THE GQ&A;: KEITH RICHARDS

warning: Fifty years of smoking, boozing, snorting, touring, and screwing will kill you. Unless you are Keith Richards

I meet Keith Richards at his office.

Yes, the guy has an office.

You don’t picture Keef having an office, like the kind of place with a receptionist and FedEx supplies and an intercom. But he does. Probably for tax reasons or something. It’s on the eleventh floor of an old building in SoHo, in New York City, overlooking Broadway and guys cooking food on the street.

I was told to show up at four in the afternoon. I ended up sitting for an hour in the waiting room, which looked sweetly tacky—less like Keith Richards’s waiting room and more like some suburban dude’s rec-room Stones shrine. There were some tattered old People mags on a black metal TV-less TV stand, an empty pair of Moroccan candleholders, and a bunch of framed album covers (Steel Wheels, Voodoo Lounge) and photos. One wall had a poster for the movie Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll. (Tagline: “The whole world knows the music. Nobody knows the man.”) There was even a dusty Ronnie Wood bobblehead doll. It all felt very eBay-ready.

At one point an employee, a little fluffy white dog trailing at her heels, walked through and headed into the kitchen that was next to the waiting room. She apologized—not for my having to wait but for interrupting my waiting—and explained, “I need to prepare something for Mr. Richards.”

She opened the freezer, cracked some ice cubes into one of those red plastic Solo cups, and filled it to the brim with Ketel One.

More minutes went by. Maybe fifteen. At which point, the employee returned and told me Keith was ready. I was led back to his office. Keith was standing there, holding that red Solo cup, a cigarette dangling from his lips like only Keith Richards can make a cigarette dangle from his lips. He was wearing a green leather motorcycle jacket over a green velvet vest over a green T-shirt. He had on black jeans. And on his feet, purple Uggs.

“Howya doin’, mate? Sorry I’m late,” he said. And then he plopped onto the green velvet love seat and kind of folded in on himself, like an unstaked scarecrow. He patted the cushion next to him. “Have a seat, mate.”

*****

How long have you had this place?
I have no idea. [laughs] We were up in Broadway by Carnegie Hall for many, many years, and then the lease ran out.

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