HAPPY KEEF! Keith Richards Krusher Print
Krusher Signed and Numbered Limited Edition of 250
30″ x 20″ (76 x 51cm)
Print + Shipping: UK £110, Europe Zones 1/2/3 £115, Rest Of The World £118
Royal Mail tracked & signed delivery in a sturdy and secure postal tube
Originally designed by Krusher in the 1970’s, now cleaned up and retouched and in a limited edition of 250 prints, it’s so good even Keef himself has one on his wall in his New York apartment!
So let’s begin at the beginning!!! My mum turned me on to the Rolling Stones when she bought ’19th Nervous Breakdown’ way back in 1966, and played it repeatedly and LOUDLY on my dad’s bollock kicking sound system!!! Thinking back on that time she might well have related to that song, it wasn’t the best of times, but fuck that bollockery, I was liking what I heard, I became a fan, I made them part of my life, I was 12.
Fast forwarding to the mid 70s, I was still loving the Rolling Stones, but ‘Exile On Main St’ had really got into my veins, a bit like the smack in Keef’s whilst recording it, and I fuckin’ loved it BIG TIME!!!! I also loved KEEF BIG TIME! For fucks sake he was THE rock star that rock stars wanted to be!! When it was released I was at Goldsmiths College Of Art, London studying fine art (the fuckers failed me…sigh), and as a statement of art inspired by the man I remember spray painting KEEF on the wall of the stairs that led to my second floor council flat on the Crossfields Estate, Deptford. It was ART at its finest!!. I fuckin’ loved that album and still do!!! Whenever I’m feeling a bit down that fucker goes on and calm is restored.
However, there was one track on that album that meant so much to to me, and that was a Jagger/Richards composition called “HAPPY”, recorded at the Villa Nellcôte in southern France in the summer of 1971, and according to Keef, “We did that in an afternoon, in only four hours, cut and done. At noon it had never existed. At four o’clock it was on tape”, I think he might be getting ‘noon’ mixed up with ‘midnight’, but what I loved even more was the fact that Keef sang it! So that song is without a doubt the soul of this piece. “HAPPY KEEF” was set in motion. Where the dayglo pink came from, fuck, I can only imagine that the drugs had kicked in big time. Dayglo pink, for fucks sake! HAAAAAAAAARGH!!! The music in the background is the sheet music for the song.
I think I did the original artwork for this in 1976, and please don’t ask me to try and explain how the original was done because it was, and still is one of the most ridiculous and tedious way of creating art! Instead of paint, brushes, pencils etc, my chosen weapons consisted of a Rotring pen, magic crayons, tracing paper, Letrafilm (Google it), scalpels, LOTS of drugs and a steady hand!!! I’ve included a picture of the original, as well as a close up of it before I had it scanned and then cleaned it up in Photoshop.
So I hear you asking “where did the picture of Keef actually come from?”. Well back then there were many pictures of Keef that inspired me, usually taken by the legendary Annie Liebovitz, but eventually I found the one that I really liked, and surprise, surprise it was by the legendary Annie Leibovitz, taken straight after the Stones had played their Los Angeles performance, July 1975, I decided this was the picture of Keef that I wanted to use as part of the piece. I can’t remember why I flipped the pic.
Then we come to the rockets, again I can’t remember where the rocket came from, but I’m pretty sure that it was from a comic, the colours and drop shadows were inspired by another hero of mine, the artist Fred Fowle, considered to be the master painter of all things related to funfairs. Whilst still at Goldsmiths I phoned Fred and asked him if I could visit his studio in Battersea and he kindly agreed, absolutely mind blowing, stunning pieces taken from funfair rides, either waiting to go back out on the road or waiting to be given Fred’s magical touch.
The final part was choosing a size. I knew I wanted to go big, and it just had to be the classic 20″ x 30″ that had been so perfect in the old days of pinning posters on your wall.
So that’s the story of the print, but let me tell you the tale of how Keef now has one hanging on the wall of his New York apartment.
Just before Covid struck I went to watch my old mates The Quireboys at The Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham, and was delighted to find out that Alan Clayton, best mates with Keef, was tour managing them. I’d known Alan since the late 80’s when I used to live in London and go and watch his band The Dirty Strangers, in fact it was at a Dirty Strangers gig that I met Keef, had some 100% pharmaceutical cocaine, clinked glasses with Ronnie Wood, talked about cricket with Keef’s dad Bert and Spike from The Quireboys asked Keef if he’d produce their next album, i think he politely declined and we’ll leave that story for another day.
Back to that night in Cheltenham, as I say Alan was Keef’s mate, so I asked him if he was still in contact with him, which of course he was, I then asked if I gave him 3 of my “HAPPY KEEF” prints would he be able to give one to Keef, get one signed to me and for his efforts keep one for himself, he assured me he would do his best. So I post the prints to him and the fuckin’ plague 2020 desends from the heavens, the world gets a bit of a reality slap in the face, things go weird and Alan gets in touch to say that obviously everything was now on hold and we left it at that.
I think maybe after a year he made contact again and said that it was all still on hold, so we chewed the breeze for a while, said our goodbyes and I forgot all about it. It wasn’t until Stonedead Festival in 2022 where I was mc’ing, saying fuck a lot onstage, and having a chilled five minutes backstage when someone messages me. I take a swig of my beer, look at the phone and see it’s a message from Alan, open it up and my jaw falls to the floor, it’s a picture of Alan and a very happy looking KEEF, holding my print up in Redlands.
According to Alan it was well received and his wife Patti liked it so much that she proclaimed it would look very nice hanging in their New York apartment, RESULT!!! Keef signed number 4 for me, Alan got it back to me safely, and it now hangs on the wall with the Keef pic beneath it. HAPPY DAZE!!!!!