updated 10/05/2006 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/05/2006 AT 3:20 PM ET
Keith Richards was sitting on a tree stump – not climbing a palm tree – when he hit his head while vacationing in Fiji in April, he says.
“It’s embarrassing, really,” the Rolling Stones guitarist, 62, tells Rolling Stone magazine in its new issue. “I was sitting on this gnarled shrub about six feet off the ground. I was wet – I’d been swimming. I hit the ground the wrong way, my head hit the trunk, and that was that.”
Calling the April 27 incident “just a little stumble along the way,” Richards, no stranger to hard living, added, “It’s not the first brush with death I’ve had. I guess what I learned is, don’t sit in trees anymore.”
As a result of his fall, Richards suffered a concussion and was flown 1,300 miles to New Zealand, where he underwent surgery to relieve a blood clot on his brain.
He was discharged from Ascot Hospital in Auckland on May 11 and continued to receive outpatient treatment there, according to his rep. He then repaired to his home in Connecticut for further rest.
Finally, in early June, Richards posted on the Stones’ Web site: “Excuse me, I fell off of my perch! Sorry to disrupt everyone’s plans but now – it’s FULL STEAM AHEAD! Ouch!!”
Richards’s condition had forced the postponement of the European leg of the Stones’ “Bigger Bang” world tour, which began 13 months ago. The North American portion – in smaller cities, such as Wednesday’s stop in Missoula, Mont. – has just been launched, Reuters reports.
The group’s rep also says that the Stones will take a break from playing stadiums later this month when they perform two shows at New York City’s relatively intimate Beacon Theatre, for which tickets will be only $50 and $35.