Keith Richards talks candidly about smoking, drinking, and the status of the new Rolling Stones album in the April issue of Mojo magazine. Richards, who “guest edited” the issue, revealed that like alcohol, he's been curbing his smoking habit, admitting, “I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully. Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is. Quitting heroin is like hell, but it’s a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you’ve always done it. I just pick ’em up and light ’em up without thinking about it. Lately, in fact — spread the news — I’ve managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day, and I’m still working on it. Because I realized I don’t need it. I realized it’s just a useless habit. But hey, when you’re 75, habits are pretty ingrained.”

Regarding booze, which has remained the mainstay of Richards' life since giving up heroin back in the late-1970's, Richards said, “I’ve knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two. Mind you, if I meet you in a bar and you say, ‘Do you want a drink?’ I wouldn’t turn it down. I’m not a puritan in these matters. It’s just that it’s not on the daily menu any more.”

Somewhat comically, Keith Richards' exercise routine is vastly different from his partner Mick Jagger's saying, “I get up. Ummm. And then, uh, y'know, I sit down. I don't do none of this trotting around, I think it's bad for you. It's bad on the joints, especially on concrete. I don't go with that. It's just not for me. It works for some guys, but y'know, it's just. . . Mmm. Oh, and when I go to the islands, I do quite a bit of swimming. It's not a regime, it's just very nice to be in the water, and, uhh, y'know. . . float about a bit.”

Richards shed light on where he and the Stones are regarding the band's first original studio set in nearly 14 years: “We're in the studio in a couple of weeks, the whole kit and caboodle. The Stones with Don Was producing, in L.A. We'll have it done this year, at some point. We'll put down as much as we can for a week or so, and then we're on the road. So we'll see what happens after that.”

Keith Richards' drug use is now the stuff of legend — but he's gone on record as saying in the 1980's, the one drug he knew was far too addictive and dangerous to play around with was crack cocaine. A while back in the “Ask Keith” portion of his website, (, Richards was asked to name something he's only tried once: “What was that elephant tranquilizer called? (Laughs) I tried it once and God help the elephants (laughs).”


Mick Jagger is reportedly now a one-woman-man, according to England's The Daily Mail. Jagger's relationship with 33-year-old ballerina Melanie Hamrick, the mother of his youngest child, two-year-old son Deveraux, is reportedly exclusive. A “New York source” told the paper that over four years after they began seeing each other, Jagger and Hamrick's relationship is solid, explaining, “When Mick and Melanie started dating, he made it clear to her that it would not be exclusive. He was totally honest with her. Mick’s relationship with (22-year-old movie producer) Noor (Alfallah) went on for a couple of years and, sure, it overlapped with Melanie, but it has ended amicably. He made a commitment to Melanie when they were in Mustique over Christmas. He’s finally ready to settle down and be a one-woman man.”

An unnamed source that saw the couple last week at a post-Grammy Bash held in L.A. by Universal Records said, “He seems very happy and content in her company. He didn’t look at another woman all night. It’s the happiest I’ve seen him in years.”

Mick Jagger, who's rumored to have bedded over 4,000 woman over the years, said a while back that his reputation as being a prowling playboy has always been more of a public perception than an actual reality: “There aren't any playboys anymore. They don't exist anymore. It's rather sad, really. They wrapped themselves around trees in badly driven sports cars (laughter) many, many years ago. And I've always been a very career-minded person, and any vague resemblance of my life to a playboy's is merely coincidental.”