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Keef

Just finished the new Keith Richards autobiography. Hilarious. All the bitching he’s done over the years about how he’s portrayed by writers….and he writes his own book that pretty much confirms everything they’ve been saying all along. Even using his own pen Keef comes across as a lovable, depraved, slightly menacing chemical freak who would be great to meet but deadly to spend any real time with. A rock and roll gypsy gun-slinger who once stayed awake for 9 nights running, accidently set fire to Hugh Hefner’s bathroom, and threw a knife at a record company employee who dared make a songwriting suggestion. A man who should be so long dead it’s ridiculous. His latest brush was getting smashed on some bizarre island concoction and falling out of a tree, nearly giving himself brain-damage. That was 3 years ago I think, although such things do tend to run together with this man. It’s been said that, along with cock-roaches, Keef will be the only survivor of a nuclear holocaust.

Also of course, he’s the man responsible for “Satisfaction”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Gimme Shelter”, “Happy”, and ensuring that Gram Parsons didn’t live to be 30, for all of which we should be eternally grateful.

Keith ain’t exactly a deep thinker. Altamont, for some the mythical end of the age of aquarius, barely gets a mention at all. Richards wonders how the armed black kid stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels in front of the stage managed to live as long as he did….which is an interesting view of the carnage that I admit to never having considered before. It might not be the most sensitive angle on such a touchy subject, but you never get the feeling Keef is being dishonest. This is, after all, the man who on first meeting his in-laws arrived swigging a bottle of Jack Daniels and then upped the ante by breaking his guitar over their coffee table when somebody said something that displeased him. An old fashioned romantic, in other words.

The book is 500+ pages, but decades seem to pass in a few hundred words. Maybe he forgot. Many of the putrid Rolling Stones records don’t get mentioned at all, which is understandable I suppose, though I’d love to know what drugs Keith was on when recording, say, “Undercover” or “Voodoo Lounge”. It must have been amazingly potent shit for him to allow such drivel to see the light of day. But the details of such inelegant messes are glossed over entirely, and I feel cheated, quite frankly. Life ain’t all “Exile on Main St” and “Let it Bleed” you know. If it was, the world would be a much more pleasant place. I want to know why the Stones haven’t put out a decent record in 30 years. On this subject, alas, Keef is mum.

Still a good read. Reading about junkies is always fun. Reading about junkies from the perspective of a former junkie even more so. When they have the gift to write a song like “Gimme Shelter”, they can charge $30 for a book. Hard to resist. And admit it. A 65 year old man who still braids his hair? That’s pretty damn cool.

In a bit..

–tf

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