I’d never been much of a Stones girl, really. The Hot Rocks compilation everyone had in college always satisfied my occasional urges for Sixties fuzz guitar and machoism. There was something special about Keith Richards’s playing and Mick Jagger’s lyrics, but at the same time, they chilled me in a way. Their obsession with American blues bordered on clinical, perhaps. As Sonny Boy Williamson reportedly said to Roger McGuin, “Those English boys want to play the blues so bad. And they it play it so bad.”
When the news came last spring that Keith Richards was publishing his memoirs and that his secret wish had been to work as a librarian, I couldn’t have cared less. The book’s appearance at my job before my first trip to London, coupled with that damn hypnotizing cover photo by David LaChapelle, changed my mind. I quit the other pulp I’d been dipping in and out of and made a straight shot through Life, loving every second of it for its honest, cigarette-blown-out voice and lessons on drugs and music making.
It’s also inspired me to start a book pass-along, which I’ll write about in a separate post. Suffice to say, it’s collaborative marginalia crossed with performance art. Strictly for book freaks. You know who you are.