Monday, July 10, 2006

Celebrity: Keith Richards Says He's Ready to Tour

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, in this Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

On the eve of relaunching the Rolling Stones European tour, guitarist Keith Richards said Monday that he has recovered completely from a head injury suffered in a fall and shrugged off a question about whether he had worried about dying.

"I feel great. I can't wait to get back on the stage again. Basically everything is cool," Richards, 62, said in his first comments since he fell from a tree April 27 while vacationing in Fiji, forcing the Rolling Stones to postpone their European tour.

He later had surgery in New Zealand to relieve pressure on his brain.

"Of course they put me out like a light. I was surprised myself. ... I had total comfort. When you got to do it, you got to do it," Richards said, adding: "I was pissed off when they woke me up because I was in such a good sleep."

With Richards returned to health, the Rolling Stones resume their "A Bigger Bang" tour on Tuesday at Milan's San Siro stadium. The 21-date tour wraps up Sept. 3 in Denmark.

Asked what he's been doing since the fall, Richards responded, "I recovered. ... Six weeks, I mean not bad for a brain job." Did he ever worry about dying? "Good one, girl," he said, good-naturedly.

The band was in a jovial mood and when the inevitable question came What was Richards doing up in a coconut tree, as reported, and did he find what he wanted? everyone was ready to set the record straight.

"That's a good one. If you saw the tree, you'd realize the joke. Fiji is not just made of coconut trees. It was a little tree," Richards said, without naming it.

Bandmates Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood were eager to illustrate the point, however, indicating a height less than half of Richards.

Richards also confirmed his role in the third installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, saying he'd be filming for a week or so in September. Richards is to have a cameo role as the father of the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp.

"Now I know why (Depp) paid for all those lunches," Richards deadpanned.

Asked what success meant to the Rolling Stones after 44 years, Richards responded: "The opportunity to continue." His bandmates nodded in agreement.


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