Thursday, May 11, 2006

Outta his tree

"Time is on my side," Mick Jagger tells us in the song of the same name, and for 40-odd years Jagger and his band the Rolling Stones have lived out that adage. In the world of modern music, the sound of the Rolling Stones has been the rock of ages.

Increasingly, though, the Stones' music has been the rock of the aged, with its two principal creative talents, Jagger and guitarist/songwriter/walking medical exhibit Keith Richards, pushing retirement age (not that "retirement age" will mean anything to them when they get there).

When you're 62 years old, as Richards is, there's certain things you probably can't do as well as when you scorched the earth in your twenties, or your thirties. Or your forties. For Richards, one of these things, apparently, is the act of climbing a tree.

Richards was injured in this way on April 27 while vacationing in Fiji. News reports from various sources have variously stated that he either fell out of a palm tree or off a Jet Ski. One Web site,, reported that the accident was believed to have occurred at the exclusive Wakaya Club resort.

But then it got serious. After injuring his head in the tumble, Richards was taken to the Ascot Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, for brain surgery. Clearly there was concern that something heavy was afoot.

Richards reportedly had headaches after the incident, said his London publicists, who refused to comment on a report in a New Zealand paper that the surgery was to relieve a subdural hematoma -- a blood clot on the brain.

It got heavier still. There were ominous reports that a second operation was necessary after Richards passed out and continued suffering headaches. “Keith Richards did not undergo a second operation. The first and only operation was done on Monday, May 8, and was 100 percent successful,” said a statement from the band. “There was no brain damage ...”

(That last statement has occasioned a lot of wags to ask the inevitable question: How could they tell? But we'll let that go for now.)

The bottom line for now is, apparently, all's well that ends well. The Stones' "Bigger Bang" tour dates have been rescheduled for July and, at this writing, Keith Richards continues to walk upright among us, still on this side of the clouds. A good thing. But next time, though, considering his net worth (estimated at around $300 million), when Keith wants to climb a tree of promises, maybe he'll hire someone to do it for him.
Image credit: Machocarioca (Public domain)

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