Improbable as it might seem, Keith Richards — Rolling Stones guitarist, singer and songwriter — has just written a new book. For kids. And it actually conveys an incredibly touching message about the bond between grandparents and their grandkids.
"Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar," was officially released today. It's a book that Richards hadn't exactly been planning to write, but he relented after the birth of his fifth grandchild when he realized how much he wanted to shed light on the important role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren — just as Richards' own grandfather had helped shape and mold his life.
"This one came around sort of behind my back," said Richards in an interview with USA Today. "It happened to coincide with my first daughter, Angela" — from a previous relationship — "having my fifth grandchild (Otto, now 9 months old). And I realized that I wanted to give my own grandfather his due for having turned me on to music."
Theodore Augustus "Gus" Dupree, Richards' maternal grandpa, was a big-band jazz musician who played a number of instruments. He also delighted in taking his grandson on long meandering walks through the streets and music shops of London. "Gus & Me" tells the story of those walks and talks and the role they played in shaping young Keith's life.
Perhaps the most endearing feature of "Gus & Me" is that it is illustrated by Theodora Richards, Keith's eldest daughter with his wife Patti Hansen. Theodora, who was named after her paternal great-grandfather, traveled to London to walk the same streets and visit the same shops that Gus and Keith walked many years before so she could capture the spirit and scene in her drawings.
Check out this clip of Richards describing how "Gus & Me" came to be: