19 Jan 2015

Keith Richards hits new note

11:20 am on 19 January 2015

Keith Richards has entered his 70s with a new direction - collaborating with his daughter on a children's book.

The legendary Rolling Stones guitarist told Nine to Noon that as a child he was introduced to music by his grandfather Theodore Augustus Dupree - known as Gus - the inspiration for the book.

Keith Richards said he was initially wary about penning a children's book, given his reputation.

Keith Richards - still performing. Photo: AFP

Gus had kept his prized guitar on a shelf that was too high for Richards to reach.

"He said when you can reach it, then I can show you a thing or two. But I cheated, I got a chair and a couple of phone books and whipped it down early".

Gus taught Richards his first song and told him if he could master the Spanish flamenco guitar piece, Malaguena, he could be a guitar player.

"Anything to get my hands on the guitar, ok, and I slaved over Malaguena for a few days and then I came back, and to me the greatest pleasure was to see his eyes pop wild open and say 'Oh, I see you've got the touch'."

Rolling Stone's guitarist Keith Richards has written a children's book about the man who inspired him to play the guitar.


From then on Gus let him use the guitar whenever he wanted, and even take it home with him.

"I could never be more grateful to a man in my life. To turn me on to expressing music and playing it. And the way that he did it was so subtle"

Richards, now 71, said he was wary about penning a children's book to start, thinking it might surprise people, given his reputation.

But he said at the time his fifth grandchild was on the way and it became a family project when his daughter Theodora Richards agreed to do the illustrations.

Richards said his grandfather loved music and was able to pass that on to his grandchildren.

"He always gave you that feeling that music is a special thing, and to be able to pass it on was a greater gift than even being able to play it. This is one of the most enjoyable things in life."

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