Friday, September 02, 2011

Life is a Grind

Life is a grind.  Literally and figuratively.  Don't worry this isn't going to be some philosophical rambling on the meaning of life or a "woe is me" moment on the challenges life brings us, I am actually referring to Keith Richard's autobiography Life.

There is something so unbelievably cool about Keith.  I love him. I love his seeming immortality.  I love his crazy hair and clothes.  I love the song Happy, which he sings, on Exile on Main Street.  I don't think anyone looks cooler with a cigarette in his mouth than Keith Richards.

I was completely intrigued by the idea of him writing a memoir.  For one thing, he is barely intelligible when he speaks, so how would that translate on the page? With his well documented addictions,  how much would he really remember?

That last question was answered on the inside sleeve of the book cover, "This is the Life.  Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it." Although, he did enlist the help of some friends and family to add colour to some otherwise hazy moments from his memory.

This book took me a looooonnng time to read.  I found the first third of the book challenging.  You have to get used to Keith's cadence and language and the excruciating details about guitars and chords and strumming and the like.  It was a grind.  However, like life itself, it's worth it if you keep plodding through.  Hooking up with Mick and Charlie and chronicling the early bar gigs and songwriting days gets the book going.  What I found was a charming, honest, unapologetic and ultimately grateful to be alive Keith Richards.

For guitar aficionados, you will love Keith's intense passion for music and the guitar.  For rock and roll groupies, the stories of epic Rolling Stones parties, Keith and Mick's relationship, the death of Brian Jones, Keith's other relationships are all great reading.

After all these years, he's still the coolest.


Jon H said... [Reply to comment]

Great summary. I loved how much he still loves music, admits their low-points (Harlem Shuffle) and slags Mick, while still being somewhat in awe of his best friend.