Keith Richards high life as a Rolling Stone is the stuff of legend. And the stories never cease to amaze.
In her new and astonishing tell-all book, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll: 30 Years Married To A Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood‘s ex-wife Jo is describing in frank detail a series of jaw-dropping anecdotes about the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, beginning with the first time she met Richards, while in Paris in 1977.
“Someone shoved past us into the (hotel) room,” recalled Jo, whose 24-year marriage to Ronnie, the Rolling Stones guitarist, ended in 2009.
“Without saying a word, or even looking at me, this dark-haired bloke sat down on the tiny square of carpet and started rummaging in what looked like a doctor’s bag.”
“Don’t take any notice of Keith,” said Ronnie. “It’s been a long flight.”
She remembered, “Keith reached into his bag and took out a silver spoon, a bottle of pills and a lighter. In a matter of seconds, he’d crushed some of the pills with a bit of water, cooked them up, then filled a syringe and stabbed it straight through his shirt. A moment’s pause — then he looked up at me with a radiant smile. ‘Hello, my dear. I’ve heard so much about you!’”
What followed, Jo said, was a three-day binge holed up in a hotel.
“The three of us spent the next three days cooped up in my broom-cupboard of a hotel room, drinking and taking drugs, only occasionally venturing out in Keith’s Bentley to get a fix or a bite to eat. Food was not a priority: you don’t have much of an appetite on coke.
“I am having the time of my life, getting high on coke and drunk on Southern Comfort and lemonade and I’m proud to say that I kept up with the boys all the way, matching them drink for drink, line for line. I can’t even remember getting hangovers at the beginning. I must have built my system up by drinking every day, like an athlete in training for a marathon. Quite simply, I took to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle like I’d been born to it.”
“I adored Keith from the start — which was lucky, because he and Ronnie came as a pair. Keith and I have a special relationship to this day. One of the first things I loved about him most was his naughtiness.”
That naughtiness extended to Jo’s baby shower in the late 1970s, a soiree attended by Mick Jagger’s ex-wife Jerry Hall and Rod Stewart’s ex Alana Stewart, when Keith slammed a bag of cocaine on the table “for dessert”.
“I cooked a big roast dinner for family and friends, feeling overjoyed to have my loved ones together,” Jo wrote in the memoir, obtained by RadarOnline.com before its release on May 21.
“My only concern was Keith. Now, Keith consumed drugs like everyone else had cake. Just before I served the roast, I took him to one side and said, ‘Keith, mum mum’s never seen cocaine before. Can you please not do it in front of her?’”
“Don’t worry, darling,’ Keith, now 69, said, with a wolfish grin. “I’ll break her in gently.”
Recalled Jo, “Feeling far from reassured I started to dish out the roast lamb, but by the time everyone had finished their plates (and had had seconds) I’d started top relax. The boys were behaving im[peccably and Mum was clearly charmed. I had got up from the table to tudy the dirty dishes away, thrilled at how well the evening was going, when suddenly Keith declared, ‘And now for dessert!’ With that, he pulled out a big bag of coke and slammed it on the table.
“Without waiting to see Mum’s reaction, I just picked up a pile of plates and walked straight into the kitchen. Moments later, she followed me in. ‘Josephine, do you realize what Keith is doing in there?’ she said.
“Yes, Mum, but he’s been doing it for years.” I sighed. ‘I can’t stop him. It’s just his way of life.’”
On their 1978 Some Girls tour, Keith would have his “Man Friday and go-to guy for drugs” at the ready, detailed Jo.
“Keith adored Freddie like a second dad, but Mick couldn’t stand him and was always slagging him off, which made it difficult to know how you should feel about him,” she wrote.
Back-stage, Jo revealed, “Freddie would always have jars and jars of the pharmaceutical cocaine known as Merck… he had pills, too, endless rainbow-colored handfuls of little red barbiturates called Seconal; half-red, half-turquoise pills called Turanol; and yellow Percodan, an opiate like morphine.”
Later that year, in Los Angeles, Ronnie and Keith had “wild nights” while Jo was pregnant with her first child, Leah. Her diary entry for April 11, 1978, notarized in the book, reads: “Got up at 6 p.m and cooked roast dinner for breakfast!”
“Dealers would be coming and going at all hours, including one girl… who virtually moved in for a time,” Jo wrote in It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll.
“I remember her and Keith having a massive row that only ended when Keith pulled out his gun, put it to her head and said, ‘I’ll give you forty-give reasons to get out of this house now.’ She left — and if I had known then what she would end up doing later I would never, ever have let her in my house in the first place.”
Keith has since turned sober; he gave up heroin in 1978 after being busted five times and finally stopped taking cocaine in 2006 after he fell from a tree and needed to have brain surgery.