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Keith Richards

The first thing you see when you open the book - in big letters on the inside flap of the dust jacket - is "This is the Life. Believe it or not I haven't forgotten any of it. Thanks + praises Keith Richards " Now if you'll believe that .....

A pic of KR as a toddler - looking like an evil little bugger even then, plus his mum has him on a lead, plus he looks like he's dragging a club!

Reckoned that for most of his life he's only slept 2 or 3 nights a week, so therefore he's already lived 2 or 3 lifetimes!

Things you just have trouble reconciling with the present day KR:
(When I was a kid, an only child) "For companionship I kept pets. I had a little white mouse named Gladys.I would bring her to school and have a chat in the French lesson when it got boring. I'd feed her my dinner and lunch, and I'd come home with a pocketful of mouse shit. Mouse shit doesn't matter. It comes out in hardened pellets, there's no pong involved, it's not squidgy or anything like that. You just empty your pockets and out come these pellets."

What he calls "Keef's Guitar Workshop" he describes where the open chord riffs of Jack Flash and Gimme Shelter came from. "There are some people looking to play guitar. There's other people looking for a sound. I was looking for a sound when Brian and I were learning." They really needed other instruments to replicate the sounds they were trying to learn from American blues records. So copied T-Bone Walker with his double strings at once. "Chuck Berry is all double-string stuff. He very rarely plays single notes. The reason that cats started to play like that was economics - to eliminate the need for a horn section. With an amplified electric guitar you cd play two harmony notes and you cd basically save money on two saxophones and a trumpet."

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KR describes being taught a particular chord that he simply couldn't figure out by listening to it, by Bobby Goldsboro, who as KR says, "had a couple of hits in the 60's." The thing is, those songs were the complete antithesis of sort of stuff KR and the Stones play - they were extreme saccharine. Wikipedia describes his most famous song, Honey, as "a maudlin tear-jerker about the death of a man's young wife."

Mick Jagger took up the harp because he wanted to play in the band musically as well as singing. "And Mick turned out to be the most amazing harp player. Everything else we know he can do - he's a great showman - but to a musician, Mick Jagger is a great harp player. His phrasing is incredible. It's very Louis Armstrong, Little Walter, and that's saying something ... Mick is one of the best natural harp players I've heard. His harp playing is the one place you don't hear any calculation. I say to him 'Why can't you sing like that?' He says they're totally different things. But they're not - they're both blowing air out of your gob."

Six week tour supporting the Everly Brothers, but half way through it became clear that the audience was there for the Stones, not the EB's. "We got bigger and bigger and more and more crazy until basically all we thought about was how to get into a gig and how to get out. The actual playing time was was probably ten minutes max ... for eighteen months we never finished a show because it either ended in a riot or the cops stopped the show." We used to play "Popeye the Sailor Man" some nights and the audience didn't know any difference because they couldn't hear us."

"It got nasty in the provinces ... they put a chicken wire fence in front of us because of the sharpened pennies and beer bottles they flung at us - the guys that didn't like the chicks screaming at us... you cd see the same thing going on in clubs in the South and Midwest. Mr Wilson "Midnight Hour" Pickett, his stage set consisted of a rack of shotguns this side and a rack of shotguns that side. And the shotguns weren't there as props. They were loaded with rock salt, no heavy duty stuff, but enough to put anybody off going berserk."

KR said he went back on stage well after one show and cleaner said "Very good show. Not a dry seat in the house."

Bobby Keys described meeting Stones at concert in Texas, hating them before he'd even met them because 'stole' Buddy Holly song Not Fade Away. Then in dressing room before show the Stones talking abt how American bands changed out of street clothes for their shows. "Why don't we ever change clothes?" "Yeah that's a good idea." I'm expecting them to whip out some suits and ties, but they just changed clothes with each other. I thought that was great.

White guys in particular in America very threatened by long-haired Stones. In places like Nebraska we got used to them going "Hello girls", but their wives and daughters were looking at us and going "That's interesting". The guys facing whole range of new social challenges and very insecure because didn't know how to respond.

Dunedin in NZ, almost the southernmost city in the world looked like Tombstone and it felt like it ... a dark wet Sunday in Dunedin in 1965. I don't think you cd have found anything more depressing anywhere. The longest day of my life, it seemed to go on forever. We were usually pretty good at entertaining ourselves, but Dunedin made Aberdeen look like Las Vegas .... no chance of redemption or laughter ... that moment was the lowest ebb. "I think I'll stand on my head, try and recycle the drugs."

Mick and I spent months trying to write songs. We wrote some terrible songs. We ended Cliff Richard's run of hits when he recorded our "Blue Turns to Grey" - it was one of the rare times when one of his records just made it into the top 30 instead of going straight into the top 10. And when The Searchers did "Take It Or Leave It" it torpedoed them as well. Our songwriting was hobbling the opposition and we got paid for it.

Describes how Mick Jagger shagged his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Excuses it by saying that it was all engineered by a nasty film producer who just liked sabotaging people, and anyway I'd nicked her off Brian Jones. BUT he gets his revenge by pointing out that "she had no fun with his tiny todger. I know he's got an enormous pair of balls, but it doesn't quite fill the gap, does it?", and that he shagged Marianne Faithful one day (and had to jump out the window when Mick arrived home).

One night partying in his hotel room Mick called Charlie's room, woke him up and yelled, "Is that my drummer? Why don't you get your arse down here?" Charlie got dressed in his Saville Row suit, tie, shoes, shaved, came down, grabbed him and went boom! "Don't ever call me "your drummer" again. You're my fucking singer."

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