Courtesy of theguardian.com
Stones member Keith Richards has taken on a new gig: writing kids’ books. The rocker’s first venture into children’s literature is an illustrated story entitled “Gus & Me.” It lovingly details his relationship with his grandfather, Augustus “Gus” Theodore Dupree, who originally taught him about music. The book will be available for purchase this Tuesday.
Richards said that he had never planned on writing a kids’ book. But in his 2010 autobiography, Life, there was a touching chapter about his grandfather that his publisher thought would make a great children’s story. He was unsure about it initially, but changed his mind when the phone rang moments later. His daughter Angela had called to tell him that his fifth grandchild was on the way. He was then inspired to move forward with the idea.
“Nine times out of 10 I would have said forget about it. I’m not going there,” said Richards. “But because of the circumstances and having another grandchild, everything was sort of falling into place. I said, ‘Damn it. Go for it.’”
His grandfather always knew Richards would become a successful musician. Gus introduced him to the guitar as a young child growing up in England, and taught him everything he knew about music. “I think in a way he sort of had plans for me I wasn’t aware of,” Richards explained. “He turned me on to the guitar, and he did it in a subtle way.”
The musician decided to keep the project in the family, so his daughter, Theodora, provided the whimsical illustrations for the story. As they pieced the book together, she dug through old family photos for reference, and asked her father what Gus used to wear. Drawing from his memories, he made rough sketches for her. She even visited London to research the places mentioned in the book.
Richards worked on “Gus and Me” between Stones concerts, and is currently preparing for tours in Australia and Europe. Fans have already started asking about a second children’s book, to which he has replied, “Don’t rush me! I can’t believe I’ve done this one yet. I’m not planning on a literary career – even though I’m doing pretty good at it.”