Keith RichardsAs I View Him

 
Keith Richards’ Wife Patti Hansen & Their Children

 

Keith Richards’ Wife Patti Hansen & Their Children:
Theodora (left) & Alexandra (right)

Patti Hansen was born in Staten Island New York, and was a model for Calvin Klein and Revlon. Patti was “discovered” at a Rolling Stones concert in 1975. She met Richards around 1980 and is also known for keeping the company of Anita Pallenberg. Richards and Hansen were married on December 18, 1983 (Keith’s 40th birthday) in Cabo San Lucas at the Finisterra Hotel. The ceremony was filmed by Julien Temple.

Keith RichardsAs I View Him

 
 
Yup. Keith Richards definitely looks like Jack Sparrow's dad.
 Yup. Keith Richards definitely looks like Jack Sparrow’s dad.
Photograph by : Jason Payne, The Province
  
  
I have had the distinct pleasure of being in this man’s company on more than one occasion. He is real, he is cool, he is generous with his time when people request autographs or photographic opportunities he does oblige with complete enthusiasm.
 
It is amazing to see how people will approach him, and how he will respond. Often times they act like they know him and approach in a quite forward demeanor. Nothing rankles Richards, he throws his arm around one of the “blokes” and hangs on the chap like he is his long lost best pal.
 
On one memorable afternoon and evening we shared a jet flight returning to New York from the island of Antigua. It so happened our seats were in close proximity. Along to my Right hand side was Keith’s Mother in Law, Mrs. Hansen, and as this was in the late 80’s, his daughters were toddlers.His wife Patti was also there in the same group of seats. Keith was deeply absorbed in reading some rather heavy philosophical treatise, along the lines of probably “The Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes…in front of him were always one Heineken and a brandy.
When we arrived in New York and disembarked I distinctly remember Dad emphasizing to the little ones that they must carry some of their belongings because he was not going to carry it all. As kids always have, at least in those pre 9/11 days, ample supplies of toys and must have items.
 
As we approached the Customs area, everyone except Keith went under the portal that was indicated for U.S. Citizens. Patti Hansen, her Mom and the two little ones, Theodora and Alexandra and myself went through the U.S. gate. We met up with Keith on the other side by the baggage carousel.
 
This is the most telling part of this otherwise rather unexciting vignette.
 
As the carousel was beginning to disgorge the various pieces of luggage, Keith was intently conversing with a middle aged woman in a wheel chair who seemed to be perplexed and anxious as to how to recover her luggage and Keith was carefully explaining how it worked and looking for the bags she had described.  I distinctly recall thinking that this woman had no real idea who Richards was, but there were at least half a dozen other travelers who could not resist the moment to have a photo taken with a living legend. He obliged one and all, autographs, and even those that were obviously acting in a way under the effects of long flights with many cocktails. He was extraordinarily patient and cordial.
 
After everyone had their luggage, some people from the airline appeared to ask Keith if everything was OK, and he explained to me that they do that because he is always flying in and out of there, Kennedy International. I guess..so. Mrs. Hansen hads remarked more than once on the flight how incredibly hard working her son in law was, and how he was constantly having to travel. She said she had no idea at all how he keeps up his non stop pace. 
 
Finally, Keith made it absolutely clear to me that he had several transports at his disposal outside of the terminal, and if I was in need of transportation into the city, I should simply jump in and ride along into Manhattan.
I explained to Keith that my sister was there to collect me, but his entire vibe was sincere and humble and normal, his shoes were beat up and wearing through, kind of pointed toe half boots.
 
The only concession to affluence , if you will, would have been a killer solid gold Cartier Panther Watch, and a bracelet on the other wrist. And finally, the signature ring of human skull sitting rather unmistakably large on his finger.
 
This guy is a musician thru and thru from beginning to end.
 
He lives his life with what I observed to be a very sincere concern for people around him.
 
The Rolling Stones tour because they love to entertain, and I would suggest that in many ways the group derives every bit as much from going out on stage every nite as their audiences do from watching them perform.
 
Keith Richards is one of a kind, someone I admire and respect. He is in a class by himself in so far as survivability is concerned. His life has progressed through so many levels and so many distinct forms of cultural and historical periods, that I believe he has been born with an innate ability to distill it all down to a point where now he would be amazing as a philosophy professor at one of any number institutions of higher learning.
 
As for now his record setting tour and music will serve as an awesome demonstration of the power, talent, gifts and strength of one of the greatest entertainers of modern times. And moreover, a loving, kind , gentle and generous man.
 
 
God Bless You Keith, May you Live Forever.
 
 
Michael P. Whelan
Las Vegas, October 22, 2006
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One Response to “Keith RichardsAs I View Him”

  1. Danny Says:

    A very touching inside look. Thank you

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