Myths About Keith Richards You Can Stop Believing

Apparently, Bill Hicks once joked that in the event of a nuclear apocalypse, he could only imagine two things surviving: cockroaches and Keith Richards. The joke is that the legendary debauchery that has defined Keith's very public lifestyle should have surely killed him by now. The fact is people are willing to believe anything about Keith Richards because he is Keith Richards, a fact that does not mesh well with his sense of humor.

One of the most infamous instances of this was the legend that he had his blood completely drained and replenished in a Swiss clinic to beat his heroin addiction. In 1973, his addiction threatened his performance, so he underwent a crash treatment. As Snopes reports from an authoritative biography, however, the process was more mundane: "The treatment involved a hemodialysis process in which the patient's blood was passed through a pump, where it was separated from sterile dialysis fluid by a semipermeable membrane. This allowed any toxic substances that had built up in the bloodstream ... to diffuse out of the blood into the dialysis fluid."

 Decades later, Richards admitted the story's origins to The Scotsman”Once, I was at Heathrow Airport on my way to Switzerland for treatment for heroin addiction. I met some youngsters who asked me where I was going. I said to Switzerland to exchange my blood. They didn't understand me, obviously.” It's easy to imagine this as a sarcastic comment. Again, though, Keith Richards is Keith Richards.

After all, there was the whole snorting dad incident

Richards's ambiguity doesn't help matters. Daniel Durchholz, in an excerpt from his book Rock 'n' Roll Myths, references the Rolling Stone's autobiography: "'The lifeblood of good conspiracies is that you'll never find out,' Richards wrote in his 2010 autobiography, Life; 'the lack of evidence keeps them fresh. No one's ever going to find out if I had my blood changed or not. The story is well beyond the reach of evidence or, if it never happened, my denials.'"

The same issue cropped up when in 2007 he told New Music Express that he had snorted his dad's ashes. Later, he doubled down, emphasizing to NME that the story about him snorting his dad with cocaine was rubbish because he did his dad straight: "The cocaine bit was rubbish I said I chopped him up like cocaine, not with. I pulled the lid off [my father's urn] and out comes a bit of dad on the dining room table ... I'm going, 'I can't use the brush and dustpan for this'." Yet MTV reported that Richards released a statement that "I was trying to say how tight Bert and I were – that tight!

Richards returned to the story in 2016, however, in an interview with Ireland's The Independent, after telling The Guardian in 2015 that when he died, his daughter can snort him up with a straw. After all, he's Keith Richards.