As anyone with half a brain and persistent hacking cough knows, today is a very special day. Today Little, Brown and Company publishes Life, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards' autobiography as told to/pieced together by British journalist James Fox.
Life has already received a fair amount of media attention; it's excerpted generously in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and Richards was even profiled above Taylor Swift on the front page of this past Sunday's New York Times Arts & Leisure section. In the book, we're told, he talks about Mick Jagger's wang and a few other things.
Rocks Off is still patiently waiting on our review copy, which means we're pacing back and forth between our office and the Press front desk every ten minutes or so. But as someone who is proud to share a birthday with Keef, we've long been a student of his unique brand of wisdom. Luckily, he's never been shy about sharing his feelings.
So until our copy of Life gets here, and for all of you who can't make it to Books a Million or Barnes & Noble until after work, Rocks Off combed the Internet for a few of Richards' choicest musings on life, the universe and everything. Besides "Never keep a dollar past sunset," of course.
"I'm Sagittarius, half-man, half-horse, with a license to shit in the street."
ON THE BLUES
"If you don't know the blues, ... there's no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music."
"I say good luck to people who want to emulate me, but they better realize what they're getting into; they better know that there's more to this than attitude. It's about the music; it's about the blues. That's what sustains me."
"I reckon there are three reasons why American R&B stars don't click with British teenage fans. One, they're old; two, they're black; three, they're ugly."
"Nobody ever wondered why the bluesmen were onstage until their old age: Muddy, Howlin' Wolf, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and so on. It's the same with us: Why does a dog lick his balls? Because he can! We play because we can. We do what we have to."
"I've never turned blue in someone else's bathroom. I consider that the height of bad manners."
"I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up in little bits of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared. It went down pretty well and I'm still alive."
ON KEEPING HEALTHY
"When I listen to what I did under the influence - 10 years of work - I don't think it either enhanced or impaired me. It didn't have that much to do with it."
"I'd hate to have to go around thinking of health and shit like that."
"Nobody's got the right to judge over what I am putting into my body, apart from myself."
ON LAW ENFORCEMENT
"I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police."
"We are not old men, we are not worried about petty morals." (Said in court, 1967)
ON MICK JAGGER
"I`ve always thought Mick`s most brilliant thing was that he could work in an area two foot square and give a very exciting performance."
"Dogshit in the Doorway" (On Jagger's 2001 solo album, Goddess In the Doorway)
"The only things Mick and I disagree about is the band, the music and what we do."
"I always judge how Mick's feeling about a show by how many songs he's willing to change in a night. I don't make the set list up because he's got to sing them. If there's 4 or 5 different songs from the night before, I know that he's really feeling like on the ball."
"When Mick plays the harmonica, it's the only time he's not thinking. It comes up from inside of him, and you get the pure unadulterated Mick Jagger."
"My epitaph will be: "Fuckers! I told you I wasn't feeling well!"
"What is life but playing with time?"
ON PUNK ROCK
"What's the point of listening to that shit? It's for mass-media consumption anyway."
ON ROCK AND ROLL
"I don't think rock n' roll songwriters should worry about art. I don't think it comes into it... as far as I'm concerned, Art is just short for Arthur."
ON THE ROLLING STONES
"I remember a sense of doom when our first record got in the top 20. It was conventional wisdom at the time that it would all be over in two years."
"I think we think we`re getting the hang of this thing, you know?"
"None of us back down easily... Someone once asked me if we still fight about this stuff. Was Sharon Tate's living room a mess? Of course we still fight, but it's also an argument within yourself."
"We had enormous gunfights about which songs to play. Everything was cool. Once the smoke cleared."
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"It's great to be here. It's great to be anywhere."