June 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM ET
Rocker Keith Richards opens up about his drug use in the July issue of Men's Journal. In the story, the Rolling Stone guitarist says he never felt substances affected his playing, but thought of his use more as an experiment that eventually reached its endpoint.
"I looked upon the body as a laboratory -- I used to throw in this chemical and then that one to see what would happen; I was intrigued by that," Richards said. "What one would work against another; I've got a bit of alchemist in me that way. But all experiments must come to an end."
Giving up the drugs was not a real issue, Richards said. "With the smack, I knew: 'I've got to stop now, or I'm going to go in for hard time,'" he said. "The cocaine I quit because I fell on my head! (Richards underwent brain surgery after falling out of a palm tree in Fiji in 2006.) Due to that -- no more coke. Actually, my body tells me when to stop ... the hard way."
Richards told the magazine he and frontman Mick Jagger have a "smooth" relationship, even though Jagger was "annoyed" at some of how he was depicted in Richards' 2010 memoir, "Life."
"it's like two very volatile brothers," Richards said. "When they clash, they really clash, but when it's over, it's over because we both know we need each other; we both enjoy working with each other."
The rocker also discussed his personal life, saying he's busy reading a book called "Great British Battles" and enjoying his two French bulldogs. He and wife Patti are adjusting to an empty nest in their Connecticut home after their two children moved out. Richards also has two older adult children with his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, and admits they had to "grow up on the lam" since he was on the road for much of their childhood.
"It was a unique upbringing, unique circumstances," he said. "There's no guidebook on how to bring up a kid when you're a junkie rock & roll star."
Richards will turn 70 in December, and says age doesn't bother him. "If I had a secret, I'd bottle it maybe," he admitted. "I just happen to be here. Just string it, and play it low."