Sunday, January 09, 2011


So, I read Keith Richards' bio, Life, in keeping with my current fascination about rock stars I grew up listening to. I mean, The Stones. Still playing together, at least now and then. How many groups have that kind of longevity in rock? 

If he doesn't reveal all the warts, Richards does offer some candid shots of a life mostly on the razored edge of disaster, and he talks about groupies and dope and Mick, and ranges all over the rock 'n' roll map. Busted here, busted there, the professional arguments, the women and kids, and oh, by the way, No, he didn't get his blood completely exchanged, thank you very much, it was a fuckin' joke, okay ... ?

The band surely got around, and still does. So, too, Keith, with and without Sir Mick. A thing Richards still hasn't forgiven Jagger for, by the by, accepting that. We're a fuckin' blues band who hit it big in rock -- a knighthood? Gimme a fuckin' break!

We all knew what a bad boy he was -- his life shows on his face, doesn't it? -- and all about the heroin and coke and assorted pharmaceuticals he downed by the barrel for most of his days. How many times he went cold turkey. Falling out of trees. 

And how he is clean now -- been off dope for years  ... 

Let's be honest here: One might be excused for not being absolutely convinced of that claim. Uh huh. Right, Keef. 

Richards details how they wrote songs, the recording sessions, and who played which instrument when. He gives a lot of credit to other folks where he sees it is due, and that includes his love/hate relationship with Jagger. On this page, Keef says Mick is a control freak and jealous of any relationship Keef has; on the next page, they are mates, brothers, and nobody is more talented than Mick Fuckin' Jagger ...

John Lennon couldn't hold his liquor or his drugs, Keef says, though he kept trying to keep up. 

Good luck with keeping up with Keef's consumption. Apparently one of the only guys who did more dope than Richards was Gram Parsons -- I reviewed his biography here -- and he ODed at twenty-six. Keef, who looks other than dirt -- he's only four years old than I am -- is still here ...

The biggest surprise is how smart Richards comes across. He's a book-reader, and even though he had help writing the bio, some of the stuff he talks about reveals that he is a bright fellow, and more talented than I had realized, Mick was the front man -- still is -- but Keef did his part, and it wasn't just playing the guitar.

Fat book, and not so exciting that I didn't fall asleep reading it a couple times late at night. If you are a Stones' fan, you pretty much have to read it to get his hit on things.

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