Rolling Stone is calling it "one of the greatest rock memoirs ever" — and no, they're not gushing about the new Rick Springfield tell-all, Late, Late at Night. (Oooh, the life lessons of Noah Drake; I'm getting chills.)
Instead, the music mag is tingly with anticipation for Life, the sure-to-be-besotted autobio by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, which will hit store shelves on Tuesday. Such is the promised debauchery and booze-soaked dish, you won't know whether to read it or drink it.
Now 66 and the owner of a face that looks like a plate of pad thai, Richards has never been short on stories or honesty. In an extended excerpt from his book, published in the current issue of Rolling Stone, the immortal one writes about striking creative gold with Glimmer Twin Mick Jagger, as well as the doctor's bag of bad habits that should have killed him — but made him as durable as an apocalyptic cockroach picking a Fender.
Herewith, a couple of choice bits to wet your whistle:
On the inspiration for 1968 classic Jumpin' Jack Flash:
When you get a riff like "Flash," you get a great feeling of elation, a wicked glee. The lyrics came from a gray dawn at Redlands. Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside, and there was the sound of these heavy stomping rubber boots near the window, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer. It woke Mick up. He said, "What's that?" I said, "Oh, that's Jack. That's jumping Jack." I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase "Jumping Jack." Mick said, "Flash," and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it.
On setting fire to the Playboy Mansion in 1972 with Stones sax player Bobby Keys:
Bobby and I were just sitting in the john, comfortable, nice john, sitting on the floor, and we've got the doc's bag and we're just smorgasbording. "I wonder what these do?" Bong. And at a certain point, Bobby says, "It's smoky in here." And I'm looking at Bobby and can't see him. And the drapes are smoldering away; everything was just about to go off big-time. To the point where I can't see him, he's disappeared in this fog. "Yes, I guess it is a bit smoky in here." It was a really delayed reaction. … Some of my most outrageous nights I can only believe actually happened because of corroborating evidence. No wonder I'm famous for partying!
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467.