I have no idea how a magazine subscription to Rolling Stone started coming to the house — probably a freebie associated with something else I bought on Amazon. (It goes straight to the bathroom magazine rack).

The cover this month has Keith Richards on the cover, discussing his new autobiography, Life.

Last weekend, I started thumbing through the excerpt . . . and I was completely engrossed, reading until my legs fell asleep. I immediately ordered it in hardcover.

I can’t wait to read it . . .

“It’s funny, gossipy, profane and moving and by the time you finish it you feel like you’re friends with Keith Richards.”

Interview with Richards on NPR Radio and on CBS TV after the jump.


David Fricke, Rolling Stone: “One of the greatest rock memoirs ever….The title of Richards’ book is a simple, accurate description on the contents: the 66-year-old guitarist’s highs, lows and death-defying excesses, from birth to now, vividly related in his natural pirate-hipster cadence and syntax….Life is ultimately two stories: one of music, misbehaviour and survival; the other a fond, perplexed, sometimes outraged telling of Richards’ life with Jagger, including their battles over control and the destiny of their band.”


Here’s from NYT review:

“For legions of Rolling Stones fans, Keith Richards is not only the heart and soul of the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band, he’s also the very avatar of rebellion: the desperado, the buccaneer, the poète maudit, the soul survivor and main offender, the torn and frayed outlaw, and the coolest dude on the planet, named both No. 1 on the rock stars most-likely-to-die list and the one life form (besides the cockroach) capable of surviving nuclear war.

Halfway through his electrifying new memoir, “Life,” Keith Richards writes about the consequences of fame: the nearly complete loss of privacy and the weirdness of being mythologized by fans as a sort of folk-hero renegade.

“I can’t untie the threads of how much I played up to the part that was written for me,” he says. “I mean the skull ring and the broken tooth and the kohl. Is it half and half? I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it.”

By turns earnest and wicked, sweet and sarcastic and unsparing, Mr. Richards, now 66, writes with uncommon candor and immediacy. He’s decided that he’s going to tell it as he remembers it, and helped along with notebooks, letters and a diary he once kept, he remembers almost everything. He gives us an indelible, time-capsule feel for the madness that was life on the road with the Stones in the years before and after Altamont; harrowing accounts of his many close shaves and narrow escapes (from the police, prison time, drug hell); and a heap of sharp-edged snapshots of friends and colleagues — most notably, his longtime musical partner and sometime bête noire, Mick Jagger.”



Additional Sources:
Rolling Stone Photos

Life By Keith Richards with James Fox
Illustrated. 564 pages. Little, Brown & Company.

Keith Richards Website

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards Looks Back At ‘Life’
NPR, A October 25, 2010

NPR: The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards Looks Back At ‘Life’


Keith Richards on Snorting Dad’s Ashes

Category: Books, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

27 Responses to “Friday Night Jazz Keith Richards Life”

  1. MaxMax says:

    It’s a great read. What comes through is his musicianship. The opening chapter is probably the best road story ever.

  2. NickAthens says:

    If I recall correctly one of the greatest quotes from Keith Richards of all time was something like..

    Love is all you need? Love won’t pay the f****ng rent!

    Barry, now you are talking when you remind us of great musicians..

    I am on it..

  3. call me ahab says:

    and I was completely engrossed, reading until my legs fell asleep.

    what? the magazine is chained to the bathroom wall?

  4. louis says:

    Some off those riffs haunt you to the bone, Cant wait to read.

  5. Lariat1 says:

    Hey, the UPS man dropped off my copy this afternoon. Read the first page out loud to my 16 yr. old. Shit, I was 19 years old back in 1975. I looked at my kid and said, Yea, you don’t have a clue. It’s like Christmas here this weekend.

  6. Andy T says:

    I know the Beatles are considered the “biggest,” but I listen to a lot more Stones than Beatles. Their music has stood the test of time a little better. Will probably have to read this book….

  7. mitchn says:

    If you love the Stones and/or have read Keif’s autobiography, you have to read non-Mick’s “response”: http://www.slate.com/id/2273611/

    And Andy T, that’s a debatable proposition. I mean you’talking Secretariat and Seattle Slew, but I can listen to the Beatles’ catalog front to back, from ’63-’70, and find stuff that blows my minb at every stage. Not so much with the Stones — though ’69-’72 (Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile) might just be the greatest period of creativity any rock band ever had — and Keith (with a lot of help from Mick Taylor) was largely responsible.

  8. Ilya says:

    Who is Keith Richards? A stock picker perhaps.

    Eh, he’s probably in the top ten but headlined by Chet Atkins. Atkins rendition of ‘Ochi Chernye’ is not to be missed.

  9. beaufou says:

    I was looking forward to it, then the Guardian mentioned the letter of support to Blair about the Iraq war.
    Memory bleach please.

  10. beaufou says:

    I won’t be all negative though, I’ll leave you with a non-stones classic.

  11. Rich in NJ says:

    Keith Richards is an international treasure, and a true survivor.

  12. gms777 says:

    “One of the greatest rock memoirs ever…” –David Fricke, Rolling Stone

    Boy, that’s not saying much.

    Beware the hype.

  13. Arequipa01 says:

    Muddy Waters paid for this limey’s heroin. He didn’t even have the courtesy to say thanks. At least Johnny Winter earned his:


  14. me says:

    Hardcover, I thought I was the only Neanderthal that bought hardcover books anymore?

  15. Lariat1 says:

    Barry, you are probably getting freebie Rolling Stone mag due to Pink Floyd tickets you bought. And now and then I still have to have a book in Hardcover. $16.00 Amazon, some paperbacks go for that.

  16. fred2 says:

    I’m a 44 year old who grew up thinking the Stones were some populist but trashy rock band, and I never paid much attention to them. I think I saw Jagger prancing around in a leotard at some point when he was older, and that was enough.

    My wife bought a collection recently, and shit, they’re pretty good. Then I saw a video of a concert, and I just don’t understand how I missed this. I’ve got some catching up to do. What I really don’t understand however, is how England could have produced them. The Beatles, Churchill, Thatcher, Stephen Fry, Richard Branson, Kate Winslett, Ricky Hatton, I can all understand, but the greatest blues/rock band in the world? From the home counties of London? Bizarre.

    By the way, I read this blog every day even though I’m not a financial professional, because it gives me a great and witty insight into society, above and below the line. What I’ve been wondering however, is why Asia is never mentioned. I know the USA is living in interesting times and there are some compelling issues to discuss, but Asia is moving forward strongly, and surely that is part of the bigger picture? Europe (where I live) gets a mention from time to time, but why is this blog silent on Asia?

  17. I mention Asia ocassionally (For example, here are 577 mentions of Asia made on the blog) but the focus remains things I have some sort of insight into or expertise on.

    If I discussed every random subject, what is the value to readers? I can assure you that on many, many subjects, I am just another asshole with an opinion. Who wants that?

  18. Ltdata says:

    Richards comes across as a serious introvert during a recent TV interview. …Imagine meeting him in a library (talk about clash of public and private persona’s).
    Can’t say I know much about his music as I was deaf until recently (long story, amazing American technology/CA co, now private).

    @fred2 : I recall hearing that some of the Stones’ influences were from America, where a diverse population creates a diverse music.

  19. fred2 says:

    OK, I stand corrected. To the extent that 577 mentions of the word “Asia” identified by a search engine can demonstrate.
    I guess what I was saying, probably not very clearly, was that the clarity of thought and moral outrage directed towards, for example, the mortgage crisis, shows that this blog is not just about trends in the stock market.
    I read a deeply disturbing post a few weeks back that said the powerful were just spinning things out for as long as they could, so that revolution or anarchy was delayed as long as possible. Fairly dramatic comment, but it makes you wonder, given some of the outrageous stuff that’s been happening. Fair enough to limit the blog to your area of focus and expertise, but I suspect they are bigger than you let on. You have nailed the underlying implications of the mortgage crisis unerringly. Some more reflective comments on the br

  20. fred2 says:

    Some more reflective comments on the broader interactions between US/China, or West/East would be welcome.
    Comment submitted with great respect to what you do already.

  21. Giselle says:

    I love the excerpt — read the whole thing in a Barnes & Noble, and then bought the book.

    Can’t wait to finish it

  22. barryinkona says:

    it was a fascinating read and Richards is one of the great guitarist, BUT…i felt like showering after reading the book. just one page about Altamont. just one page about the death of his infant child and chapter after chapter after chapter about scoring, shooting, and kicking his drug habit. at the end of the book he acknowledges and thanks his drug connections, his gun connections, his bodyguards but NOT Bill Wyman. an utter dirtbag…and he is a terrible lyricist …, quickly, cite one memorable stones lyric……a fascinating read but….yuck.

  23. DiggidyDan says:


  24. gms777 says:


    Memorable Stones lyrics….


    One of the funniest rock songs ever. And filthiest.

  25. barryinkona says:

    gms777……i rest my case.

  26. AndrewBW says:

    I like the Stones and am looking forward to reading the book. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that Harold Pollack is right when he paraphrases The Great Gatsby: “They were careless people, Mick and Keef. They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess.”

  27. Liz Phair reviews the book for the NY Times Book Review

    Stray Cat Blues