For a character who claims to have been awake for at least three lifetimes, Keith Richards could well be considered the perfect poster boy for the “dark side” of rock and roll. Obviously, his enduring popularity can be attributed to his notoriety, his reputation preceding him. He is a known character not only to those who love rock and roll but also to those who closely monitor the goings-on in the entertainment scene.
Life is something you cannot afford to miss, that is, if you want to delve into the raw aspects of rock and roll. In this memoir, Keith gives us the opportunity to see his inner self as well as his interests and experiences. Life can be as unpredictable as Keith himself. At one point, Keith reveals how he layers his acoustic guitar to make it sound electric, just like what he did in “Street Fighting Man.” Then, he makes a complete turnaround and teaches us how we can win a bar brawl. Well, it can be an informative read, though in an odd sort of way.
Keith has been described in the past with a lot of labels – anti-hero, villain, bad boy, etc. He has also been the subject of numerous police pursuits in almost all corners of the Globe for the greater part of his musical career. This love-hate relationship with his fans and figures of authority will always be part of his reputation. This is actually one of the salient elements of Life. This book could well be a good way for us to get an inside look at the wild and exciting times in the life of Keith Richards, a person who have lived up to the image of anti-hero to the hilt.
Life starts with somewhat contrasting and deceptive mood, in which we find Keith and fellow band member Ronnie Wood and another unnamed companion being “accosted” by police authorities sometime during the 1975 concert tour. What transpires next is like a farcical scene straight from a comedy movie. The main players are desperately getting rid of contraband substances from their pockets while the arresting officials are more intent in having their pictures with them than doing the obligatory frisking of their suspects.
Credit should also go to the book’s co-author, James Fox, who was able to put all these disparate things together. Because of him, reading this book is just like an afternoon chat with the indefatigable Keith Richards about everything you want to know about the Rolling Stones. What he did was tame a wild beast with a perfect mix of beating and gentle strokes.