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Friday, August 01, 2008


I just finished reading Victor Bockris' Biography of Keith Richards. I read the Bockris bio of Lou Reed a number of years ago, and I gotta say that I don't much care for Victor. He's a sensationalist and treats every tale that he's told as fact. In the Keith book, for example, Bockris puts way too much stock into Anita Pallenberg's version of events, and I found at least one glaring example of a factual error that could have easily been checked.

In the book he declares that after the Stones filmed the 'Rock and Roll Circus', Keith and Mick took off for a vacation in South America during which they wrote some songs for 'Let It Bleed', including 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. The trouble is that they played 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' in the 'Rock and Roll Circus'.

Did this guy write a book about Keith and not take the time to watch the 'Rock and Roll Circus'? It makes me wonder what else he got wrong.

There was some good info, if indeed the info is kosher.

I loved the 'Bridges to Babylon' bit. If Victor is to be relied upon, the story goes that after the 'Voodoo Lounge' tour Mick wanted to make another worthless solo album, but Keith and Ronnie - who had finally, after almost twenty years, been made a partner with an equal vote - wanted to work on another Stones record while the band was still hot from the tour. Mick did not want to, but he was outvoted. He agreed with a stipulation, that he could bring in his own producers for his songs. Keith agreed. So, Mick shows up with Babyface and the Dust Brothers and proceeds to try and make a Stones record with loops and samples. Keith shows up two weeks late with Waddy Wachtel and is dumbfounded by the process that Mick and and his camp are using. What does Keith do? He makes Jagger so miserable over the course of the next few weeks that Mick actually walked out on the sessions. Keith then told the Dust Brothers and Babyface that they were no longer needed. I'm sure the phrase 'fuck off' was involved. Then Keith and Waddy took all of Micks tracks and re-recorded live takes over the loops and samples, finished off Keith's tracks, mixed the record, and sent it to Jagger who was forced to admit that the final product was much better than it had been before Keith took over.

The Stones are about groove, and you don't get groove from machines, you get it from Keith and Charlie playing together.

Bockris does a good job, however, of shedding light on the complete man, not just the junky Rock God, but the artist, husband, father, and friend.

I only recommend the book to die-hards, and I implore anyone who does read it to keep in mind the probable inaccuracies.

Naturally, I ordered it before I finished reading you post. Love the Voodoo intel. Babyface/Dust Bros. Fuck that shit.
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