Friday, October 22, 2010

Keith Richards Has Memories to Burn

By Janet Maslin

New York Times,  October 20, 2010

It is 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the New York office of Keith Richards’s manager, a place that might look ordinary if every wall and shelf were not crammed with some of the world’s most glorious rock ’n’ roll memorabilia. Mr. Richards has a 3 o’clock appointment.
“Come on in, he’ll be here in a minute,” an assistant says — and here he comes in a minute, at 3:01. This from a man who once prided himself for operating on Keith Time, as in: the security staff ate the shepherd’s pie that Keith wanted in his dressing room? Then everyone in this packed stadium can bloody well wait. The Rolling Stones don’t play until another shepherd’s pie shows up.

Photo - Steve Pyke/Getty Images

Chalk up the promptness to the man’s new incarnation: he is now Keith Richards, distinguished author. True, he is far from the only rock star to turn memoirist, and far from the only Rolling Stone to write a book about himself — very much about himself. The raven-haired Ron Wood wrote “Ronnie,” in which he described Brian Jones as “me in a blond wig.” Bill Wyman, the band’s retired bass player and bean counter, wrote “Stone Alone,” in which not a 15-shilling demo disc went unmentioned. Now Mr. Richards has written the keeper: “Life,” a big, fierce, game-changing account of the Stones’ nearly half-century-long adventure.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he says about the book. “I’d rather make 10 records.”

But he sounds anything but weary. And he seems refreshed, bearing surprisingly little resemblance to the battered, kohl-eyed pirate Keith Richards who looks like 50 miles of bad road. Today, in neutral street clothes and hot-green shoes, he is positively debonair. On his hands: the ubiquitous silver skull ring, swollen knuckles, the thin white scar from a hunk of steaming phosphorus that burned his finger to the bone while he played through a concert without stopping. On his head: both a headband and a raffish, straw-colored hat, gray tufts poking out in all directions. Not a single gewgaw hangs off it. “I’ve been through that phase,” he says. “Don’t know that the hair will take the pressure anymore."
Full piece at NYT.
Earlier report on blog read here.

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