Last time I stopped by, my head was full of glitter. Now it’s full of Keith Richards. His new book, Life, is very, very good. It’s much better than I expected. As you know, I’ll suffer through just about any rock-related memoir because I’m such an addict of the genre, but so many of them are god-awful. Keith’s rises above the rest, though, because of the authenticity of his voice, his detailed descriptions of how he achieves his iconic guitar sound (which make sense even if you don’t play the guitar, but should be especially fascinating for people like Lori, who do), and his pure gift as a storyteller.
You get the feeling that you’re just hanging out with Keith, chatting about this and that, and that he has no idea how amazing his stories really are. I’m on about page 300 now and the Stones are just starting to record Exile on Main Street. Did you know that the song Happy was conceived of, written, and recorded in 4 hours? Done!
Now I’m listening to my early Stones records with an entirely different ear. I listened to Let It Bleed the other night while I was making dinner and I felt like I was hearing it for the first time. Really! My friend Bruce shared a terrific link with me the other day. It’s a deconstruction of Gimme Shelter. It was originally recorded on an 8-track deck. Here are 5 of those, separated out. Believe me, after you read Life, you’ll happily waste your time listening to each of the tracks. [Update 12/09/10: The legal folks have intervened. The separate tracks are no longer available, unfortunately. Thanks for pointing that out, Lori, and sorry. They were smokin’.]