Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what you read. Keith Richards, the legendary guitarist with The Rolling Stones and arguably the archetypal rock ‘n’ roller, once tried to snort his father’s ashes in an attempt to continue his rebellious streak.
The story was originally shared in a wide-ranging interview with NME back in 2007 as the veteran rocker opened up about his debaucherous past. One half of the Glimmer Twins is no stranger to putting powders up his nose and it would seem the cremated ashes of his dad was just another one.
There aren’t many things you will read about Keith Richards that will shock you these days. The guitarist has done his best efforts to check most things off his rocker bucket list. Yet, even we were a little bit dumbfounded when we heard of the moment Richards crushed up his dad’s cremated remains and snorted them along with a bit of cocaine.
During the interview with NME, Richards was asked his usual barrage of “How come you’re still alive?” questions, most of which focus on his drug-taking. In this piece, Richards was asked what the strangest drug he had taken was, his replay said it all: “The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father.”
Adding: “He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared, he didn’t give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”
Since these comments, however, Richards has backtracked a little on the legendary tale. “The complete story is lost in the usual slanting,” complained Richards when the story first broke. “The truth of the matter is that I planted a sturdy English Oak. I took the… ashes [and sprinkled them beneath the tree], and he is now growing oak trees and he would love me for it!”
In 2016 though, Richards seemed to double-down on the original tale. Speaking with American GQ, Richards opened up a little more about the episode, “I had him in a box in England,” remembered the guitarist.
“I bought this little oak sapling, my idea being that he was gonna fertilise the tree, but when I pulled the top off of the box, wafts of Dad landed on the table. And my dad knows I’d always liked my cocaine, a snort here and there. So I just (mimes snorting) and had a line of dad.”
While we will never be sure about whether Keith Richards actually did snort his father’s ashes in such a way. The fact, that we’re even considering it as a possibility means that Richards, when he finally does pass (perhaps some millennia into the future), can look back at a life full of rock ‘n’ roll revelry, the likes of which will never be seen again.