…or Life by Keith Richards and James Fox. I read this little gem over the holiday season. (Well OK little‘s probably not the right word here. I received the hard backed edition from my eldest daughter (Emily) and it’s not what you’d call pocket sized, even if you’re wearin’ combat pants! ;o)
It was actually the better half that originally got me into reading biographies. Tho’ our tastes, in terms of whose sordid past to delve into, varies; I have found it a relaxing (and often inspiring) alternative to the usual murder mysteries I’d been digesting.
Given a love of music and an overwhelming desire to relax, most of the biographies I’ve attempted have been fairly light weight (by the wife’s standards). Among those I’ve read and enjoyed; I’d recommend: Broken Music (by Sting), Chronicles: Volume One (by Bob Dylan), Slash (by Slash & Anthony Bozza) and Eric Clapton: The Autobiography. All of ’em crackin’ good reads.
I must admit that I own more CDs by these guys, than I do by Keef’n’the boys. Plus, I picked up the other books out of a sense of awe; having struggled to get my fingers around some of their compositions on a guitar.
Not to suggest that Keith is a lesser musician or composer you understand. Merely that the scales were tipped more to curiosity in his case. (Keith’s often been more prominent due to bad press and a penchant for medicinal candy). As Denis Leary put it on No Cure For Cancer: there’s no drugs left for anybody else ‘cos Keith Richards already did ’em all. Yeh, yeh…Slash and Clapton were no angels either; but I think I’d be standing behind Keef if a fight broke out ;o)
I always find it interesting to trace a character from humble beginnings, through adversity & frustration and on to ultimate (and well deserved) success. Plus, see how that person copes with the riches, life-style and temptations that fame can bring. Keith’s biography was no exception in this respect. It was interesting to catch a glimpse behind the urban myths. To learn about his family influences, his musical tastes, his out-look on life…(the A-Z on Cpt. Jack Sparrow’s old man, as it were).
Despite the jealousies that can arise between the haves and the have-nots of this world; it is at least gratifying, to Joe Publics such as myself, that celebrities have such a full and interesting life story to relate. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read a biography penned by yours truly. (“Jan 6th: ate lasagna for dinner, then veg’d on the sofa and watched Grey’s Anatomy with the wife” ;o)
With Keith, I’m kinda gob-smacked at how much he’s managed to fit into one life-time. (Even tho’ he seems to have slept thru’ very little of it…and he’s as old as the hills). The book gives an impression of a really down to earth character. And whilst I’m sure he enjoys the freedom and choices that wealth now affords him. I still get an overwhelming feeling that he enjoys composing and performing (especially with some of his boyhood heroes) more.
As I say, the book was written by Keith Richards and James Fox. So, as usual, one wonders how much of the language is of Keith’s choosing and how much is influenced by Fox. But either way, it read well and I could imagine Keith on the other side of a coffee table. Kind of like an interview, but with all the questions (and cheap shots) edited out.
The use of Keefisms here and there, coupled with quotes from other people (perhaps to substantiate his story), helped the narrative flow. And for somebody who enjoys reading, but never finds the time; I actually finished this one kinda sharpish. So that’s gotta count for something.
As intimated, I’m not a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s nice to see a guy with a chance to: set the record straight, share what makes him tick and get a few things off his chest whilst he’s at it.
Unlike an interview, you’d guess a biography would be self-edited to avoid facts & opinions being mis-communicated. Most of the ranting Keith does should be taken in the context of what was playing out at the time. But I’m sure some people will still mis-read, take offense or blow some of it out of proportion.
Having said all that; I’d guess Keith is the kinda guy who really wouldn’t give a toss ;o)