Keith Richards Interviewed at The New York Public Library

For a cer­tain kind of per­son (that means you, Dan C.), a straight hour of Rolling Stones gui­tarist Kei­th Richards expound­ing on the rock n’ roll life is about as close to heav­en as one can get with­out mag­i­cal­ly trans­form­ing into Richards’ favorite gui­tar. Here is the 66-year old leg­end being inter­viewed at the New York Pub­lic Library, fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of his crit­i­cal­ly-acclaimed mem­oir Life, which no less severe a judge than Michiko Kaku­tani called “elec­tri­fy­ing.”

In the inter­view, Richards comes off as wit­ty, artic­u­late, and espe­cial­ly elo­quent when speak­ing about his pas­sion for Amer­i­can blues, but one of the most charm­ing ear­ly moments comes thanks to his inter­locu­tor, Antho­ny DeCur­tis. DeCur­tis is some­thing of a rock star in his own field, but he fights a los­ing bat­tle with his nat­ur­al fan­dom for the first 15 min­utes of the con­ver­sa­tion, then final­ly starts to implode at about the 22:2o mark. His mini-melt­down is imme­di­ate­ly fol­lowed by Richards’ hilar­i­ous riff on the Stones’ ear­ly Bea­t­les-envy, and it all just gets bet­ter from there, cul­mi­nat­ing in the expect­ed wild applause at the end of the hour.

A foot­note: Richards’ col­lab­o­ra­tor on Life is the respect­ed British jour­nal­ist named James Fox. Fox spent five years work­ing with the gui­tarist, or rather, chas­ing him from con­ti­nent to con­ti­nent, record­ing hun­dreds of hours of their con­ver­sa­tions, and then shap­ing those hours into a book that is not mere­ly coher­ent or inter­est­ing but gen­uine­ly lit­er­ary. He deserves a round of applause as well.

A sec­ond foot­note note: The New York Pub­lic Library is cur­rent­ly fac­ing steep bud­get cuts and may have to slash its hours. You can donate here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hunter S. Thomp­son Inter­views Kei­th Richards

John­ny Depp Nar­rates New Kei­th Richards Auto­bi­og­ra­phy

John Lennon and The Rolling Stones Sing Bud­dy Hol­ly

Pat­ti Smith at the New York Pub­lic Library

via NYPL

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly

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