Mick Jagger might have the moves, and has recovered from his heart surgery pretty swiftly, but I think the Rolling Stones’ real king of cool is Keith Richards.
After a good few decades spent plying himself with every known illicit substance, Keith is still going strong, and even gave up drinking recently.
In an attempt to “capture his mystique”, the Morrison Hotel Gallery’s “Keith, Unfiltered” photo exhibition is looking back at 50-plus years in the limelight.
The man himself knows that he’s lucky to still be alive, and said as much during a Rolling Stones interview:
“I’ve lived my life in my own way, and I’m here today because I have taken the trouble to find out who I am…If people want to be like Keith Richards, then they better have the same physical makeup. I come from a very sturdy stock — otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
The exhibition will take place at the Gallery’s outposts in New York, Los Angeles and Maui, and will run from May 24 through to June 22.
Here are some of the images that will be on show:
“The New Barbarians was a group put together for Ron Wood’s solo album and national tour in 1979. It was in-between Rolling Stones projects and Keith Richards was a part of it along with Bobby Keys, Ian McLagan, Stanley Clarke, and Ziggy Modeliste…In each city, when we landed, a bevy of limos would surround the plane, and as each band member descended the steps to the tarmac, he would be directed to his limo for the ride to the hotel or venue.
This is a photo of Keith Richards, fresh off the plane and in search of his limo, bottle of Jack and his boom box in hand, which he never went anywhere without, in St. Louis, I think.” —Henry Diltz
Taken during the Stones’ 1972 STP Tour.
“It was in 1988, towards the beginning of my career, and I met Keith at a bar in NYC. It was him and I and one of my assistants, a camera, a light and a tripod — that’s all. No entourage or publicists…I will never forget that feeling, as a young photographer, being so comfortable and having that freedom, working with someone so powerful in all he represents to music and rock and roll history.” —Timothy White
Keith in the swimming pool at Villa Nellcôte — date unknown
Ron Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, June 1975; San Antonio, Texas
“The concert was so memorable — everyone in Austin was excited to be going to San Antonio to see the Rolling Stones. I had just started shooting music in March and this was my first big show to photograph, but not with a photo pass.
“My seat was good, but not good enough to be using a 105mm lens. The stage was shaped like a star and in between the front points, I saw photographers, so I went down there. It was total sensory overload being there, no separation from the band and the crowd. It was an amazing concert and great for pictures!” —Charlyn Zlotnik
They really don’t make rock and roll stars like they used to.
To finish, here’s a pretty cool interview with a somewhat pensive Richards from back in 2015:
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