Keith Richards

Keith Richards: I had to stick people up. We would borrow records and lend records, and stuff. Some guys had interesting sounds, and you sort of gravitated towards people that had a collection of records. And you try and steal one here and there, or just borrow. Let’s put it like that: borrow. It wasn’t just necessarily blues – there was a lot of folk music involved. We’d pick up anything we could listen to. I mean, my experience of art school is basically sitting in the john all day playing guitar when I wasn’t forced to draw some fat old lady. And there I found a whole hotbed of music, where we distilled this stuff and listened and tried to figure out what we’ve been missing out on. You know, the BBC had not been particularly generous in its deliverance of blues and esoteric kinds of music. You started to search out certain guys that had more knowledge, more material than you did, and you had to know where it came from. So then I went to study this stuff and I realised that these blues men, they’re talking about getting laid. And there’s me studying what they’re doing, but I ain’t getting laid. I mean, there was something missing in my life – obviously, to be a bluesman I have to go see what this lemon juice is, running down your leg. And you know, these guys are actually living a life – they’re not studying. I loved rock’n’roll but there’s got to be something behind the rock’n’roll. There had to be. We found, of course, that it was the blues. And, therefore, if you really want to learn the basics, then you’ve got to do some homework. We all felt there was a certain gap in our education, so we all scrambled back to the 20s and 30s to figure out how Charlie Patton did this, or Robert Johnson, who, after all, was and still probably is the supremo. Blues didn’t just mean doing one thing or another – there was a lot of room to manoeuvre around the blues.

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