Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Heroes have always been Rock Stars

I just finished reading Keith Richard’s Biography, “Life.”  It is 550 pages long in hardback and I gotta tell you, it could have been 500 pages more for the amount of ground it covered. 
I was fascinated by the story of the origin of the Rolling Stones, and being a teenager in the 60s, I was most interested in the nostalgic aspect of the times he was talking about.  I vividly remember when the Stones and the Beatles burst on to the scene and getting to hear about it from someone who lived it was very enlightening and entertaining.  Of course it was all from Mr. Richard’s perspective so it was biased, but I was impressed that he didn’t sugar coat anything.  He admitted that he was quite often an asshole, but he was also was proud of the fact that he was rude and obnoxious and anti-…well, just about everything but music and drugs.

He struck me as an extremely passionate and sensitive person.  When he loved, he loved deeply and when he hated his wrath was just as intensive.  He was not a person who set out for fame and celebrity, but he also did not shy away from it, nor fail to capitalize on the perks it afforded him.
He was extremely candid in regards to his use of drugs; in fact you could almost say that his addictions are almost as much a part of his story as the music.  He called himself a "junkie" when it applied to his situation at a given point and painted a sad picture of his physical and mental state at the time.  The one thing that bothered me was that he never warned against the dangers of addiction, or urged others not to follow the path he had taken.  He was very cavalier in regards to his drug use and subsequent brushes with the law and wore every arrest and prosecution as a badge of honor for his anti-establishment persona.  He described many horrible times in his life as they related to his drug use that in and of themselves were a message that doing drugs is not a good thing, but it was almost like he didn’t want to say “Drugs are bad” outright, because then he would lose his “street cred."

As long as the book was; I was sometimes sorry he just glossed over happenings without going into detail or the aftermath of something that happened that I remember from the time and always wondered about.  He mentions it happened but not in great detail.  It was like …..”It rained last week.”  Not which day, how much it rained and if there were any consequences to the weather, just that it had in fact, rained.
If you like rock n roll music, play Rock n Roll music, are nostalgic for the 60s/70s era, or are just interested in the origins of pop culture I would recommend this book.  If you were born after say 1980 it might be interesting from a historical standpoint also, a chronical of "Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll."   Keith lived through it and as he says on the book’s jacket, “believe it or not, he remembers all of it.”

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