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Keith Richards admits to snorting his father's ashes

Corky Siemaszko
New York Daily News (MCT)

NEW YORK - In Keith Richards' world, it's ashes to ashes - and then up the nose with some cocaine.

"I snorted my father's ashes," the Rolling Stones guitarist claims in an interview with the British music magazine NME. "He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared."

Richards, who pretty much set the standard for rock `n' roll wild men, said the macabre mixture of ashes and cocaine "went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

The leathery legend conceded the creepy concoction just may be the "strangest thing I've tried to snort."

But Richards warned musicians who might try staggering in his footsteps against emulating his substance-abusing style - and said he has survived for 63 years because he's "just kind of lucky."

"I've no pretensions about immortality," he added. "I was No. 1 on the `Who's likely to die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list."

Richards had a tempestuous relationship with his father, Bert. They later reconciled and Richards often took him out on the road with the Stones.

Bert died in 2002 at age 84. His mother, Doris Dupree, is still alive at age 87.

By his own admission, Richards has done all kinds of illegal drugs and he is rarely seen in public without a cigarette in his thin lips, a vodka bottle in hand and a bandana around his head.

Richards' rep for living on the edge was cemented in the public consciousness with stories about how he needed blood transfusions to shake his heroin habit.

Unlike reformed rockers such as Eric Clapton, who turned pious when they straightened out, Richards joked about using drugs "responsibly."

"A nice fix at breakfast, one for elevenses and another one at teatime - it was like breaks at the cricket or something," he said in one interview.

But Richards, who co-wrote rock classics like "Satisfaction" and "Honky Tonk Women" with Mick Jagger, nearly messed up his obituary with an uncool death last year when he fell out of a coconut tree in Fiji.

Richards clonked himself in the head so badly he needed surgery to relieve the swelling on his brain. The mishap forced the Stones to postpone several European shows.

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