Doing life

Mick Jagger was “unbearable,” says Rolling Stones and rock legend Keith Richards in his long awaited autobiography, Life

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Published: Sun 17 Oct 2010, 11:45 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:09 PM

ROLLING STONES GUITARIST Keith Richards says in his new autobiography that Mick Jagger became unbearable over the years and reveals he also calls the imperious lead singer “Your Majesty” and “Brenda.”

The memoir is peppered with references to other celebrities — from Johnny Depp to John Lennon — but it is the prickly dynamic between Richards and Jagger that dominates the 527-page book, which is to be serialised in The Times newspaper.

Richards, 66, who met Jagger at the age of four, says he has not stepped foot in Jagger’s dressing room in 20 years.

“It was the beginning of the Eighties when Mick started to become unbearable,” Richards writes in the memoir, Life, which brought him an advance of £4.8 million ($7.7 million) after a massive bidding war among publishers.

Richards and Jagger were two of the Stones’ founding members in 1962 and wrote its hit songs, leading the group to sales of more than 200 million albums worldwide.

“Sometimes I think, ‘I miss my friend,’” Richards writes. “I wonder, ‘where did he go?’”

But Richards told The Times that his bandmate had read the book and wanted to take out only one thing — a reference to Jagger using a voice coach.

Richards refused, saying, “I’m trying to say the truth here.”

He added about Jagger, “We’ve had our beefs but, hey, who doesn’t? You try and keep something together for 50 years,” adding the band was considering going on tour again.

“I think it’s going to happen. I’ve had a chat with ... Her Majesty. Brenda.”

The band’s last tour ended in August 2007, sparking the customary speculation that there would be no more.

Star-studded life

Richards is similarly frank about other big names. He said he had long failed to recognise Depp when the Oscar-nominated star had been hanging out with his son for two years.

“Then one day he was at dinner, and I’m like, ‘Whoa!’ Scissorhands!”

Depp, who played the lead role in the 1990 movie Edward Scissorhands, credits Richards for inspiring his character Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and the two are currently shooting the series’ fourth instalment, where Richards reprises his role as Sparrow’s father.

Richards also throws in a few choice remarks on the Beatles’ Lennon, “Johnny. A silly s*d, in many ways,” he writes.

“I don’t think John ever left my house, except horizontally.”

He describes finding Lennon lying by the toilet, mumbling, “Don’t move me - these tiles are beautiful.”

Richards himself is famous for his insatiable appetite for drugs, although he gave up heroin in 1978 after a fifth drug bust and stopped using cocaine after a 2006 fall in Fiji forced him to undergo brain surgery.

He said he does not regret his exploits.

“I loved a good high. And if you stay up, you get the songs that everyone else misses because they’re asleep,” Richards said.

During his addict days in the 1960s and 1970s, he spent a decade on the “People Most Likely to Die List.”

“Well, I’m not putting death on the agenda,” he told The Times. “I don’t want to see my old friend Lucifer just yet.”

Life will be published on October 26.

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