Life by Keith RichardsKeith Richards was a clever kid, a talented artist, a choirboy who sang for the Queen and became an outstanding musician in one of the worlds best bands. What is most on display in this book is his tremendous interest in music and musicians, not in rock, bands, money and fame - a lot of which he finds a bit of a pain but to be endured because that goes with the job. If you arent fairly knowledgeable about music, blues in particular, there is going to be a lot of this book you are going to want to skip.
What is also interesting is his drug use. We never hear the ins and outs of being a tremendously successful heroin junkie. No, the spin is always on those poor street people who will steal their own mothers wedding ring for the next fix as they are quite beyond work. Richards enjoys his drugs a lot and tells us exactly what it feels like to be high on them and how it helped his work. His main supplier is his best friend and partner in crime, the very flamboyant Freddie Sessler, a holocaust survivor and (handily) owner of pharmacies so he could supply medical grade cocaine and heroin, who travelled along with the Stones. There were other dealers to ensure that when the band arrived at their tour date, the drugs would be ready and waiting, always a difficult time for a junkie.
The antics of the UK and especially US law enforcement officers to catch, entrap, imprison and get the Stones banned are hilarious as are the stories of Richards escaping them (most of the time). This is where money and being a big name helps! The story about Richards and Bobby Keys being got off a rap they had no defence against by the owner of Dole Pineapples is classic. (view spoiler)[He had first met Keith when he went into his daughters bedroom one morning. He was very civilized about it and said to him, as one does, If theres anything I can ever do for you... And there was! (hide spoiler)]
Richards also went cold turkey fairly often, not because he wanted to give up drugs but because he had to be clean and without the desperate need for drugs so he could enter various countries and tour with the band. These parts of the story are fairly harrowing to read, I really had no idea what cold turkey was really like but how it is very limited in time and can be endured. (Dr. Phils Celebrity Rehab is more about Dr. Phil and the Celebrities than the rehab). When he actually decided to give up drugs, he made two attempts and that was it, gave them up thirty years ago.
His sex life was a great deal less interesting than, say, Mick Jaggers,as he was the sort of man who fell passionately in love, and then did whatever he could to keep the relationship alive. Not that groupies were totally unknown to him but that sort of sex wasnt anything he ever sought out. His first marriage to the actress Anita Pallenberg fell apart due to his wifes uncontrolled (as opposed to his controlled) use of drugs, and he has been married for decades to his second wife, the model Patty Hansen, who has never used them.
Essentially Keith is a man who questioned the system at every turn, but take away the surface and what you have left is a family man. His mother, a tremendously musical person herself, is in the story pretty constantly. For some years he raised his son, Marlon, alone (rather unconventionally taking him on tour), although he quite obviously cherishes all his children and has never, ever got over the loss of his baby son Tara, who died of cot death.
But this man, this clever, sensitive, man, this lover of books, this chronicler of arguably the best rock band ever, this musicians musician had that other side too,
the drug-taking, alcohol-sodden, irreverant, authority-bucking wild side, the man who took a lot of drugs and lived exactly as he pleased because he had the money to do so and continues to entertain us with his really great guitar licks.
Rock on Keith, rock on.
Although the book is ghost-written, it retains more of the voice of the author than it does of the ghost-writer which isnt always the case. But I dont recommend the audiobook. Johnny Depp, Keiths friend, reads well, but he cant sustain the right accent for long and it sounds somewhat fake with an American undertone. This might not annoy you, but it did me and I preferred the written word.
Edit A GR friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) has sent me a really good story about Keiths son Marlon, whom my friend knew well. Ive posted it in the comments, msg. 67.
JOHNNY DEPP read Keith Richards Audiobook OFFICIAL part 2 2
Why Kevin O'Leary thinks rocker Keith Richards' memoir is the 'best business book on the market'
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Kevin O'Leary is known for giving his fair share business advice as an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank," but he gleaned some good tips himself from an unlikely source: Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards' memoir, "Life.
cat in the hat tongue twisters
This means that I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes. You better believe it. This cat put the joie in joie de vivre. The plight of the underdog was his passionate crusade, and anyone or anything that represented injustice in his eyes was fair game. When the thieving guest totters into the kitchen with the greens playfully tucked behind his ears, Keith grabs two sabers from the mantelpiece and goes chasing after the poor guy in a homicidal rage.