Life by Keith Richards with James Fox
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2010
I received this one as a gift, am handing it to Mr G to read, and then will pass it along to a friend. The Rolling Stones headlined the second rock and roll concert I ever went to. I had to read this book. It is a wild ride.
Keith Richards writes in a very loose and conversational style, as if he is sitting across from you, sharing his stories. He tells of his beginnings, of how he started playing music and of how he hooked up with Mick Jagger. How they formed The Rolling Stones, how the band evolved and found its own style, and lots of stories about their recording and traveling.
It’s very hard to explain all the excessive partying. You didn’t say, OK, we’re going to have a party tonight. It just happened. It was a search for oblivion, I suppose, though not intentionally. Being in a band, you’re cooped up a lot, and the more famous you get the more of a prison you find yourself in. The convolutions you go through just not to be you for a few hours. From page 329.
Richards has a lot to say about playing and writing music, about his creative style and the dynamics of being in a band. He started out with a very clear idea of the music he wanted to play. He does include plenty of gossip, stories and warnings about drugs, tales of wild parties and famous people. He shows a deep understanding of the times the Stones were part of and has great respect and love for his friends, fellow musicians, and his family. He is grateful that he managed to survive everything he put his body through.
Keith Richards is very lucky guy, the fact that he is still with us is kind of amazing and his book is great fun to read. I have never read a rock and roll memoir and wasn’t sure what to expect. Richards has done a wonderful job with Life. The next memoir on my list has to be Just Kids by Patti Smith.