Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

by Keith Richards & James Fox

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:54 am

Keith has written honestly about his lifestyle, and that of the Stones. Were you surprised, offended, amused? Were they just reflective of the times and the industry? What say you?
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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:04 pm

Very honestly. I thought the first time I read it that maybe he'd written too much about it maybe too intimately about it and went on about it too much after all it was only 10 years of his life not all of his life and as he mostly cleaned up for the tours in fact it works out as about 7 years of his life on the hard stuff. But it didn't bother me the second read through so much.
was I surprised no I have always known about Keith's addiction and how much he was into it certainly wasn't offended by it it is something that was part of his life.
I think it certainly was reflective of the times certainly the heavy use of acid in the 60's. As for Heroin well there have been so many musicians that have used it Keith wasn't the only Stone either. Mick Taylor became addicted to it, Charlie Watts also had a problem with it and even Mr control freak himself Mick Jagger used it. And of course there were the people around them Jimmy Miller their producer, Marshall Chess, Andy Johns the engineer, Bobby Keys, probably more.

I think though that his attitude to women though confirmed something I thought I knew already that he was more respectful of them didn't just sleep around with just any groupie that passed his way unlike some others.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:29 pm

On page 521 when he writes about Etta James who was also a junkie Keith says "... and like all ex-junkies, we talked about the junk." Whether he is using drugs right now or not, Keith is a junkie, and the book really expresses that part of him. When I finished reading Life I had a really uncomfortable feeling. I wasn't offended, exactly - I just kind of felt sick.
When someone like Keith Richards who is successful and famous and talented and charming talks about addiction, I think it becomes part of the mystique. There is a sort of glamor that has no relationship at all to what addiction really means in the life of ordinary people. I come from a family where addiction has been an ongoing issue across several generations. I know about jails and hospitals and loss on so many levels for so many people, including -- maybe especially -- the non-addicted members of the family who suffer greatly. Keith says "The ultimate party, if it's any good, you can't remember it." (page 329) So the view he presents of drug addiction is romanticized. He doesn't have a balanced view of what his addiction really meant. To co-workers. To property owners. To his family. To fans.
This review in the Huffington Post expresses my thoughts better than I can, especially the last paragraphs in italics.
But I don't think he could have written the book without including all the drug adventures. :-/

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:51 pm

Nebraska wrote:
There is a sort of glamor that has no relationship at all to what addiction really means in the life of ordinary people

I think that is a very interesting point and I feel in some way Keith also was trying to say that. He wasn't like the ordinary person that becomes a junkie he had the wealth etc to cushion himself from the misery to some extent that ordinary addicts inflict on themselves and those around them. Not saying he didn't inflict misery becasue clearly he did but also he was never really in the same place that ordinary addicts are. Hope that makes sense. I'm not glamourising him either just saying.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby shadowydog » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:28 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Nebraska wrote:
There is a sort of glamor that has no relationship at all to what addiction really means in the life of ordinary people

I think that is a very interesting point and I feel in some way Keith also was trying to say that. He wasn't like the ordinary person that becomes a junkie he had the wealth etc to cushion himself from the misery to some extent that ordinary addicts inflict on themselves and those around them. Not saying he didn't inflict misery becasue clearly he did but also he was never really in the same place that ordinary addicts are. Hope that makes sense. I'm not glamourising him either just saying.


I'm not sure I agree that because he had wealth he was in some extent immune to the dangers of drug addiction. Look at all the music and movie "stars" who have died from drug addiction. The entire culture that exists in the music and movie industries makes drugs available and somehow ok to use. This needs to change. We lose too many talented people who get sucked into the world of dangerous addiction. Johnny and Keith may have been able to walk away from this without being damaged, but many can't and go down to ruin or death. And I agree with nebraska on the fact that their star power makes use of drugs seem ok to their fans.
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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:41 pm

shadowydog wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Nebraska wrote:
There is a sort of glamor that has no relationship at all to what addiction really means in the life of ordinary people

I think that is a very interesting point and I feel in some way Keith also was trying to say that. He wasn't like the ordinary person that becomes a junkie he had the wealth etc to cushion himself from the misery to some extent that ordinary addicts inflict on themselves and those around them. Not saying he didn't inflict misery becasue clearly he did but also he was never really in the same place that ordinary addicts are. Hope that makes sense. I'm not glamourising him either just saying.


I'm not sure I agree that because he had wealth he was in some extent immune to the dangers of drug addiction. Look at all the music and movie "stars" who have died from drug addiction. The entire culture that exists in the music and movie industries makes drugs available and somehow ok to use. This needs to change. We lose too many talented people who get sucked into the world of dangerous addiction. Johnny and Keith may have been able to walk away from this without being damaged, but many can't and go down to ruin or death. And I agree with nebraska on the fact that their star power makes use of drugs seem ok to their fans.

I wasn't saying he was immune to the dangers of addiction he wasn't, although he thinks to some degree he was and as a fan I've never thought it OK that he was an addict . But it is part of who he is and there is nothing anyone can do about that as to whether it influences anyone well I don't know not sure these days that anyone would be influenced by Keith. I do agree though about what you say that the idea that that culture that exists in the industry needs to change. I think there is less of it though than there was certainly in the rock and pop world but I think its a hard thing to irradicate.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby gemini » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:46 pm

Surprised no, but maybe to the extent he went before kicking the habit. There must be something to having to hit bottom first. Money unfortunately seems to be the ticket to an expensive drug habit. I agree he doesn’t worry so much about the example to his young fans but does try to tell the low points in this book. What bothered me far more ( hope I am not jumping into a future question) was the effect it had on his own children. He and evidently his wife let his mother raise their daughter because they obviously were incapable and Marlon growing up far before his time.
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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:03 pm

gemini wrote:Surprised no, but maybe to the extent he went before kicking the habit. There must be something to having to hit bottom first. Money unfortunately seems to be the ticket to an expensive drug habit. I agree he doesn’t worry so much about the example to his young fans but does try to tell the low points in this book. What bothered me far more ( hope I am not jumping into a future question) was the effect it had on his own children. He and evidently his wife let his mother raise their daughter because they obviously were incapable and Marlon growing up far before his time.

Anita was never his wife.
Not sure he expected young fans whoever they may be to read the book he seems perplexed that it was as succesful as it was.
He didn't invent the mythology that surrounded him he just played up to it. Until 1973 no one even knew he was an addict I have seen an interview where he says to him it was a private matter it was only becasue the authorities seemed to be determined to bust him all the time that it became public knowledge.

Btw sorry if it sounds like I'm defending him all the time but I am a fan and I can't help it

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:42 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Btw sorry if it sounds like I'm defending him all the time but I am a fan and I can't help it

I know it is difficult for you to be objective about some things where Keith is concerned, GG. :hug: It would be the same for me if someone said unpleasant things about Johnny.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:46 pm

nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Btw sorry if it sounds like I'm defending him all the time but I am a fan and I can't help it

I know it is difficult for you to be objective about some things where Keith is concerned, GG. :hug: It would be the same for me if someone said unpleasant things about Johnny.

I don't think you or anyone else has said anything unpleasant and I can't begin to imagine what its like for you having had to deal with addiction in your family :hug:

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:22 pm

Interesting discussion going on here.

While reading the book I did not think about how his words might affect impressionable young people. But I totally see that now that it has been pointed out to me.

I do remember thinking that he was VERY lucky - kind of like my 87 year old dad, who is a lifelong smoker but has had no ill effects due to it.

I don't think that having money protected him. It may have helped when he was ready to get treatment. I also think that he was able to survive it because he was smart about it - how to measure it out, and all. He seemed to know how to pace himself. And I found it all fascinating....not knowing much about heroin myself.

I think I was surprised that he wasn't as much of a bad boy as I was expecting. In terms of sex, I was expecting a lot more of that in the book, based on some comments I had heard from some who had read it before I did. I was not expecting him to be as respectful of women as he was. I wasn't expecting a shy kid or a guy who actually had women friends. I wasn't expecting to find out that he had been married to his current wife, Patti, for 28 years. Shows you just how little I knew about him.


gemini wrote: I agree he doesn’t worry so much about the example to his young fans but does try to tell the low points in this book. What bothered me far more ( hope I am not jumping into a future question) was the effect it had on his own children.

Gemini, we actually do not have a question on the children. So if you have anything else to add, feel free. And if there is something on them that you would like to discuss that does not pertain to this particular thread, you could save it up for the final question, which will ask you if there is anything else you'd like to discuss.
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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:37 pm

Very interesting points Liz :ok:
I have looked alot into heroin myself I guess I wanted to know alot more about it because of Keith's addiction. I remember I wanted to know about it back in the 70's but becasue there was no internet I couldn't find out much at the time, I just wanted to understand how it affected someone etc. So in a way reading about it from Keith's POV was interesting, not sure I'd say fascinating though :lol:
Yeah Keith isn't really a bad boy that was just the mythology that surrounded the Stones I think, he was basically the shy one and it seems around women too, but I already knew this too I think.

One thing about Keith's wealth I can't find where I read it now but the judge at his Toronto trial did point out that since he was a person of wealth it seemed unlikley that he was trafficing heroin since he didn't need the money and that charge was dropped or something like that.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Jackslady » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:47 pm

When I was young I looked upon Keith and Anita Pallenberg as being a very glamorous couple. I'm a shy person and have always lacked the confidence to do anything particularly remarkable with my life - I've always been attracted to bohemians, people who think outside the box and who have the guts to be themselves. When I was younger and more impressionable, I read Barbara Charone's biography of Keith, which, whilst it touches on his addiction issues, still allows him to retain an air of louche mystique.

I confess I was quite startled by his brutal honesty in Life - I feel he really tells it like it must have been. I saw that there was nothing glamourous or heroic about his addiction in any way - I too, was struck by how he and Anita became incapable of raising their own children. I think they are lucky that Marlon and Angela have turned out to be so well balanced. It really struck me how just because he was Keith Richards, he was in no way exempt from the desperate, grim realities of addiction. I was also amazed to learn how he had to live as a sort of fugitive, unable to stay in this country or that, constantly hounded by the law and so on. Sorry if my comments are rather naive, but I think my point is that it's so easy to view "naughty" celebrities as being sort of glamourous outlaws and renegades, whereas in reality their lives can be truly messed up.

I mean Keith no disrespect - I really like him and I think being the true musician that he is, his drug use was part of his world, as GG has said, numerous musicians do it, but I hope his honesty will speak to any young people who read the book, and will show them that using drugs really isn't the way to go in life.

I agree that ex addicts seem to feel a need to talk about it often. I'm a fan of Russell Brand and he has made a whole career out of talking about his own addiction issues with heroin and alcohol. He still mentions this frequently in interviews even though it is years ago now. I've met him and was struck by how how different he is from his public persona - being a quiet and thoughtful person sometimes.

My heart goes out to anyone whose family has been affected by drugs. :hug:
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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:15 pm

I have Barbara Charone's book JL, not very good in my opinion, the first chapter reads like a peice of fiction the rest is mostly made up of quotes from other people about Keith for someone supposedly so close to Keith and Anita she seemed to not know what was going on in reality.

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Re: Life Question #13 ~ Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:19 pm

gemini wrote:Surprised no, but maybe to the extent he went before kicking the habit. There must be something to having to hit bottom first. Money unfortunately seems to be the ticket to an expensive drug habit. I agree he doesn’t worry so much about the example to his young fans but does try to tell the low points in this book. What bothered me far more ( hope I am not jumping into a future question) was the effect it had on his own children. He and evidently his wife let his mother raise their daughter because they obviously were incapable and Marlon growing up far before his time.

I thought some of the passages written by Marlon were rather heart-breaking to read. That was not much of a life for a child, really. Angela just sort of disappeared - they sent her off to Doris and that was the end of her. Hopefully there is more to Keith's relationship with her than the one in the pages of the book. I wonder why he selected some things to write about in great detail and others to barely mention or skip all together. Unless it was to produce a book that had more sensational elements that would be more appealing from a commercial standpoint. Marlon moving from room to room as each became uninhabitable makes for more enticing material than visits to Angela at Doris's house -- if such visits happened.


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