[Read] ➲ Life ➮ Keith Richards – Dolove.info
I want this book to stay on my book shelf even though I am not going to waste my time finishing it I didn t want to delete it so I knew no other way to give my review but to give it some kind of star and to say that I had read it without getting You started Life so many days ago from my GoodReads newsletter I DO NOT recommend this book to anybody Not even a die hard Rolling Stones fan Everything I wanted to find out about the Stones in this book, just wasn t there Poorly written, poorly edited I am the type of reader who just has to finish any book that I start But recently at a book retreat when we were priveledged to have the author of our book, I am not a Serial Killer , Dan Wells came to speak to all of us women He made the comment, and this is not word for word, but has stayed on my mind since Don t waste your time on a book that you are not enjoying So there Keith I hated your book and will not waste another second on trying to finish That is all I have to say on that. I have a fascination with music and the undead, so reading Keith Richards autobiography was a no brainer, and I m glad I did Life is absolutely brimming with all the Rolling Stones stories a fan could hope for It starts with a humorous and tense drug story, then it reverts to ainnocent time when Richards was a sort of part time hooligan, a kid of the East end streets This was easily my favorite part of the book, this and the Stones formation Basically everything before the money and fame enters the picture.Richards is not shy about dishing dirt This is not a man bred to polite society Life s rough, shit happens and he s not about to sweep it all under the rug and pretend it didn t happen That s refreshing in its way, but the real draw of this book is the music Richards loves music and really comes alive when he s talking about it The many passages reminiscing about his musical roots, his idols and his favorite musicians are a real joy to read The formation of the Stones gets a fairly thorough going over, at least from his perspective And that was quite a while ago, after some heavy mind altering experiences, so it s a minor miracle he remembers any of it Drugs Phew, that man took a lot of drugs That he survived it all is the real miracle He gives his theory on how he got through it, but still, lady luck must have played some part Learning that he s been drug free for the last 30 years was a surprise All in all though, I could ve done without all of the many drug and drinking anecdotes They take up a huge chunk of the book Obviously it would be a sham of a biography if they weren t included, so I m just speaking on a personal taste level To me, hearing another s stories about being stoned is about as interesting as listening to someone else talk about their dreams Mildly interesting, mostly inconsequential Life is long Richards got a little help from his friends and family, who add stories and anecdotes from their own perspective His son Marlon, who spent a significant chunk of his youth traveling and touring with his father, weighs in regularly I listened to the audiobook version that was narrated mostly by Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley Tom Waits makes a cameo Richards does the intro and comes back at the end to read some passages from his journal Some twenty five hours orinto the audiobook, I was hazily listening to Richards pleasant gravelly drone as he wrapped up the book and suddenly I realized I was listening to him extoll the virtues of Patrick O Brian s Master Commander books, one of my all time favorite series I ve read and listened to all 20 books about three times over now O Brian s work is gorgeous, his setting description and character development is astounding However, he s not widely read and his fans tend to be bookish types, so you can imagine how shocked I was to hear this famous rock n roll guitar god praising an author who has been called the male Jane Austen Richards doesn t just offhandedly mention the books, he explains his love of them and dwells on the main characters, likening their friendship bond to that of him and Mick Jagger As a book music geek, this provided an unexpectedly pleasant happy ending for me. With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards Created The Riffs, The Lyrics And The Songs That Roused The World, And Over Four Decades He Lived The Original Rock And Roll Life Now, At Last, The Man Himself Tells Us The Story Of Life In The Crossfire Hurricane It was 1975, a time of brutality and confrontation Open season had been declared since our last tour, the tour of 72, known as the STP The State Department had noted riots true , civil disobedience also true , illicit sex whatever that is , and violence across the United States All the fault of us, mere minstrels We had been inciting the youth to rebellion, we were corrupting America, and they had ruled never to let us travel in the United States again It had become, in the time of Nixon, a serious political matter He had personally deployed his dogs and dirty tricks against John Lennon, who he thought might cost him an election We, in turn, they told our lawyer officially, were the most dangerous rock and roll band in the world I am definitely not the intended audience for this book I like the Rolling Stones, certainly, and I knew their music before I could identify the band I have a distinct memory of my dad singing Paint It Black to me when I was much too young to have any idea who the Rolling Stones were , but I wouldn t describe myself as a hardcore fan I didn t see the Stones in their prime my generation knows them mostly as a group of awesome, elderly rockers who simply refuse to pack it in and retire Keith Richards himself came onto my radar very late in fact, and here I will preemptively duck from the objects that are about to be thrown at me by anyone born before 1980 I think the first time I heard about Keith Richards was when I learned that he was the person Johnny Depp had based Jack Sparrow on So obviously, this book was not written for me and I probably had no business reading it in the first place However, driven by curiosity and armed with a superficial knowledge of the Stones and an earnest love of Almost Famous, I plunged in I mean, how can you resist an opening like the one I quoted above In a purely technical sense, this book is very badly written The narrative wanders from one subject to another, events aren t kept in chronological order, and Richards uses fragment sentences like they re going out of style But the thing is, it works I got the sense that the writing process for this book was just Keith Richards free associating into a recorder for several hours, and the resulting tapes were written down verbatim Richards voice comes through clearly in every word, and it s a great experience Reading the book is like listening to your foul mouthed, slightly confused grandfather tell you stories they don t always make sense, and sometimes you have no idea what he s saying, but your grandfather happens to be the most awesome person alive, so you re going to shut up and pay attention to everything he says The book is full of dirt on the Rolling Stones, the tours, and lots of helpful advice about buying drugs and then concealing them on your person Random bits are tossed in, like Richards recipe for bangers and mash I only just found out from this lady on TV that you have to put bangers in a cold pan and instructions on winning a knife fight The big rules of knife fighting are a do not try it at home, and b the whole point is never, ever use the blade It is there to distract your opponent While he stares at the gleaming steel, you kick his balls to kingdom come he s all yours Just a tip He also lets other people tell stories, too every now and then he ll break off and include a few paragraphs written by someone else like his manager, his son, and once Kate Moss describing their perspective on whatever Richards is talking about.But the best part, the very best, is when Richards is talking about music He might be crazy, he might be a recovering junkie, he might be sexist oh, we ll get there , but this man loves music He loves playing music, listening to music, and talking about music While I was reading this I started wishing that I knew how to play the guitar, because the detail he goes into about chords and playing techniques is incredible and went right over my head Reading about how Keith Richards feels about music is what makes this book worth reading when he stops talking about Mick drama and drugs and chicks, and just focuses on the music Here s him talking about the first time he heard Heartbreak Hotel Then Since my baby left me it was just the sound It was the last trigger That was the first rock and roll I heard It was a totally different way of delivering a song, a totally different sound, stripped down, burnt, no bullshit, no violins and ladies choruses and schmaltz, totally different It was bare, right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn t yet heard I ve got to take my hat off to Elvis for that The silence is your canvas, that s your frame, that s what you work on don t try to deafen it out That s what Hearbreak Hotel did to me It was the first time I d heard something so stark In fact, the only time this book isn t awesome reading is when Keith Richards talks about women, and worse, attempts to address the misogyny in rock and roll many of the songs we wrote around this time had what you might call anti girl lyrics anti girl titles too Stupid Girl, Under My Thumb, Out of Time, That Girl Belongs to Yesterday Maybe we were winding them up And maybe some of the songs opened their hearts a little, or their minds, to the idea of we re women, we re strong But I think the Beatles and the Stones particularly did release chicks from the fact of I m just a little chick Okay, Grandpa Keith, that s very nice, but you need to sit down now Have a caramel square and shut up for a minute Keith Richards, I learned from this book, only likes women when they do everything for him All the women who get described favorably in this book have one thing in common they would follow the Rolling Stones around and literally take care of them Richards first love, a girl named Haleema, is well regarded because she and her friends would come to the apartment where the Stones lived and clean the place up and cook for them Keith s favorite past chicks, including his current wife, are the ones who cooked breakfast for him Richards wants women to take care of him Mommy issues ahoy , but does not appreciate having to do the same for them Here he is discussing Mick Jagger s many infidelities and having to deal with the stupid whores who came crying to poor Keith about it They end up crying on my shoulder because they ve found out that he has once again philandered What am I gonna do Well, it s a long ride to the airport, honey let me think about it The tears that have been on this shoulder, from Jerry Hall, from Bianca, from Marianne, Chrissie ShrimptonThey re ruined so many shirt of mine And they ask me what to do How the hell do I know I don t fuck him Grandpa Keith, I said sit down Do you need another caramel square Women aren t very present in this book, but that s expected this is about rock and roll, and the love of music, and the rise and continued rise of a truly great group that revolutionized music Some of it doesn t make any sense, some of it is ugly and sad, but all of it is incredible, and ultimately worth the read. Bob Dylan s memoir is a classic Patti Smith s memoir Just Kids a classic Life by Keith Richards not a classic but a really really OK book But me writing that I really wanted it to be a great rock n roll classic book and Life maybe grand, but great it isn t.It s obvious that Richards is writing or co writing this for the fans out there Every question and thought regarding the Rolling Stones long history is answered or dealt with yet for that reason it strikes me as a book done in numbers and not passion or through the enjoyment of putting a book together.Also to be honest there is some major flaws in Keith Richards character For one he has this gang mentality in keeping the band together and having people loyal around him yet if it doesn t serve his purpose or in his eyes the band then it is tossed off the train that is his life His drug taking for sure caused major headaches for the band so it is kind of a shug when you hear him complain about Brian Jones problems with the chemicals For one, Keith likes to believe that he was the worst enemy of the establishment, but that is his ego talking From day one he was part of the pop machinery that churns out pop as in a factory The Stones were brilliant but I think that has a lot to do with the talents of their first manager and record producer Andrew Loog Oldham, Jack Nitzsche, Brian Jones, Phil Spector and the original blues singers that inspired them When Keith got into Heroin he lost the pilot And for good with respect to consistent music making The mid 70 s Stones had a few good groove songs, but in the 60 s they were really on fire The 80 s, 90 s and the 21st Century Not even worth mentioning Also reading this book I sort of feel sorry for Mick Jagger Which is weird to me For someone who was totally devoted to the band, Keith for sure lost the desire to make interesting music in the late 70 s Right now he sort of positioned himself as a rebel, but he s a rebel that has been part of the conservative establishment for awhile now So when we admire Keith Richards it is not really the man, butwhat we as a culture think he is And for me this memoir blows a big hole in that myth.Nevertheless it is an interesting document and a great importance to the Rolling Stones library but ironically enough there are better Stones books out there and in print as well. Growing up in Dartford for Keith was somewhere to get out of After WWII it was pungent with horse manure desperation and he never forgot the story that he was born in an air raid shelter It wasn t London It wasn t hip or cool it was the backside of the wrong side of the tracks But when his father Gus gave him an old wooden guitar and showed him a few chords and licks, London loomed closer Especially after he could play Malaguena and managed to escape National Service that great cloud hanging over a whole generation of English teenagers and Dartford Technical College.This autobiography is really massive, too many decades to cover in a review many have already so I will only mention a few things that stood out for me I ve not read any other Stones biographies before although know they are out there which document many of the tensions and dramas the band has had over the decades Keith met Jagger in 1961 They would hang out in seedy record stores waiting for the next consignment of Blues and Jazz records to arrive from Chicago, listen to them and try to work out how to play them learn how to write songs like that For Richards, the Blues is the core and basis of his Life He talks eloquently about the blues I was enthralled I had a totally different idea of Keith, certainly not one so articulate even if the book is co written by James Fox Keith knows how to talk about music he s not unable to express what music means to him or how he arrived at a certain tune and I know many who can t He exists not in the light blues spectrum but that very dank swamp kind of blues He loves John Lee Hooker, Muddy and Lee Berry He talks about many early English bands that influenced him such as the likes of Alexis Korners Blues Band, who had Cyril Davis playing blues harp his later RB All Stars Jamming at the Earling Club a traditional jazz club is where he met Brian Jones Rather than focus on all the drug fecked times Keith had and the book contains a testament of his usage , it was the many small things he mentioned that impressed me and made me smile, like his memories of his first amp that he re wired from his mother s radio and his description of his De Armond pickup that always needed soldering during gigs Things like that made me realise how easy it is these days to learn to play a song with the internet for lyrics and chords and software programs like Garage Band where you don t even have to own an instrument and everyone thinks they can become a rock star He recounts the Stones first record deal with Decca and the first recording studio at Olympic Studios with the then state of the art equipment walls with egg cartons and a fairly basic Grundig tape recorder Wannabee s should take note It takes perseverance, a lot of love and dedication invention Keith heard and played with a lot of awesome jazz musicians at the Earling and T Bone Walker of Chuck Berry s 50 s band was one of those T Bone was one of the first to use the double string thing and Keith found it worked for him and became something of a signature to his playing You can t play some of the Stones music without that double guitar string It just does not sound right.A lot has been said about Keith s addictions and his relationship with Anita Pallenberg before this and he s fairly candid about most of it in Life The journalist Bill Wyman not the Stones Bill Wyman has his bitch about Life with a few decidedly cutting remarks regarding the death of Keith s 3rd child cot death and blaming Keith for it which I felt beyond the pale when at the time Keith was on tour with the Stones and the death occurred under Pallenberg s care.Anita was perhapsan addict than Keith and while I cannot say what her demons were, I don t think that Keith used drugs in the same way he didn t have any of the same kind of mental tortures childhood regrets that fuel the usual addict He does go into the reasons he used and for the most part were either for endurance or to sleep Like a tool which I believe And he was honest about his efforts at rehab He doesn t gloss over any of it He admits getting clean was hell and he did it at home with just the help of his manager Jane Rose the two of them locked in a room till he dried out Warningthan once to kids not to do drugs I felt he had a phenomenal memory until I realised co writer James Fox must have also done a lot of research and hung around with Keith just talking for hours to unearth so much material But also Keith kept journals all throughout his life something I find admirable considering his years of addiction In all I found him a really likable and open guy For all the so called dissent and rifts between Keith Mick and Brian, Keith always gives them their due praises all through the book He loves Mick, and loves playing with the Stones after all these years That s saying something Life documents much of the Stone s history I ll not repeat here for brevity, and his meeting and marrying Patti and their life together now Throughout the book there are cameo stories by many people associated with Keith and they reinforce my impression that essentially despite Keith s typical drug ravaged face he s an ok good guy someone I could sit down with and chat and not feel demeaned by.I think it telling he s been able to continually collaborate on other endeavours besides the Stones In films and with other musicians including getting other touring bands like the X pensive Winos together and working with Norah Jones etc. He s nowhere near washed up as some like to portray He s survived major brain surgery as well he has some beautiful kids family he s dedicated to and a library to die for in which he fell off a ladder looking for a book that resulted in an intracranial haemorrhage.Well just go read the book There is much I left out Includes some great photos too I m good at pulling a bunch of guys together If I can pull a bunch of useless Rastas into a viable band and also the Winos, a decidedly unruly band of men, I ve got something .it s not a matter of cracking the whip, it s a matter of just sticking around and doing it So they know you re in there..it s not a matter of who s No.1 It s what works KR It was fascinating If you have always loved The Rolling Stones and rock and roll and have a lot of nostalgia about the 60 s then I think you d find Keith Richards memoir fascinating, too It is long, but most of the time, well, I was just blown away hearing about all the stuff Keith Richards did He has a great conversational style listening was fun kind of like sitting in the living room hearing him tell about his life with help from Johnny Depp and one other reader What really shines through is his absolute love of music as well as his totally undisciplined and wild, wild life style I liked it toward the end when he tells about how Tony Blair wrote him a get well letter after an accident and said, Dear Keith, You ve always been one of my heroes Then Keith says, England s in the hands of someone I m the hero of That s frightening I also liked the ending when he sits on the end of his dying mom s bed and plays Malaguena for her That was one of the first songs he learned at the beginning of the book, so it seemed to be a good frame for the ending and kind of touching. So we will start with first things first If you were to ask me what my recommendation would be for best rock musician biography or autobiography of all time, it would be Keith Richards s Life, hands down You ll see why as you read the rest of this review, but in short I ll just say that it s by far the most authentic and genuine take on the subject of what life is like being in the spotlight for 48 years, at the time of printing in 2010, anyway Written with the assistance of journalist James Fox, Life gives voice to one of the true legends of rock music Keith states early on that he remembers everything And you know what I believe him.THE OBLIGATORY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NONSENSE BY THE REVIEWER Feel free to skip if you wish I truly became a Rolling Stones fan at the age of 14, in 1978 The band had just released Some Girls and my older brother took me to the record store to obtain a copy That platter opened up my head and I was soon deep into collecting a lot of the back catalog The Stones at that point were only 16 years old as an entity, still very much in an extended adolescence and using punk rock as a springboard to updating their sound and image to reflect the era They were one of the old stalwarts that the punks really couldn t rail too much against, giving them a rough respect equaled only by The Kinks and The Who and The Doors In short order, I was now on the train and I would never really get off again The weight of years and a few spotty albums would later dull the relationship, but once a fan, always a fan OBSERVATION NUMBER ONE Keith s love of music seeps off of every page of this book From his formative years to the last page, you can tell that he really had no choice in the matter He was going to be a musician, and that was that He gives enormous credit to his mother and his maternal grandmother for opening his ears to a wide variety of influences when he was a child, and you can hear those influences on every Rolling Stones record ever produced Steeped in blues and big band and country music, Keith would figure out a way to add all of these sounds to the Stone s catalog at various points in time OBSERVATION NUMBER TWO Keith speaks candidly about his relationships with women down through the years His portraits of Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg are honest and heartbreaking at times Keith owns up to his own failures as a husband and a father and he seems sincere and forthright when he talks about these things.OBSERVATION NUMBER THREE Keith is also very open and honest, perhaps a bit TOO honest, about his relationship with Mick Jagger At one point Keith refers to Jagger s manhood as a tiny todger, an unfortunate choice of words for describing another man s junk It is obvious that he loves Jagger like a brother, but it is also obvious that he really doesn t LIKE Mick all that much Honestly, though, that creative tension and the ability of both men to soldier through it made for some of the best and most engaging rock music to have ever been recorded OBSERVATION NUMBER FOUR Keith spends a lot of time covering the Exile on Main Street record, made at a point in time when the Rolling Stones were real life tax exiles Keith would spend days at a time working on the sounds for Exile., high on cocaine and speed and grooving on the aural and production aspects of the record It s a fascinating look at someone who is a perfectionist at heart, even if the final product seemed a bit sloppy and overburdened Another autobiographical note Exile on Main Street is my personal favorite of the Stones recorded output They virtually invented Americana music with that disk, showcasing a wide variety of different influences and regional sounds Not bad for a bunch of English art students OBSERVATION NUMBER FIVE Let s get this out there I am amazed that Keith is still alive No other musician in the history of musicians has abused his body through drink and hard drugs as much as Keith has Period No one Listen, I ve read Motley Crue s The Dirt Nice try, boys I ve read Nikki Sixx s Heroin Diaries Harrowing and real, it still doesn t stand up to Keith I ve even read Lemmy Kilmister s autobiography, and if ANYONE could give Keith a run for the roses it would surely be Lemmy, right Nah, not even close Ozzy Gotta be Ozzy, correct The man snorted ANTS, fer Chrissake Nope Keith dusts them all, with a litany of drug related arrests and a legacy of heroin recoveries that would put anyone else to shame And to be fair, Keith doesn t brag about his adventures with substance abuse at all in Life It just comes out naturally in the narrative as a point of everyday life with the Keefster Seriously, read the book You tell ME if you think that anybody has ever partied like this guy I am both impressed and appalled in equal measure.OBSERVATION NUMBER SIX Keith spends several pages describing what he calls his musical epiphany, which consists of dropping the E4 string from his guitars This simplifies chording for him and allows him to get a different set of sounds out of his instrument Keith s role in the Stones is primarily as a rhythm guitarist, although he occasionally gets out in front for a solo here and there Keith is a rudimentary soloist at best, but he is one of the premier rhythm guitarists of all time, right up there with James Hetfield and Malcolm Young It was fun getting some insight into his actual playing methods, and he keeps everything simple for people who don t play guitar OBSERVATION NUMBER SEVEN Keith and Anita Pallenberg had a third child together Tara Jo Jo Gunne a boy , was born in the spring of 1976 He was named for Tara Browne the London socialite whose death inspired the Beatles to write A Day in the Life and the Chuck Berry song Jo Jo Gunne Sadly, Tara lived for only 10 weeks, dying in June while Keith was on tour with the Stones Pallenberg later said that she blamed her rampant and irresponsible drug use during her pregnancy for Tara s tragic death Richards is quite outspoken and frank in the book that his relationship with his older son Marlon saved him from a spiral of depression This was obviously a painful topic for Richards, and I applaud him for opening up about this tragic episode in his life.OBSERVATION NUMBER EIGHT Life was written over a period of some five years as James Fox chased Keith as best he could and hooked him to a wire for interviews He then sat down and read the entire rough draft to Keith and found him to be a natural editor This is a big book at 574 pages, but it never FEELS like a big book As I mentioned earlier in the review, it seems to be as honest and authentic a look at Keith Richards as you will ever find short of meeting the man and interviewing him yourself I applaud Mr Fox for his diligent efforts to capture Keith in his natural environment and get the best out of him And I m getting kind of tired of making observations Suffice it to say that I dug this book a lot It is the gold standard as far as rock biographies go It is as much a portrait of a man as it is a portrait of an era in rock music, a time when rock itself was an unruly toddler and then a difficult adolescent destined to become a flabby middle aged geezer hollering at you to get off of the lawn I can t recommend it enough if you are into this kind of thing. I started listening to the Rolling Stones back in the early 1970s Hot Rocks an early greatest hits collection and still one of the best by any band , Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, It s Only Rock and Roll, etc In terms of the group and its history, I caught them in their second wave, the one where they had morphed into the World s Greatest Rock and Roll Band I saw the band once, during their Tour of the Americas tour the one where Ron Wood joined the band I hung with them up through Emotional Rescue and I might of even had a cassette copy of Dirty Work the agreed upon low point for the band lying around on the floor of my car Only recently have I been listening to a number of their late period albums which are better than I would have thought, but a biton that later In other words, I m a fan I have followed the group for quite a while, know or thought I did the old war stories, the fights, the music, on a level that was probably beyond that of a casual fan Which is why I hesitated at first reading Richards autobiography I figured I would be sentencing myself to over 500 pages of stories I had largely read about before Well, on the long Memorial Day weekend I saw that the book was out in paperback, and thus no longer the size of a phone book Richards kohl rimmed eye beyond the skull ring and lit cigarette stared back at me I had too much time invested with this group I had to read it I m glad I did I m not a big fan of rock bios, but Richards along with his writer pal, James Fox , has crafted the best book of its kind that I have ever read The only other rock memoir that I would put on the same shelf would be Dylan s Chronicles But that effort is still uncompleted, and due to Dylan s own cryptic approach, less revealing Richards, on the other hand, will tell you everything, from drugs, music, and sex, to how to cook bargers Does he wander a bit Sure, especially toward the end But part of what makes this book so interesting is that it does capture Richards voice As a reader, you feel as if you re listening to a long, fascinating conversation It can disgust you at times, but also surprise you Outside of a silly near drug bust beginning in Arkansas which for me underscored just how lucky Richards has been over the years , the book is told in a chronological way The early chapters, focusing on Richards childhood, hooked me right away These were very well done, painting a post World War II picture of Britain that seemeda cultural history than a rocker s bio Richards exposure to music came early, in large part due to the bohemian lifestyle of one set of grandparents One surprise was Richards singing in a school choir and being pretty good at it, at least until his voice broke Then come the Stones years Mick an old childhood friend , Brian, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and others, parade by on a quickly accelerating train to fame One thing that struck me was how hard these guys worked at their music Even then, Richards was surprised when fame came As he tells it, something happened One moment they were the opening act for the Everly Brothers, the next moment the screams were for them He sensed the musical shift coming, but when it happened it was still a surprise No doubt that other group down the road, the Beatles, noticed it even sooner And it s the Beatles, and their success, that make the Stones The Stones, up to a certain point, were a cover band doing old blues numbers, and loving it But their manager at the time, Andrew Lloyd Oldham, knew they had to do , become original, in order to survive At this point Richards and Jagger were shoved into a room and told to write a song The chemistry was instant, probably already there due to a long established friendship that included a love of the same music The songs, the hits, started coming, and at an amazing pace The band was now a Jagger Richards band I may have enjoyed this part of the book the best, since Richards telling seems fresh In addition, Richards takes occasional musical pauses, explaining how he learned to play this or that, and how it worked in X or Y song I m not a musician, so I don t really know what he s talking about, but taking a step back, you can see the man s love of music on display.And then there are the drugs and the women For Richards the perfect storm is Anita Pallenberg Clearly he loved and to some extent, still loves her Richards is devoted to his women But together they are also two addicts in love with heroin Their relationship would produce three children Two have grown up to be against all odds fairly normal, and one would die, sadly, from crib death or neglect, it gets kind of fuzzy here Pallenberg, a free insane spirit, would film a movie with Mick, called Performance There s a brief affair between the two rud to be captured on film that Keith finds out about later In the book, Richards downplays this, saying he knew what Anita was like, but then childishly points out how he had Marianne Faithful Jagger s girlfriend , and then jumped out the window as Mick arrived It s a story that s meant to wound One personal trait that strikes you about Richards as you read on is that Richards is big on Loyalty For those who want to find a fracture point with the Stones, I suggest that this, Jagger s dalliance with Pallenberg, is it I take Richards on his word regarding Anita, but it s Jagger, his childhood friend, and what he did, that started the downward spiral between the two bandmates.I could go and on and on about this book It s a long book, a long history, and Richards tells it all But the heart of the book is the relationship between Jagger and Richards Throughout the book there is withering fire from Richards directed at Jagger It s not a black or white criticism however, since Richards often praises Jagger for his performances, his work ethic, his friendship It s an honest attempt to be honest Less honest is Richards treatment of his drug abuse problem He pats himself on the back for beating smack, but does it in such a way that suggests he was always in control This is junkie speak At one point he says, jaw droppingly, I never really overdid it Even if Richards did beat his addiction, he merely substituted it for another booze In the late 70s and 80s, as Richards sunkandinto drugs, Jagger began to exertcontrol of the band He also started to look for an exit via his own solo career This is probably fracture point No 2 Richards loyalty to the idea of the band, the Rolling Stones, is total whatever that now means Jagger s attempt to start up his own career around the time Dirty Work came out, nearly ended the band However, Jagger s failure to get traction in his own career his solo albums sucked , would lead to his return to the Stones Interestingly, Richards solo efforts gathered some critical praise.Jagger s return would also insure that the Rolling Stones would become very rich due to the new economics of touring and Jagger s sharp eye But for Richards, it s not so he says about the money, but the music Jagger would try and push the band into whatever Richards says Mick heard the previous night at the disco Richards was is the rocker who wanted to stay that way Most critics would agree when actually looking at the later Stones albums excepting possibly the last one, Bigger Bang, which strangely felt like a true band effort These albums are hodge podge affairs, with Jagger and Richards going to their separate corners, doing their songs, and then slapping a Stones tongue on it I would argue that these are not really band efforts any Oh, both Jagger and Richards are professional enough to crank out some good songs, but the album feel seems gone Richards insistence regarding the band being true to it, seems any hollow unnecessary He s probably doinginteresting things musically on his own Check out on Youtube his duet with George Jones on Say It s Not You He really should try doing a country album On the home front, Richards is happily married, a family man He falls out of trees He snorts his dad s ashes He likes dogs Reads history I just wish he would pick up the phone and call his friend a friend again He still calls Jagger his brother and I believe him this is not an empty statement from Richards Well, that s what a brother should do.Note If you decide to read this book, I highly recommend that you read rock critic Bill Wyman s not the Stone mock Jagger reply letter to the Richards book that appeared in Slate It serves as an excellent counterpoint to many of Richards claims and it s also a piece of brilliant writing I m not taking sides, which is why I suggest that you read it I love them both, and I m thankful for all the good music.http www.slate.com id 2273611 Keith Richards autobiography starts really well and holds that momentum for a long time although when it reaches the period covering the Eighties it does fall somewhat into score settling, and after that becomes somewhat bland and without spark As such you have to hand it to this book, it really does mirror The Rolling Stones career.Ghost writer James Fox does a fantastic job of catching his master s voice No doubt Keef was sat down in front of a microphone and told to talk about his life into tape after tape after tape, but from there Fox has managed to create a seamless narrative whilst rendering the subject s personality It really does seem as if Keith Richards is talking to you, sharing all his best anecdotes in his avuncular growl all the time throwing around such terms as cat , babe , bitch and so on I imagine the audiobook of this would be a real treat There are some odd points for example, the book never addresses the fact that for the first fifteen years of his career Keith Richards was known as Keith Richard I always assumed that Andrew Loog Oldman their then manager tipping his cap to the far softer British rock n roll icon Cliff Richard But there is no real tackling of The Peter Pan of Pop, apart from Keith seeming to take glee in Cliff s run of British hits ending when he decided to record a Jagger Richards track.Part of the problem with this book losing steam is that I think Richards appreciates that after Start Me Up , the Stones never produced another great song As such those later sessions do not have the attention to detail that he gives to Exile on Main Street or Let It Bleed He does however give a spirited defence against charges of the band selling out with their mega tours, just saying that they want to play music and this is the best way to do it And after spending six hundred pages with the man, it s hard to begrudge him that love of performing Particularly as the majority of people who buy this book will certainly consider buying a ticket the next time the Stones hit the road.