'We owned the interview in the mag for about two hours'

“Mark Beaumont did the interview the night of the IPC awards. Mark, who’d been stuck in a corner trying to have a [phone] conversation with Keith while the award ceremony was taking place, came back and said “You’re never going to believe what he said…”

Everyone got drunk, and in our hungover state the next day we decided to make a big noise on the cover. Our press office put out a press release advertising the fact that we had this great interview. Both the Sun and the Mirror picked it up and the news wires were buzzing. The next morning was ridiculous – the story took on a life of its own.

We were trying to sell magazines and talking about the story on NME.com, but Metro had decided to publish the entire section of the transcript we’d put in the press release, therefore running more of the content than we were.

We had to run the entire text of the interview that the world was talking about on NME.com as soon as possible. We figured if we didn’t do it, somebody would be literally typing it on from the issue which was then on sale.

We owned that interview exclusively in the magazine for about two hours before we were forced into a position where we had to publish it online because everybody else was doing it.

The coverage then accelerated – it got interesting when America woke up.

Somebody let Disney know very quickly that Keith Richards, [star of this summer’s Disney blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean 3] was all over the press. The Disney Corporation started briefing against us almost immediately. We started getting calls wanting confirmation on what we were going to do with the story and asking our help in making it all go away – which obviously we were not about to do.

There’s been quite a concerted campaign to paint Keith’s comment as a joke of some kind.

I’ve had long conversations with Mark and there was no hint that this was the gag in among all the great stuff that he was telling us. They couldn’t dispute that he said it, so all they could do was start to talk about tone of voice.

Since then Keith has put out a press release, which you could see the hand of Disney all over, saying he didn’t snort his f a t h e r ‘ s ashes and in fact what he did was put them in a shoe box and plant an oak tree over them. This is Keith Richards.

What do you think is more likely out of those two scenarios?”

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