Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I like biographies.
I like rock n' roll.
I'm not really a Rolling Stones fan, but when one of the most infamous guitar players in rock n' roll sits down to write a book, I'm gonna' read it.

Life is a massive work. Like most folks, I fully expected behind-the-scenes, confessional, brutally honest answers to the rumors that have plagued Richards for years. Those answers are in the book, but there's much more.

First and foremost, it's a book about music. As you can imagine, there's plenty of celebrity and excess and substance abuse, but I loved how musical this book is. From painting crystal clear pictures of the Rolling Stones primary role as a "white boy blues band" to explaining what led Richards to the 5-string, open-tuned playing style, the book never forgets that the music is what made Richards famous first. Musicians will love how Richards describes finding his best friends during jam sessions and how at the lowest points, music retained it's power to soothe the soul and bolster the spirit.

Secondly, it's a book about code. Think about it - when you talk to an old man, there's not much he's unsure of. You may disagree, but most men who have lived long lives come to have a sort of "code" they've come to believe. This is right. This is wrong. Richards is no different. Woven throughout the stories is his belief about honesty and humility and loyalty. As the book ends, there's no doubt what Keith Richards thinks about just about everything.

Third, it's a book about selfishness. Sadly, Richard doesn't seem to regret very much. Oh, the big stuff is in there, sure, but I thought the book might show us a man who's been softened enough to honestly look at his actions over the years and what those actions did to the people that loved him. But not so much. The guitar player goes the other way, ending the work with an attitude more like, "Oh, well. This is what I did. Deal with it."

The book wasn't anything like I expected, but it was a fascinating read. If you dig biographies...or rock'll probably find it very interesting.