Keith Richards and former Rolling Stones cover artist Ruby Mazur get in on the NFT craze - for charity

Keith Richards
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Critics might loathe NFTs for their massive environmental impact, but Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has announced his first NFT endorsement - as part of an auction for Grammys-associated music charity MusiCares, which supports music industry professionals by offering "confidential preventive, recovery, and emergency programs to address financial, medical, and personal health issues."

Teaming with OneOf - a company that specialises in creating eco-friendly NFTs for musicians, self-described as a "revolutionary, eco-conscious NFT platform" - Richards will be auctioning a signed black Gibson ES-335 electric-acoustic guitar, alongside an associated NFT of the guitar itself which includes a four-second video of him signing it "as a sign of authenticity".

OneOf co-founder Adam Fell discussed collaborating with the guitarist in a statement. “We are honored to be the platform to mint the first-ever Keith Richards NFT,” Fell said. “Keith is music royalty and we applaud him and his team for championing eco-friendly blockchain technology that can empower musicians for generations to come.”

The auction is set to take place via Julien's Auctions in Beverley Hills and online on January 30th at 1pm Pacific Time (around 9pm GMT). The auction was originally intended to take place the day before the 64th Annual Grammy Awards celebration, but the awards have been postponed as of January 5th due to "coronavirus-related concerns".  

Richards joins a growing list of notable musicians and bands getting involved with NFTs including Ozzy Osbourne, Rammstein, Slipknot and BabyMetal. Though this is Richards' first NFT, it isn't the first Stones-associated charity NFT. In December, artist Ruby Mazur announced a line of over 5,000 AI-generated NFTs based on the art for the band's 1971 Tumbling Dice album. Sold via the Cosmic Wire website, 15% of overall the proceeds are set to go to cancer charity FCancer, with four “Super Rare FCancer” NFTs seeing 100% of the sale donated to the charity.

Mazur was initially diagnosed with brain cancer in 2020 and told he had six months to live, but had subsequently been informed by doctors that his tumor had subsided in summer 2021. The artist was recently diagnosed with throat cancer and is expected to undergo treatment in the near future. While undergoing treatment, Mazur worked on NFT designs based on his past work, with a piece based on the iconic 'Mouth and Tongue' design selling for $1.1 million US dollars in July 2021. 

Mazur previously attempted to sue Stones' singer Mick Jagger over trademarks of the famous 'lips and tongue' image used on the Tumbling Dice cover. Sources are unclear on precisely who created the design - some suggesting it was British art designer John Pasche, others attributing it to Mazur. 

The Rolling Stones played a secret, intimate club show at Ronnie Scott's in London in December, paying tribute to iconic drummer Charlie Watts, who died last year aged 80. The band celebrate their 60th anniversary in 2022, with Royal Mail issuing a stamp collection to commemorate the band. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.