Keith Richards turns 79: What it was like when his drug addiction landed him a night in jail

Keith Richards turns 79: What it was like when his drug addiction landed him a night in jail

“I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem,” the guitarist said on his debut Keith Richards and good thing he had her. This emblematic artist, founder of the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones in 1962, Today, December 18, he turns 79. We could say a whole record for a lifetime of over sixty years of drug and alcohol use.

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In fact, aside from a few other gun control inconveniences, such as a large hunting knife or his “friend,” a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, “I never feel alone with my Smith & Wesson.” his troubles with the authorities were drug related.

Arrests and Trials

Indeed, he was indicted twice on drug offenses in 1967, 1973, 1977 and 1978, and faced a series of minor arrests that Richards was already considering as a pastime of a busy life of rock ‘n’ roll.

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However, of all these experiences we have saved two, both in February, one on the 12th and the other on the 27th, but ten years apart, the first in 1967 and the second in 1977.

The two sequels went, albeit in opposite directions. The first encouraged him to the point that he somehow felt outside the consequences of his use, while the second forced him to change his behavior not only with substances but also in his relationship life.

a guarded gang

The Stones had been under surveillance, so to speak, by English police for their apparent links to drugs until a raid on Richards’ home in Redland, Sussex, found the guitarist along with Mick Jagger, his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and a few friends with something Speed ​​(which came from Jagger) and some heroin (which came from the friends present). Statements were collected, although there were no arrests that day.

The account Richards gave in his autobiography He is curious about that afternoon night: “I hear a knock and look out the window and see many blue-robed dwarfs under a heavy drizzle, asking you to come inside. You go in and start browsing. They go up the stairs and meet Marianne, who had showered and came out of the bathroom naked, running from the commotion they caused to cover herself with the first thing she found, a leopard skin. I’ve never been caught.”

Days later, Jagger and Richards were charged with drug possession by a court that was under media pressure due to a clear sense of the exhaustion of the Victorian model of justice.

Of all the comments that came from both sides, from those in favor of punishment to those who believed the authorities had no right to judge what adults do in private, the editorial in The Times was written by William Rees Mogg, entitled “Who Crushes a Butterfly With a Wheel?”.

Both Richards and Jagger pleaded not guilty in court and the case was brought to Chichester Crown Court from where he was taken to Lewes Prison to await sentencing and released on bail.

The verdict was announced on June 29, 1967. Richards was convicted of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property and sentenced to a year in prison and a £500 fine.; Jagger was sentenced to three months in prison and a £200 fine for possession of four amphetamine tablets.

Richards was jailed at Wormwood Scrubs Prison in west London, where he spent only one night in prison; A month after the lawyers appealed, the guitarist’s conviction was overturned and Jagger’s was alleviated only by a fine.

“The inmates showed me respect in prison that night and the judge managed to turn me into a folk hero overnight. I’ve been playing that role ever since,” the musician admitted.

The country house cost him just over £20,000 in 1966 and he continues to visit with his wife Patti Hansen, their children and grandchildren.

In particular, the experience of his arrest, far from being paranoid about the police, gave him an odd confidence to get out of other similar situations, according to his paper in an English court.

The accident in Canada

Ten years after that arrest in Sussex, Richards would live another but much more complicated life. For real, His arrest in Toronto was for possession of heroin and cocaine.

While in Europe and the United States the Stones possessed a certain liberality and hardly anyone from the authorities made fun of them, the Canadian police, at least in the 1970s, were not in tune with their use and pursued every trace of the drug in their territories.

The Stones would each travel solo to shows at Toronto’s Mocambo Club and were looking to begin recording the next album, releasing it around 1977–1978.

As soon as he set foot in Toronto, mounted police arrested Keith and his wife, Anita Pallenberg. In his autobiography lifetime, the guitarist tells that he gave himself an injection in the airplane toilet, where he fell asleep shortly before landing and left, so descended very high, albeit without any substances on him; What they found was hashish in Anita’s purse, and she was released on bail.

Richards, anticipating that they would be waiting for him at the foot of the plane and how dangerous it was to shop in Toronto, mailed an envelope containing heroin and cocaine in his name to the Castillo Hotel, where they were staying.

After a show in Mocambo, Richards was arrested at dawn on February 27 at the hotel, where 20 grams of heroin and 5 grams of cocaine were seized, enough to convict him of human trafficking and sentence him to between seven years and life in prison. .

“It took me hours to wake up from this dream; I came to the police with the Colorada from the slaps. The United States gave me a medical visa and I started detoxification treatment. I climbed the walls for four days and only felt better afterwards,” Keith said.

He began treatment with methadone, a clean drug (purchased by prescription) that requires you to be drug-free to get the intended effect, which was an inconvenience for Keith as he continued to use alcohol and marijuana, and occasionally cocaine

Though he quickly pleaded guilty and entered a rehab facility, it was Rita, his “blind angel,” who would really get Richards out of prison. This blind young woman volunteered to testify and related how one night after the Stones concert was over and she had started walking home with her cane, a car pulled up beside her and they asked her to get up; it was Richards’s car that he asked the driver to park at their front door.

A story that obviously moved the jury, who sentenced him to a year and a half and who shouldn’t have gotten into this kind of trouble, which apparently continued, he no longer had problems with the judiciary; his fetishes, handcuff bracelet and skull ring are reminiscent of that bad drink.

This event, in addition to following the jury’s recommendations to the letter, soon led him to break up with Anita Pallenberg, with whom he had been dating since the late 1960s and with whom he had three children (Marlon, Angela, and Tara, who died shortly after birth).

Since the late 1970s, he has had no problems with the law, at least publicly, and today leads a stable family life, without marijuana or alcohol, with Patti Hansen (they have been married for 39 years), with daughters Theodora and Alexandra and their grandchildren.

As a result of a life plagued by dangerous drug situations, he long ago remarked that “I like to be clean.”


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