Today I went to an acupuncturist in Tampa. It was my first time visiting this office and having this sort of treatment. I will go back. After the treatment, I went to lunch with friends and we spooled our conversation around the fact that so many musicians have either left the scene due to illness or have gone to the big guitar in the sky. Which brought us to Keith Richards.
The conversation went something like this:
“It’s a wonder that Richards is even alive.”
“Yeah, he’s really lived a hard life.”
“Too many drugs, he led such a fast life.”
“But he’s still going strong.”
“Yeah, but I heard he really likes to tend to his gardens now.”
“Yeah, I heard that Grace Slick likes to tend to her gardens now, too.”
What a conversation, huh!?!
Keith Richards is a unique character, though. He is still standing after everything he put his body through. Think of this — his younger years were filled with too much illicit drugs, alcohol and anything and everything else you can think of. He has been arrested and put on trial five times for his drug use, and finally gave up cocaine at the age of 62 when he fell out of a coconut tree and had to have brain surgery to put a metal plate in his skull.
There is no doubt that Keith Richards qualifies for leading a fast life. And it has nothing to do with his speed. It has everything to do with his living a long and preponderant life filled with drugs, alcohol, sex and what rock ‘n roll legends are made of — rock ‘n roll.
Don’t get leading a fast life confused with having a life in the fast lane. When you have a life in the fast lane, you may have a bit of danger on your side, but mostly you are active, doing many duties at once and, here’s the clincher, a great deal of wealth is involved. So, leading a fast life means that you are heading toward either jail time or death at an early age, (which Keith Richards has evaded) while having a life in the fast lane is being very active because you can because you have the bucks behind you. Think of another Brit, Richard Branson, or I should say, Sir Richard Branson, who is quite a dare-devil (the dangerous side of him shows his kite-surfing, holding or attempting world records for sailing, and ballooning across the ocean) while holding onto a multi-organization and being involved in humanitarian ventures. He, definitely, is the epitome of living life in the fast lane.
So, what about Keith Richards’ “hard life”. He definitely did not have a difficult period that he went through (or it doesn’t appear so), and we did not insinuate that he was some rich and privileged person who eternally complained about not having enough or getting his way, so what did we mean by him having a hard life? In this connotation, we meant that he lived his life hard — doing drugs, flirting with danger and death. It is kinda like having a fast life but it’s doing hard time while living the fast life. Either way, that is Keith Richards.
And he has come a long way. In the October 28, 2010 edition of BBC Magazine, “…during the notorious Redlands raid of 1967, he (Keith Richards) allowed the police into his home in Sussex because he was under the misapprehension, as a result of copious quantities of LSD, that the officers were dwarves “wearing dark blue, with shiny bits and helmets.”
That was then. Now, he, along with being an avid reader, strolling in his gardens, and collecting first edition books for his vast collection of books, has written a children’s book with his daughter Theodora, titled, “Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and my First Guitar.”
May he rock on forever….
Until next time…have a great week…