Confession: I’ve been spending my nights with Keith Richards

Keith Richards book cover Life.08-10

It starts around midnight–I settle in under the duvet, adjust the lamplight, take a sip of water. Then I flip open the page.

We’re currently in the middle of ’76. Richards has brought his seven-year-old son, Marlon, on tour through Europe–the two of them drive to the gigs, Marlon holding the map, Richards at the wheel. Marlon has been instructed to tell his dad when they’re 15 clicks away from the borders. Then it’s time to pull over, so Richards can “have a shot.” (After, he either dumps or re-sorts his stash, before crossing into the next country.) His heroin habit is very, very bad by this point in “Life,” but it never stops him from missing a show–though sometimes he arrives three hours late. He’s also taken to sleeping with a gun under his pillow.

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THE NINE~Stars Keyboardist Chris Seligman on Band Personalities, His Pre-Show Rituals, and the Biggest Lesson He’s Learned in the Industry

Chris Seligman

Photo screencap from Are We Here Now–documentary of Stars’ Set Yourself on Fire tour. (From luxecalmvolupte on flickr.)


Before blowing on his first french horn in a 7th-grade music class in Toronto, Chris Seligman–keyboardist and french horn player for the Canadian Indie Pop group Stars–had no interest in music. But his natural gift for the instrument was noticed by his aging and eccentric teacher, who recruited him to join four other students in a brass quintet.

By his twenties, Chris’s skills had expanded to the keyboards, and in 1999 in Brooklyn, NYC he began working on the first Stars record with childhood friend and vocalist Torquil Campbell. Since then, the five-member group (singer-guitarist Amy Millan, bassist Evan Cranley, and drummer Pat McGee, with Campbell and Seligman) has recorded six albums and been nominated for two Juno Awards and two Polaris Music Prizes. Their newest work The North was released in September 2012, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you should find it now because it’s beautiful.

I met Chris on a Wednesday night early last November, in the band room of Portland’s Aladdin Theatre, where Stars had just finished performing for a packed room full of fans. In the midst of sipping whiskey and chatting about life on the road, I asked if he’d be open to doing an interview with me for THE NINE. And here we are! Chris spoke to me on the phone from Montreal earlier this month.

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