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Keith Richards and Johnny Depp: Blood Brothers

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Johnny, you never opened for the Stones. Iggy Pop was as close as you got.
Depp: Yeah, yeah, when I was a Kid.

Tell me what Stones records connected with you the most.
Depp: I was a fan of the early stuff.

Richards: I always hate to pick this one or that one. I mean, as opposed to just, like, rumble away in the background. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's what it's about.

Depp: I've always had a tendency toward Keith's tracks: "Before They Make Me Run," "Little T&A." As a guitar player, he was a god. As he still is. Don't tell him.

Do you on any level consider yourself a failed rock star?
Depp: Worse than that, I'm a failed musician. Music was my life, my first love.

Richards: He's got one of the best guitar collections, very eclectic.

Depp: There are some nice old LIs.

Keith, haven't you been wearing a skull ring and other pirate regalia since the "X-pensive Winos" era?
Richards: Since the late Sixties, early Seventies. I have a very good friend who also makes my handcuffs, but I can't show you because they are under this goddamn pirate shirt.

Over the years, some of the best quotes have been attributed to you. One was "I fly under no flag. I'm a musician." Which to me is the pirate ethos.
Richards: Shit, if I didn't have a guitar, I'd have a boat.

Depp: I'd do it in a Maserati.

Do you think you have to be a bit of a pirate to survive in the music business?
Richards: The music business has never been any different. It's a pool of piranhas. You want to get in there? You better not be tasty.

Here's another Richards quote: "I never had a problem with drugs. I had a problem with the police."
Richards: Yeah. I'll stick with that, too [laughs].

There are kids just being born now who may discover Keith through the Pirates movie. How does that grab you?
Richards: Great. Brilliant.

Depp: If that's the way they find Keith, fine. There's forty years of amazing music to discover after that.

Richards: They found Johnny, didn't they? And they might as well find me. It's a different generation, and that's why I am playing his father. Oh, Mom's not here.

Will we see a mom in the movie?
Richards: We cannot reveal [laughs].

How would you compare the brotherhood of a band with the brotherhood of pirates?
Richards: You're a crew, right? It's a teamwork thing. Johnny has been doing this Pirates series for three or four years, off and on. And his crew made me right at home. It is like my own crew on the road It's a family thing. My whole life is operated around that. I was a choirboy, you know. This requires teamwork. I was a Boy Scout, and the patrol leader really required teamwork. They called it Beaver Patrol, believe it or not.

Depp: Beaver Patrol? [Laughs]

Richards: Yeah. I was the leader of Beaver Patrol. Look out, girls. By the time I'd sort of grown up halfway, I got used to operating with other guys. And a band is like the supreme thing of working together. You have no two takes up there. It's got to be one-take Richards up there onstage [laughs]. But in a way it's still acting. This is acting and playing at the same time.

Have you turned down a lot of acting roles?
Richards: Oh, I've been offered a few things, but they were all so ludicrous. I would only do it with friends, and that's the way this one happened. This is why I am wearing this fucking wig, which weighs three fucking pounds.

How many hours of makeup and preparation did you need? Because, I must say, this pirate get-up looks pretty natural on you.
Richards: It takes about an hour and a half. Because they put the scars on. Like I don't have enough scars already.

How is your acting gig going?
Richards: Pretending to be his father has become interesting. I'm not sure of what I'm doing, because it's very short-term, but I'm doing me best. I know that I can look this man in the eyes and we can fuck about without fucking crawling.

Depp: He came in like a fucking pirate, dressed like this. It was the first time I saw this crew, who I've been working with for years, with their mouths wide open. Just checking him out in awe. Like the gunfighter had arrived.

Richards: Ladies and gentlemen, Cary Grant is about to take a piss.

Depp: You draw quite a crowd.

Richards: Watch out, bastard.

Does Jack Sparrow have father issues?
Depp: Oh, it's a tough-love situation.

This movie obviously interrupted the Stones tour. How are the shows going?
Richards: Oh, man, great. We've done ninety-seven shows. I left Denmark to come here to do this. Let's face it, if the Stones shows don't go great, you'd hear all about it. But coming in, I have been thinking, "Oh, God, I'm jet-lagged." In actual fact I've been able to roll with it. Is the old frame still holding?

Depp: The frame is holding.

Did boss-man producer Jerry Bruckheimer come down to watch you two together?
Depp: Yeah, he came down yesterday.

Richards: Big fucking deal. I've seen them come and go, baby [laughs].

Growing up, Johnny, did you get to see the Stones onstage, or was that out of the budget range?
Depp: That was well out of the budget range. I've seen them now a number of times. It just gets better and better. Astonishing to watch them onstage. The energy.

Richards: I demand ransom.

How close did you get to music becoming your whole life, Johnny?
Depp: It was my whole life. I made a living at it before the acting. Acting happened by mistake, and I stuck with it.

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