Tales of Rock: Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ life in photos in new ‘Keith, Unfiltered’ show

The Rolling Stones recently announced rescheduled dates for their “No Filter” tour after lead singer Mick Jagger underwent successful heart surgery. But for those who don’t want to wait for the Stones to hit the stage, guitarist Keith Richards, legendary for both his iconic rock riffs and his imperviousness to drugs and alcohol, has his own “Keith, Unfiltered” show up right now.

The Morrison Hotel Gallery is featuring five decades of iconic photographs of Richards at all three of its locations: New York City, Los Angeles and Maui.

“Keith, Unfiltered” shows Richards in classic portraits at work and at play, which in his case often involves cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Following are a selection of shots from the show, along with the photographers’ vivid memories of hanging out with perhaps the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarist of all time.

Keith Richards. “Patience Please” during The Stones tour of America – STP Tour, 1972

(Ethan Russell/Morrison Hotel Gallery)

Ethan Russell: “… I was traveling with the Rolling Stones, watching from the sidelines, when I noticed the sign. I called Keith over and took two quick snaps. The customs officer threatened to confiscate the film, so I retired quickly. I knew what I had.”

Keith Richards, The Third Eye. Industria Studios, New York City

(Stephanie Pfriender Stylander/Morrison Hotel Gallery)

Stephanie Pfriender Stylander: “Black set, hot lights, smoke, drink, music, film, rock and roll, Nikons, ashes, Dolce & Gabbana, ‘how are you doin’ love’, as Keith gets out of the dark limo walking into the studio, we start in this atmosphere, intimate, moving, cinematic and real.”

Keith Richards, England, 1966

(Gered Mankowitz/Morrison Hotel Gallery)

Gered Mankowitz: “In 1966, I photographed each individual member of the Rolling Stones at home so as to create a stock library of these more personal and individual images for press use. By this time there was an increasing demand for such images and the band hated the idea of having unknown photographers coming to their homes. Keith is photographed here at his glorious home Redlands in West Sussex with his beloved Bentley motor car, which he called Blue Lena after the great singer Lena Horne. By this time, Keith and I had become pretty close, and the entire day was a joy of picture taking and giggling with Keith showing his own particular take of this rather cheesy ‘at home’ format!”

Keith Richards, New York City, 1988

(Timothy White/Morrison Hotel Gallery)

Timothy White: “It was a major coming-of-age moment for me. No publicists or bodyguards, just a rising photographer and this legend I’d grown up listening to. Between rounds of pool and drinks at an otherwise vacant dive bar in Tribeca this is among the few shots we managed to get before heading over to the Hudson to catch the sunset. Crossing Greenwich Avenue, we were stopped by an NYPD office asking Keith to sign his violation book. Moments later, a few more showed up. I tried to rush things along as the sun began to sink, but when a female officer opened her bulletproof vest to reveal the Rolling Stones shirt she wore under her uniform, Keith couldn’t refuse signing just one more autograph. I may not have gotten that moment on film but we did manage to get the shots we were looking for and then some. Turning away from New York’s finest, he told me, ‘I could run for mayor of this town.’ After that day, I’m convinced he could, and win, too.”

Keith Richards, Midwest Airport, 1979

(Henry Diltz/Morrison Hotel Gallery)

Henry Diltz: “I spent three weeks on the road in 1979 with the New Barbarians; Ronnie Wood’s solo album touring band, which was like the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger. We traveled on a huge jet plane from city to city. Each time we landed, eight limos would appear on the runway around the plane, and the band members would descend the steps and look for their own private limo and driver. Here, Keith is getting off of the place in St, Louis, looking for his limo and driver and carrying the thing that mattered most… his bottle of Jack Daniels.”

All images are for sale online as well as at each Morrison Hotel gallery.

 

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Tales of Rock – Keith Richards Snorts His Dad

Keith said that his image was “like a long shadow,” implying that people don’t know much about the real man, but instead focus on the things written in articles

Keith Richards is one of the most talented guitarists in history. In 1962, he helped form The Rolling Stones and since that time the band has sold over 200 million records. Interestingly, Keith Richards regards the acoustic guitar as the basis for his playing, once saying that he felt the electric guitar would cause him to “lose that touch.” Richards is also a talented lyricist. The songwriting partnership of Jagger/Richards has been responsible for the majority of the catalog of The Rolling Stones.

In the 1970s, music journalist Nick Kent described the personality of Keith Richards as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” In 1994, Keith said that his image was “like a long shadow,” implying that people don’t know much about the real man, but instead focus on the things written in articles. Richards has a long history of drug abuse and has been tried for drug-related charges five times.

In April of 2006, Keith Richards made headlines when he fell out of a tree in Fiji and suffered a bad head injury. The event caused a delay in The Rolling Stones tour, but Richards made a full recovery. The following year Keith made international headlines after he was asked by a journalist what the strangest thing he ever snorted was. Keith responded: “My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared. It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”

The comment shocked the journalist and the story instantly became a media sensation. Keith’s manager responded with the statement that the anecdote had been a joke, but many feel the story is true. In the same interview Keith was asked about his most life-threatening drug experience and mentioned an event in which “Someone put strychnine (pesticide) in my dope. It was in Switzerland. I was totally comatose, but I was totally awake. I could listen to everyone, and they were like, he’s dead, he’s dead, waving their fingers and pushing me about. I was thinking I’m not dead.” Richards remembers: “I was number one on the Who’s list of people who were likely to die for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list.”

 

 

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