now, I have to think about this and wonder what to do with it. I don’t know, man. There’s always been the cats in front of me. This is the thing, with evolving. It’s my turn for growing old.”

With the Stones this year (left), and the Winos in 1988. “After shows, we’d have a drink, a snort and listen to some loud fucking rock & roll,” says Wachtel, at left.

The conversation turns to the British Invasion bands that followed the Stones. “I just was never really interested in that many English rock & roll bands, at all,” says Richards. “I usually like guys like Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, and that was before I was even recording. The Yeses and the Journeys and them left me a bit cold.”

Richards “loves Jimmy Page” but isn’t a Led Zeppelin guy. “As a band, no, with John Bonham thundering down the highway in an uncontrolled 18-wheeler. Jimmy is a brilliant player. But I always felt there was something a little hollow about it.” Richards actually prefers Robert Plant’s solo work, particularly his album with Alison Krauss. “I heard that and thought, ‘Finally, he’s getting his chops!’ ”

Richards pauses – “I don’t want it coming out like…” – then smiles and continues: “I always thought [Roger] Daltrey was all flash. And I love Pete Townshend, but I always thought the Who were a crazy band. [Keith] Moon was an incredible drummer, but only with Pete Townshend. He could play to Pete like nobody else in the world. But if somebody threw him into a session with somebody else, it was a disaster. There’s nothing wrong with that – sometimes you’ve got that one paintbrush, and you rock it.”

Recently, Richards made headlines for calling Sgt. Pepper “rubbish” (he also criticised the Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request for copying it). Talking about Paul McCartney’s live shows, Richards says, “I like Paul. I don’t know if I could do that all by myself. As long as Paul enjoys what he’s doing. A lot of people enjoy it,” he adds with a shrug. “But I don’t see any push out of it.”

Richards makes it abundantly clear that the Rolling Stones still have the “push”. He lets it slip that he just returned from a band meeting in London. “We had a little chat,” he says. The Stones might get together to start working on their first album since 2005’s A Bigger Bang as early as Christmas, or after their planned South American tour in early 2016. “I’d love to shove them in the studio in April, hot off the road,” Richards says. “These guys ain’t getting any younger, but at the same time, they’re getting better.”

Since the Stones got back on the road, in 2012, Richards has been more engaged. He’s worked with Jagger on choosing the set lists for each show, which he hadn’t done for years. One consequence of his Fiji accident was that Richards had to stop using cocaine before gigs, and reduce his alcohol intake. “He was very determined to do that,” says a source close to him. Richards says it’s helped with his post-show recovery time: “Take cocaine onstage, and you’re drenched. Now, half an hour, drive me home, and I’m ready for anything.”

In Life, Richards boasted that for many years he slept only twice a week (“This means I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes”). Now, he’s started going to bed at 1 or 2 a.m., and shrugs off the schedule he kept for all those years. “Done that. Been there,” he says.

“[Keith] is the first one in the rehearsal room and the last one to leave,” says de Beauport. “Nothing is going to happen without him there.”

“I think I’ve taken more out of drugs than they took out of me,” says Richards, pictured in 1976.

Richards struggles with arthritis, which has taken a toll on his hands; many of his guitar parts, like the fills in “Honky Tonk Women”, have been simplified onstage. But he’s gotten creative – he recently learned how to play “Let’s Spend the Night Together”in open-G tuning so he can sing and play at the same time. “I don’t equate his musicality to his level of dexterity,” says de Beauport. “If he’s complaining his fingers are knotty-looking, that doesn’t mean he’s less musical that day.”

Richards may be on good behaviour, but he can’t help but stir up a little mischief: At a recent Pittsburgh show, the grinning guitarist interrupted Jagger’s introduction of the Penn State Concert Choir, abruptly launching the band into “Satisfaction”. Sometimes he will begin playing in the middle of keyboardist Chuck Leavell’s “one, two, three, four”count-offs, or kick off songs at slower tempos than Jagger prefers. Says de Beauport, “Keith is like, ‘Yeah, right – it goes like this.’ ”

Since they reconciled, Richards and Jagger have had long talks, which Richards said they hadn’t done in a long time. One of the conversations has centred on how to open up their sound. “I think Mick Jagger is probably the best blues-harp player that I’ve heard,”says Richards. “He’s up there with Little Walter – he amazes me. So we have this conversation: ‘You phrase like that – why don’t you try to sing more like that?’ And Mick would say, ‘It’s two totally different things!’ And my reply is, ‘It’s just blowing air out of your mouth!’ When Mick is singing, he tends to phrase pretty much the same way as the record goes. Whereas on harp, he’ll let it fly. That’s basically what we talk about, and probably our bone of contention.

“But we just need to find a good room somewhere, and put in a few microphones,” he says. “And away you go.”

“I love studios, even when they’re empty,” Richards says through a haze of smoke on a studio couch, staring at a couple of Gibson guitars through the glass control-room window. He’s quiet; there’s nothing but a faint electronic noise. “There’s that little hum. Silence is your canvas. You look out there and you think, ‘Ah, the possibilities!'”

Richards is here to meet his entourage at Germano Studios in Lower Manhattan, where he recorded much of the new album, before we head to a radio interview. A month after our meeting in Connecticut, he has more wired energy, bouncing his leg, his dark eyes fixating heavily on every question. Richards’ hair spills out of a striped bandanna. He’s wearing Nike tennis shoes and a snakeskin jacket over a T-shirt that says do not x-ray. He seems a little more dangerous, laughing as I mention the anecdote about him throwing a knife at a music exec who suggested he change a song during the Steel Wheels sessions in 1989. “I’ve got pretty good aim,” he says. “It just missed him.”

“I look upon records as an audio painting,”he says, gesturing grandly toward the mixing board. “ ’What’s needed here? Overload it with guitars – and then take them all out, and just use a bit of this one.’ It’s like your paintbrush is that damn desk with little faders. It’s never ceased to fascinate me.” Richards used to stay up all night experimenting – overdriving an acoustic guitar into a cheap tape machine to create the sound on “Street Fighting Man”, or building the hypnotic intro of “Gimme Shelter”out of layers of guitars.

Many of his songs, like “Before They Make Me Run”, skip bars and beats in ways that make them deviously hard to cover. “The beat is something to be played with, moved around,” he says. “The beat isn’t there as some solid, concrete, one, two, three, four. It’s something to shift and fly and move. “Richards repeats one of his favourite sayings, which he learned from an “old Rasta”: “To think is to stink.”

It’s time to go to iHeartRadio headquarters. Richards strides out of the studio with his manager, Jane Rose; an ex-NYPD security guard who he shares with Justin Bieber; and Tony Russell, his personal assistant since 1988, to a waiting SUV – and is greeted by a group of hardcore (and likely professional) autograph seekers, all of whom are middle-aged men.

“One each, Keith, one each!” yells a guy in a baseball cap holding up a Telecaster.

“I’m on the move,” Richards says, rolling up the window of the Suburban as the driver hits the gas. But there’s traffic, and minutes later, we miss a green light and they return, blocking other cars in the street.
“Watch your backs, brothas!” he says in his best London-Rasta tone. “I cannot do this. You get run over – I get sued!”

Finally, Richards relents, rolling the window back down. The winded mob shove forward LPs of Beggars Banquet and Bridges to Babylon and the Telecaster. He signs everything, except a Tattoo You LP, the cover featuring a face-painted Jagger. “Yeah, I ain’t signing that motherfucker,” he says, rolling up the window as the man pleads. “Wrong side,” Richards says. “The other side is me. Hey, boys, use your sense! “He lets out a rusty cackle.

We arrive at the iHeartRadio green room, and an assistant named Matt takes the plastic off a case of small airplane bottles of Absolut, removes one and pours a “nuclear waste”– two ounces of vodka, orange soda and lots of ice – into a red Solo cup. Richards is bubbly, talking about all the smoking in old TV shows like Perry Mason. “When I grew up,”he says, “you thought you were grown up when you could sneak into a pub and have a cigarette and a drink. And you just grow up. It’s a habit – it’s not an addiction.”

Rose looks sceptical. “OK,”she says. “Now, what’s the difference between a habit and an addiction?”
“Cocaine is not an addiction,”says Richards. “It’s only a habit. If you run out of coke, you’ll go to sleep and eat a lot, but ain’t nothing else gonna happen.”

As usual, Richards ignores the no-smoking sign and lights a cigarette. “When we did Shine a Light, every politician, all kinds of Secret Service was there,”says Guy, remembering the filming of the 2008 Stones concert movie. “I was rehearsing for ‘Champagne & Reefer’. Keith fired up a reefer as big as my thumb, and I said, ‘Is he faking this for the song?’ And he said, ‘I don’t fake nothing, man.'”

Several giddy company employees surround Richards. They each have a story for him; one tells him about seeing the Stones in 1969. Another’s father-in-law made the guitar he played in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. “When I get out, I get fascinated with all these people with all these different things to do,”says Richards later. “And they automatically assume that you know everything they’re talking about.” A producer comes in to brief him on the Q&A. He tells Richards he’ll be asked how he created the guitar sound on “Street Fighting Man”and other songs. “And talk about how they relate to this album,”Richards says, finishing the sentence. “I get the drift.”

“The only thing we ask,” the producer says, “is bite the f-bomb. Do your best to try not to let anything slip out.”

“I don’t ‘fuck’ a lot,” Richards says. He doesn’t like too much preparation before interviews, preferring to keep it spontaneous. “The only question I need to hear is, ‘How do you plead?'”

While he waits to go on, he talks about seeing Donald Trump at Saturday Night Live‘s 40th-anniversary party. He does his best Trump impression, hunching down and pursing his lips: “You’re the greatest,”he says, mimicking Trump saying hello to him and then swooping around to shake someone else’s hand. “You’re the greatest.”

Last night, Richards watched a Trump rally in Dallas on TV. “It was the Donald Trump show. He’s got ’em by the balls right now. I don’t know how long he can keep up that show without changing the set list, but that’s another thing. Meanwhile, his closest runner-up is a black neurosurgeon. Between the two of them, they’ve really smashed up the Republican Party.”

Richards is well aware of his own public persona. “I can understand my image in most people’s minds,” he says. “‘Good old Keith will take anything, and do whatever he wants to do.’ And that gave me the license to do that. Nine-to-fivers would all like to have the freedom that I have. They’ve given me the license to shit in the street.”

In a short while, in front of a studio audience, Richards will crack jokes about never knowing when the cops are going to show up; tell the story again of how he wrote “Satisfaction” in his sleep; and talk about meeting Muddy Waters in 1964 (“My legs are still shaking”).

Later at home, he might read a historical novel, or watch a WWII documentary. But here, he is the Keith everyone is happy to know still exists – the Richards who, when he was facing a trial for allowing pot to be smoked on his property in 1967, told the judge to his face, “We are not old men, and we are not worried about petty morals.”

Before that moment on the stand years ago, wrote Marianne Faithfull, “Keith had been overshadowed by Mick and Brian [Jones]. But his defiance made him a major folk hero. This was the beginning of Keith’s legend. A symbol of dissipation and the demonic. And the amazing thing is that subsequently, he actually became that. He turned it all to his advantage.”

“That one just popped out,” Richards says of that day in court. “It was sort of surreal theatre to me. From that moment, I felt that it was not just me, and not just the Stones, against the establishment – it was our generation. I realised that there was a bigger jury out there behind me.”

“I’ll never forget,” says Fox, “when he did his book signing in Piccadilly for Life, people camped out for two nights, just to meet this great figure. And they filed by with enormous politeness and a kind of love for hours. Keith was completely blown away by that. The fans didn’t just love the Stones; they loved him.”

As he waits to go on, Richards’ knees are bouncing. He’s fiddling with his lighter, peeling the sticker off. A producer opens the door to give him a five-minute warning. Richards puts on his snakeskin jacket, slaps his knees and gets up: “It’s fuckin’ showtime!”

From issue #769 (December, 2015), available now. Main photograph: Theo Wenner.