Keith Richards tells of snorting
his dad's ashes with cocaine
Keith Richards performs at Twickenham with The Rolling Stones
as part of their A Bigger Bang world tour. Photograph: Ian West/PA
Keith Richards admits ingesting all manner of substances in his time. But none quite as bizarre as he reveals in his latest confession: he snorted his father's ashes.
In a wide-ranging interview published today, the 63-year-old veteran of tequila breakfasts and drug marathons described how he once sampled his father's ashes mixed with cocaine. "The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," he told NME magazine.
"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared, he didn't give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."
Bert Richards died five years ago at the age of 84. He had been a factory labourer and wounded in the second world war.
But if this episode of his Rolling Stone son's life was relatively innocuous, it was a different story when the guitarist found himself in what he said was his most life-threatening drug experience.
"Someone put strychnine in my dope. It was in Switzerland. I was totally comatose, but I was totally awake."
"I could listen to everyone, and they were like, 'He's dead, he's dead!', waving their fingers and pushing me about. I was thinking, 'I'm not dead!'," he recalled.
He said his longevity in the face of multiple drug abuse over decades was just luck, and advised others not to follow his lead. "I've no pretensions about immortality ... I was number one on the Who's 'Likely To Die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list."
"Some doctor told me I had six months to live, and I went to their funeral."
The next drugs casualty would be Pete Doherty, he predicted; the Babyshambles singer ought to leave his girlfriend, Kate Moss, if he wanted to live longer. "My advice is that he should shut the fuck up and leave her," he said. "Kate wants to play with bad boys, and she's done one, and then another one, and then another one. Badabing, badabang, badaboom."
"She'll live, the boys will die."
Richards himself had yet another brush with death last year when he had a fall on holiday in Fiji. It had been overplayed, he said; he was not climbing a coconut tree but sitting on a "shrub". But he did not play down the subsequent treatment. "I've been trepanned. That's quite an interesting experience, especially for my brain surgeon, who saw my thoughts flying around in my brain. I've got pictures of it, mate. They cut my head, brain, skull open, went in and pulled out the crap, and put some of it back again."
"But that's the way it is."
"I mean, shit, Keith Richards has got to do everything once."
The coke-craving brain
The Imperial Whizzball?
Cocaine in North America
Colombia and the drug war
Sigmund Freud and cocaine
Buying Coke from Burger King
Sniffer dogs with nice-smelling noses
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The Hedonistic Imperative
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
When Is It Best to Take Crack Cocaine?
The Good Drug Guide
The Responsible Parent's Guide To
Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family