Saturday, January 01, 2011

Life by Keith Richards


Don't know if he actually wrote a word of it, but the stories ring true, and the voice is the half-annoying, ribald, arrogant Keith Richards voice. A lot of the background social history for the fifties and sixties doesn't sound like him, and there's a lot of "it was my idea first, then Mick's" language around individual song compositions.

Here's a typical infuriating passage about his friendship with American saxophonist Bobby Keys:

'You have to ask Bobby Keys how big Texas is. It took me thirty years to convince him that Texas was actually just a huge landgrab by Sam Houston and Stephen Austin. "No fucking way. How dare you!" He's red in the face. So I laid a few books on him about what actually happened between Texas and Mexico, and six months later he says, "Your case seems to have some substance." I know the feeling, Bob. I used to believe that Scotland Yard was lily-white.'

Just not really believable, any of it. And the voice is ridiculous. Or this passage, allegedly from a notebook of song ideas and sketches that Richards kept during the mid-1960s:

JUKE JOINT... ALABAMA? GEORGIA?
Finally I'm in my element! An incredible band is wailing on a stage decorated with phosphorescent paint, the dance floor is moving as one, so does the sweat and the ribs cooking out back. The only thing that makes me stand out is that I'm white! Wonderfully, no one notices this aberration. I am accepted, I'm made to feel so warm. I am in heaven!

Still, a delish thing to read, impossible to put down.

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