There was a period of time in my life when I was pretty convinced that The Rolling Stones were, in fact, the greatest rock and roll band of all time. I don’t really believe that anymore, although I do testify to their talent and general greatness. The problem is that the classic rock radio stations have completely ruined them for me, by endlessly pounding the same songs into my head. I know there’s thousands of other Rolling Stones songs I could be enjoying other than the 5 that get repeated constantly, but for some reason the radio has ruined the band for me. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional “Memo From Turner” or “Sister Morphine” have to pass through my ear-stream now and then, but I haven’t listened to them in any meaningful way for probably 10-15 years now.
I also have always been so-so on Keith Richards. I think he’s funny. A cartoon, in fact. Obviously he’s talented. I think given he’s still alive, I can pretty much do whatever I want to my own body and I will survive it. So I appreciate him being the ultimate guinea pig for humankind. But I was never into his voice much. It’s an acquired taste, as they say and I’ve never acquired it.
So why did I buy his book? How can you not!? It’s Keith Richards, for god’s sake! I believe it’s the first actual Rolling Stone to pen a bio. If you’ve been a fan at all during your lifetime, and I have, it’s gotta interest you. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much. What I got was a well-written, insanely interesting, heartfelt biography and maybe one of the best music books I’ve ever read. I have to give Richards credit – he’s a smarter, deeper, more serious and more interesting person that I could have ever imagined. Certainly rough around the edges – and he admits as much via his stories. He carries knives and guns and has used them more than once.
He also doesn’t dance around the drug use. It was bad. I would have never guessed he’s been clean for 30 years, but that’s his claim and I now believe him. The most amusing part of the drug use is his assertion that he never overdid it (i.e., overdosed). He was never the guy who tried to get higher and higher, because that’s how you die. He was the guy who did it to feel good and after a certain amount of time, to maintain. He called it maintenance. But of course, he overdid it.
Anyway, I don’t want to give away any of the book. I can tell you that by the end, I was DYING for more and insanely sad it was over. It’s that’s good. And when I say it’s that’s good, I mean it – and I ONLY read biographies. You must read it.
So I went back and listened to some of his solo stuff, x-pensive winos, vocals on his Stones song. Thought the book might inspire me to appreciate it more. Still not working for me, but maybe I’ll try a little harder.