February 21, 2011


I was holding off on finishing Life, the epic tome accounting for Keith Richards last 89 years on earth--it had eaten up a week and a half of my reading times and I had gotten past his boring childhood, his unsalacious musings on his wild years, his appalling parenting techniques, a multitude of finely rendered details on the quantities and manners of a solid decade of torrential drug abuse, then slogged through the slow fade outro: Don Was, beefs with Mick, new model wife, bustin' his head on a tropical tree, the kind of books he likes to read in Jamaica, his belief that he now has a soul of a black man because of the life he's lead and the brothers he's hung with, how he rescued a cat once. The gamut has been spanned! I done spunned it and powered through those final three pages.

And, so, what is this book about, you might be asking, like I am? The real takeaway is it's a book about friendship. About Keef, for all his licks of genius, skating on the largesse of Mick Jagger, who you gather from what is said and unsaid--kept the Stones together and functioning, while Keef nodded out and set hotel rooms aflame and befriended hash dealers and brought the law upon hisself. Mick Jagger is either very smart or very generous. Perhaps both. He is looking out for his enterprise, but also, you guess he must love his friend. Meanwhile, Keef expects us to feel for him when sometime in the 80's, he gets off dope and decides it's time for him to tend to the band's business after basically being high as fuck since 1967. And he's livid when Mick tells him to fuck off. Plus he's drunk all the time, cheating on his live in girlfriend with his future wife and disappearing for days though all he is doing is shopping for reggae tapes in Harlem. And he's 39 years old, living with the murder of Ron Wood's myna bird on his hands.

There is some gossip in this book, but most of it you could have assumed (Ron Wood had a crack problem), and when there is some juicy shit it is about someone you do not care about. Like Bobby Keys. The piano player. Every time I would read "Bobby Keys" I was picturing "Bobby Flay" as in the Iron Chef Bobby Flay. I DON'T CARE WHO BOBBY KEYS SCREWED IN THE RIVIERA. Do you? Keef has probably had a life time of super high people laughing at his every anecdote, so he has assumed for nigh 500 pages that we care, that we too might delight in his musings. He was in a part time reggae band with Justin Hinds, the great ska singer, who sings one of my favorite songs of all-time "Drink Milk"--and I found this to be mildly redeeming. But there is like a quarter page of Justin Hinds gossip. Which almost held my interest.
SO. A book about Keef's black soul, bonding with Justin Hinds, hating Mick who is like his loyal wife, loving dogs, loving heroin, attempting to stone a turtle from fright. Several hundred pages. I'm done.

Posted by jessica hopper at February 21, 2011 01:01 AM | TrackBack