Music Lit 101 is a new feature here on the Figment News blog.  We’ll be writing about some of our favorite books on music and giving you some quick insights into why we thought each were a good read.  We welcome your reviews, so if you’ve read one of the books we’re highlighting please leave a comment below.  Likewise, we’d love to hear about any of the music-related books that you’ve read of late, so drop us a line or leave a comment below if you’ve got a good one to share.

“Life” by Keith Richards with James Fox (Little, Brown and Company 2010), is a fascinating read.  We all know about “Keef’s” excesses over the years, but what really shows in this book is his incredible love of music.  To Richards, music is what fuels him, and when he talks about it his prose changes from esoteric “Keefisms” to clear insightful explanations of his craft.  Whether he’s talking about his guitar style or his songwriting process it’s those moments that make “Life” shine.

Unfortunately, a lot of the advanced press on the book focused on his jabs at Mick Jagger, and while there are definitely jabs (he claims Jagger suffers from LVS.  Lead Vocalist Syndrome”), he also describes Jagger as his brother and is quick to point out his talents as a front man, songwriter and business man.   Where the two seem to differ though is over how important it is to remain loyal to the basic blues-based rock n’ roll that is the foundation of the Stones’ sound.  Richards clearly feels Jagger’s solo forays into pop and dance music were not a a sound move (pun intended), and an even worse betrayal was Jagger’s need to distance himself from the Rolling Stones while doing it.  Why distance yourself from the Rolling Stones when the Stones were and are as relevant as ever.   Sure Richard’s tunnel vision (or narcissism) doesn’t take into account whether his years as a junkie may have distanced Jagger from the Stones at the time, but whether you agree with him or not, you can’t help but marvel at how passionate this man is about a band he’s been a part of for almost 50 years.

To Keith Richards, the Stones and their music are his “life”, and what a life it is.

6 Responses to “Music Lit 101 – “Life””

  1. TMTYTF Says:

    I’m really enjoying My Appetite For Destruction by Steven Adler. I still really gotta finish it though.

  2. Eric Says:

    TMTYTF, that’s in my reading cue. Finishing up a book at the moment, but I’ll be reading that next. We’ll have to compare notes.

  3. frizbee Says:

    I’m currently reading a book called What’s That Sound? for my History of Pop and Rock class, which is really interesting. It covers pretty much the entire history of popular music, and there’s some really cool information in there. I recommend it.

  4. theHoseman Says:

    Mr. Richard’s book is on my list, but haven’t gotten to it yet.
    I did finally get my hands on a copy of Husker Du: the Story Of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock.
    I’ve always been more of a Replacements guy. I liked the Huskers, but never with the passion that I had for the Mats’. This book made me rethink some of that. At their heart, they were probably more my gig…in terms of melody (albeit hidden at times) and psychedelia.
    I will admit though…most people think of Bob Mould when the subject of Husker Du comes up, but I’ve always gravitated more to Grant Hart’s songs.
    Don’t know why…just have. Anyway, aside from a bit of repetition in places, it was an enjoyable read.

  5. FuriousGrace Says:

    Love this new feature, I have this book on my list of ones to read actually. I dislike it when the media focuses on negative points of a book but as they say, all publicity is good publicity and I am sure it didn’t hurt the sales…

  6. algoreyou Says:

    I just finished Dave Mustaine’s memoir (recommending it to everyone), next up “Life”.

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