Sunday, April 14, 2024

Keith Richards on John Phillips: “I’ve Never Seen a Guy Become a Junkie That Quick”


The sad story of Mamas and Papas songwriter/creator John Phillips never ends.

Phillips died a broken man, completely crippled by drugs. His eldest daugher, MacKenzie, also a drug addict, accused him last year of molesting her.

Both Phillips and his ex wife, Michelle, wrote books about their brief time together in the mid to late 1960s as pop’s golden couple.

Now Keith Richards explains in his memoir how Phillips got hooked on drugs. It was Richards’ fault, and he takes responsibility for it.

The year was 1976. Phillips, his wife Genevieve Waite, and their son Tamerlane were living in London. Rolling Stones Records had already been enlisted for Phillips’ comeback record. (It was released in 2001, after Phillips died, and it was atrocious.)

“Phillips was amazing,” Keith writes. “I’ve never known anybody to be so hooked on dope so quick, and I had something to do with it. The night Ronnie [Wood] was leaving the Wick, John had called me up and said, “I’ve got a bottle of this stuff called Merck. And he said, Does anybody have some use for it? I don’t do that stuff.” I said I would drop by on my way out of Ronnie’s…[at Phillips’] I went into the john and shot up…When I came out, John said, What were you doing? I said, John, it’s called smack….So I shot him up, in the muscle.

“I always felt responsible for John because I turned him on to smack. Within a week, he’s got a pharmacy under control, and he’s become a dealer. I’ve never seen a guy become a junkie that quick.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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