Illustration Graham Roumieu
Just before dinner at the Lotus Restaurant bar, a cozy open- air pagoda at the exquisite retreat on Parrot Cay, in Turks & Caicos, three thirtysomething doctors are discussing insurance coverage of MRIs versus CAT scans. Then a much older man with salty, matted gray hair, his tanned skin as beaten up and lined as an old saddle, enters, accompanied by a stunning blonde.
The doctors stop talking. One whispers, “Is that Keith Richards?”
Indeed it is. The grizzled guitarist from the Rolling Stones is here with his wife of 27 years, Patti Hansen. This languorous and luxurious cay is Richards’ winter redoubt, and his villa shares beachfront with Christie Brinkley, Bruce Willis and Donna Karan. And he can be found at this bar on any given night chatting amiably over drinks with visitors.
“Oh, he’s very kind and very funny, and he thinks he’s a pirate,” says a resort employee recently arrived from Malaysia, who had never heard of him before she got to Parrot Cay. “I was at his villa and I heard him playing guitar and said to him, ‘You play guitar very beautifully, Mister Richards.’ He said thank you. As I later learned, evidently he is a very legendary musician.”
A few people mingle at the bar, and a friend finally arrives. “Hello, love,” Richards says, digging into a hamburger (no bun). The topic of late-night TV comes up. Jay and Conan both have their supporters.
“Now I really liked Johnny,” Hansen says.
“Yeah. ‘Heeeeere’s Johnny!’” Richards rasps. “That guy was flash. Real class.”—MIKE GUY