Rolling Stones star Keith Richards was forbidden to speak to celebrated British journalist BARNEY HOSKYNS about his friendship with Tom Waits - by the gravel-voiced singer himself.
Hoskyns was researching Waits for his new book Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits when he approached rocker Richards and was delighted when the Stone agreed to be interviewed.
The writer reveals, "Tom and his wife asked Keith not to speak to me... I just don't think they want anyone to know too much about Tom Waits. They don't want any major revelations creeping out.
"He's the pre-eminent cult figure of our time, a maverick who cannot be categorised and his whole persona is a screen Waits hide behind. He's fascinating and perhaps we don't need to know too much about him."
But, from the 70-plus interviews Hoskyns conducted for the new unauthorised expose, he learned that Waits could well be responsible in some way for the Rolling Stones' longevity.
The writer adds, "Steve Jordan, who was Keith's drummer in The Expensive Winos told me that Keith was creatively spent in the mid-1980s and it was Waits' records that inspired him to go off and do solo work - and that fuelled his work with the Stones."
Hoskyns launches his much-anticipated new Waits biography in Los Angeles on Friday (15May09) with a book signing at the Mr. Musichead Gallery.