Hail to the Keef. What's left to say about Keith Richards?
So much ink has been spilled trying to pin down the essence of the esteemed
gentleman that we won't presume to add to it. Instead, and by way of wishing
the Rolling Stones' guitarist a happy 52nd birthday, we offer a picture of
Keith Richards and his partner in crime Mick Jagger from the mid-'70s. It is
composed of words, but it captures the ying/yang of this great rock 'n' roll
partnership. The following can be found in Nick Kent's excellent book, The
Dark Stuff, which collects some of his best writing (see ATN issue 1.10,
Oct., for a review) .
"Those two were a regular case book study in
contrasts," wrote Kent. "In the flesh Jagger looked smaller and less impressive
than one might imagine, so he had to work any room that he entered. Which is to
say he had to flit around ceaselessly, wave his hands expressively a lot,
wiggle his bum a bit, chat with certain people while pointedly ignoring others.
He was constantly on the move, his body language like that of an over-indulged
eleven year old allowed to stay up late and show-off at this parent's dinner
But he'd only stay the center of attention until Keith Richards
walked into the room. At which time all eyes would shift to the guitarist and
pretty much stay that way until the rest of the evening. Keith wasn't what
you'd call a mingler. He'd lope into a room, often accompanied by a couple of
unsavory individuals who seemed destined to have their faces turning up on some
FBI wanted poster in the not-too-distant future, slumped down on a chair, turn
his back on the milling throng and glower a lot. Talk about drop-dead cool! I
thought he was just like Lee Marvin in The Commancheros, only with
better hair and a bad-ass pirate earring. There was also this doomed poetic
quality about him that Marianne Faithful pegged nicely when she talked about
'how if you're an over-imaginative schoolgirl whose read her Shelly and Byron,
well that's what Keith Richard's is.' This perfect vision of dammed youth. Even
though he's turning more and more into Count Dracula."
It's also the
birthday of Sam Andrews (Big Brother and the Holding Company), and Chas