Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: Life by Keith Richards

I broke my own unwritten rule and bought "Keef's" autobiography brand spanking new. It was worth it, not that Keef needs the money. The man has had more escapes than a tomcat but based on recent photos, he does not look very healthy and may not get to enjoy my $25.

Born in Dartford in 1943, he grew up poor and was introduced to American music by his mother at an early age. He met Mick Jagger in 1959 and the rest is history. Most interesting is his take on the demise of Brian Jones (delusional, misogynist) and the scheming / conniving antics of Jagger (secret record deals, playing Stones songs on solo tour). Richards pulls no punches, yet is very reverential towards drummer Charlie Watts but oddly has very little to say about Bill Wyman.

There are several funny anecdotes. My favorite: the time he was in a French recording studio and had passed out under the console with a stash of drugs. When he came to, the local police brass band were in the studio recording their music. Keef somehow eluded the gendarmes and escaped the studio unmolested... Other episodes involve the time he stayed awake for a week... his fathers ashes... and all the car crashes.

Guitar fans will no doubt be enthralled by some of his insights on five string blues and song construction. Reading the book inspired me to listen to Exile on Main Street over and over for about five days straight. Great album, great book, Keef.

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