Many rock fans are amazed, knowing the amount of substances Keith Richards has put into his body over the years, that the Rolling Stones legend has survived and thrived into his late 60s. The guitar icon, however, insists that his use of hard drugs like heroin has not taken that much of a toll on him.
"I've never felt that it affected the way I played one way or another," he tells Men's Journal. "It's like [Winston] Churchill said about alcohol, 'I've taken a lot more out of alcohol than it's ever taken out of me!' And I kind of feel the same way about dope and stuff. I got something out of it."
Richards gave up heroin long ago, but he reports that back in his younger days he was keen to experiment with it and other drugs.
"I was interested in what I could take and what I could do," he explains. "I looked upon my body as a laboratory -- I would throw in this chemical and then that one to see what would happen...I've got a bit of the alchemist in me that way."
He admits that he eventually realized he had to quit doing heroin or he was "going to go in for hard time." Keith notes that he continued to dabble in cocaine until just a few years ago, when he was forced to stop after injuring his head in his now-notorious fall from a coconut tree. "Actually, my body tells me when to stop…the hard way," he adds.
Richards also chatted with Men's Journal about the status of his often-precarious relationship with Stones singer Mick Jagger, which he characterizes as currently being "smooth," "even" and "definitely workable."
Keith describes his relationship with Mick as being "like very volatile brothers -- when they clash, they really clash, but when it's over, it's over because we both know we need each other [and] enjoy working with each other."
Richards says that while he and Jagger don't generally "seek each other out for fun or company," he feels that the two still will happily team up to make new music together.
"I've always found working with Mick is like a joy, a real pleasure," Keith maintains. "Outside the realm of work is when we tend to disagree."
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