Stones legend reveals why he’s brought out a children’s book and what he has in store for a certain tree in Fiji.

That tree Keith Richards fell out of and almost killed him when he was last down this way? It's not long for this world.

Richards is stopping over in Fiji on his way to Australia and New Zealand and says he's going to chop it down while he's there.

But before the Stones bring their postponed tour to Auckland in November, the guitarist has a new release - his second book, a children's book kind-of-sequel to his best-selling autobiography Life.

Entitled Gus & Me, it's about Richards's grandfather, Augustus Theodore Dupree, who introduced him to music.


"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."

"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 says, laughing.

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

Here's Richards on becoming an author again and his revenge plans for that tree ...

Why did you decide to write this book?

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.

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

The initial idea did come from the publishers, so you know, "Maybe Keith can sell a few more books". 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."


Do you want to write more books?

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."

The Stones are heading to New Zealand and Australia next month. Excited?

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 suffered a serious head injury requiring surgery in New Zealand 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.

Are you working on music?

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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