The legendary British artist opened up about his infamous performance in a new memoir titled “Me,” out on Oct. 15. The 72-year-old recalled the Colorado gig, in which he was supposed to join the band just for a rendition of “Honky Tonk Women.” However, he ended up staying for the remainder of their set — while high on cocaine.
In an excerpt recently published by UK’s Daily Mail, John admitted that if he hadn't been under the influence, “I might have just performed ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ waved to the crowd and made my exit.”
But that's not how things went.
“I decided it was going so well, I’d stay on and jam along to the rest of their set, without first taking the precaution of asking the Stones if they wanted an auxiliary keyboard player,” wrote John. “For a while, I thought Keith Richards kept staring at me because he awestruck by the brilliance of my improvised contributions to their oeuvre.”
“After a few songs, it finally penetrated my brain that the expression on his face wasn’t really suggestive of profound musical appreciation,” added John.
According to John, he “quickly scuttled off, noting as I went that Keith was still staring at me in a manner that suggested we’d be discussing this later, and decided it might be best if I didn’t hang around for the after-show party.”
“But there was something more to cocaine than the way it made me feel,” he continued. “Cocaine had a certain cachet about it. It was fashionable and exclusive. Doing it was like becoming a member of an elite little clique that secretly indulged in something edgy, dangerous and illicit. Pathetically enough, that really appealed to me. I’d become successful and popular, but I never felt cool.”
In the autobiography, John shared that he finally checked into a Chicago hospital in 1990 in an effort toward “being treated for three addictions at once: cocaine, alcohol and food.”
John not only made progress toward his sobriety, but he learned to do tasks that had fallen by the wayside due to his debilitating addictions.
“[I] got to the stage where I shaved and I wiped my a—, and paid other people to do everything else for me,” wrote John. “I had no idea how to work a washing machine and had to ask another patient, Peggy, to show me. After she realized I wasn’t joking, she was helpful, but that didn’t change the fact that I was a 43-year-old man who didn’t know how to clean his own clothes.”