Keeping with my goal to get through my reading material, I was able to make a serious dent in the stack recently. By dent I mean a good 2 inches thanks to getting through Life, the autobiography of Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. I need to stop reading about celebrities and definitely avoid all biographies related to those I happen to enjoy listening to or watching. Every time I spend time doing this, I come away with a bad feeling or worse a complete desire to disassociate myself from that particular entertainer. I’ve been an avid Stones fan since I can remember, have all my computers named after the band members, use one of their names as my gaming alias, have just about all their albums including bootlegs and spent way to much to see them in concert over the years. After reading Ron Wood’s book previously and now Keith’s latest efforts, my relationship with the Stones is now reduced to a non-monetary enjoyment. Translated, I doubt I’ll ever give them any more of my hard earned money. I realize it is a lifestyle expectation, but pretty sick and tired of executives in the music industry (looking right at you RIAA and related production executives) soap boxing about how they are being driven into the ground by the hordes of criminals out there illegally taking their profits. So let me get this right, a music enthusiast happens to download a song from his favorite band he has likely invested tons of money over the years in souvenirs and concerts and he is labeled a criminal worthy of dragging to court and seeking ridiculous fines. Let’s contrast that with Keith Richards, an artist which thrives in this industry and essentially the reason the RIAA and music executives exist (who leach off the creativity of others). In a quick summary; drug addict (illegal), transport of drugs across country boundaries (illegal), coercing others to do drugs (illegal), possession of firearms by a felon (illegal), moves to France to avoid paying taxes (actually probably smart on his part), although not a father myself I hardly believe what he exposed his kids to was healthy in any way, driving under the influence (illegal), endangering the life of a pregnant wife (and baby) while wrecking under the influence, admitted poacher (illegal) and lastly considering the Beatles as friends (criminal in every aspect). Now you tell me, who is the kettle?
The truth is, this book did have some interesting tidbits in it with my favorites being small comments here and there which give some insights into his approach to song construction and meanings. Based on Ron Wood’s book, it was essentially a literary masterpiece but I must recollect a comment from another book I read recently called Bird by Bird. In that excellent work, the author referenced a review she received from one of her books that simply stated “You have made the mistake of thinking everything that has happened to you is interesting”. I can’t think of a better comment for this book. This biography could have easily been reduced to half its size by glossing over pointless events – an up front summary stating that Keith is a medical grade drug addict in the first paragraph could have reduced another quarter inch of the book preventing the literary broken record. Granted, Keith has had a very eccentric life and some of them are quite interesting. The Stones had to work to get where they are at now and I’m guessing a lot of people gloss over that fact when they see them up on the stage. The question remains as to whether they could have gotten there without the all too familiar Rock and Roll lifestyle. Does the lifestyle lead to the success or does the creativity require that behavior? (does the love of motorcycles lead to the need to wear leather or does the affinity for leather make you want to get a motorcycle.. but I digress).
To summarize, was there was some value in spending precious personal time reading this book, but this is pretty much the end of my future Stones investments. Their recent albums have been weak, their concerts have been way overpriced as of late and, quite frankly, they are old (there Linda, I said it). Feel free to hit the jump to see my takeaways from the time investment. Meanwhile, I’ll just pop over to the local news where they are detailing Theodora’s (Keith’s daughter) recent arrest for drug possession. Looks like the nut didn’t fall far from the Fiji tree (yeah, I know it was a bad pun, but I had to go for it)