Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

by Keith Richards & James Fox

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:58 pm

Pg. 241 "I can hear the whole band take off behind me every time I play 'Flash'--there's this extra sort of turbo overdrive. You jump on the riff and it plays you. We have ignition? Ok, let's go. Darryl Jones will be right next to me, on bass. 'What are we on now, Flash'? Ok, lets go, one two three...' And then you don't look at each other again, because you know you're in for the ride now. It'll always make you play it different, depending on what tempo you're in.

Levitation is probably the closest analogy to what I feel--whether it's 'Jumpin' Jack' or 'Satisfaction' or 'All Down the Line'--when I hit the right tempo and the band's behind me. It's like taking off in a Learjet. I'm elevated to this other space. People say, 'Why don't you give it up?' I can't retire until I croak. I don't think they quite understand what I get out of this. I'm not doing it just for the money or for you. I'm doing it for me."


Do you understand?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #16 ~

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:01 pm

Yes, sort of but that becasue I've heard him say this before and watched alot of the concert videos when they play that song you can see it in his face the exhileration of playing those songs. I would imagine its almost a spiritual expereince. He lives and breathes the live performance. Poetry in motion.

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:53 pm

I've seen it too. I recently watched "Shine a Light" and there is a moment there, can't remember which song right now, where you can see that look on his face. He is totally lost in the music. How awesome it must feel to be part of that! :giddy:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:29 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I've seen it too. I recently watched "Shine a Light" and there is a moment there, can't remember which song right now, where you can see that look on his face. He is totally lost in the music. How awesome it must feel to be part of that! :giddy:

Yes, thats it totally lost in the music fantastic but also when they play Jumpin' Jack Flash there is something else a look of pure joy he seems to express.
He mentions something about that too I think to Martin Scorsesse in the Shine a Light film or maybe its the extras about the levitation.

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:38 pm

I think I understand. I think anything you really and truly passionately love to do can take you out of this ordinary space and transport you to another world.

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby Bix » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:57 pm

I had to go look it up, because this passage reminded me so strongly of how Nick Hornby has the character JJ in "A Long Way Down" describe what playing music with a band means to him: "When Big Yellow played live, it was like some kind of Pentacostal service; instead of applause and whistles and hoots, there'd be tears and teeth-grinding and speaking in tongues. We saved souls. If you love rock 'n' roll, all of it. . .then you'd have wanted to quit your job and come live inside our amps until your ears fell off. Those shows were my reason for living, and I now know that this is not a figure of speech." And again on page 149 where he talks about the song "I Got Your Back" that he and Eddie wrote and developed into their signature song, ". . .Pure joy. It felt like surfing, or, whatever, a natural high. You could ride those chords like waves. I had that feeling a hundred times a year, and not many people get it even once in their lives. And that's what I had to give up, the ability to create that routinely, whenever I felt like it, as part of my working day. . ." Even friends I have known who play instruments exhibit a bit of this "riding the music" when they really get into playing, so it must be so much more heightened for those who make their living making music.
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby Jackslady » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:23 pm

Yes I think I can understand what he means too - he is a true musician and it must be like being on a magic carpet ride when the show is going well and all the musicians are in sync. I remember he emphasised sometimes the qualities needed for a good bandleader and I think it's something he took very seriously.
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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:11 pm

He also said again I think to Martin Scorsesse that it was also the feedback from the fans also made him feel like he was levitating. I know watching him you often feel at the end of the show he doesn't want to stop. They often have played JJF at the end of the shows and it goes on forever.
Earlier to day I was watching him in concert with the X pensive winos and he was doing the same thing with Happy, just didn't want to stop playing felt and looked like he could have gone on forever.

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby jruoss » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:36 pm

I will admit that while I admire the Stones, I am not a huge fan of that band per se. But having seen many different musicians in action, it seems to be something all the good ones have in common, the high they get from playing the music. And I think all of them who are lucky enough to make a living at it are very grateful because they can immerse themselves completely without having to worry about going back to a "day job". Some people get their kicks jumping out of airplanes or climbing mountains. I think music can provide those same highs, probably more so, because it transcends the physical world and there are no limits, and it is often a shared experience.
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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:39 pm

Good memory, Bix!

JJF is the song I was remembering from Shine a Light.

I agree, juross. I heard a musician say one time that one of the things that was so spectacular is you hit that moment, share it and its gone. A singular, wonderful point in time. You may have more but they will all be different and special.

I know athletes talk about being in the "zone", or a runner's high. I think it must be a similar feeling.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby Buster » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:04 pm

I absolutely get what he's talking about. It doesn't have to be rock and roll, you don't need to be a superstar...when you are into playing music with other people, the focus goes far away from self, into a totally different realm. I envy musicians who can sustain that feeling for a whole concert.. For me, the connection and utter "rightness" of those shared moments are transforming. Sometimes it is as simple as one perfect note - the whole thing clicks in and there is absolutely nothing else. The entire universe is right there, and it's all good.
I would never call myself a musician, but I play a lot, and having felt that levitation or transportation or maybe more simply, pure joy, I know that I will always play. Having tasted it, there is absolutely no way to walk away.

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:03 pm

Of course I understand. It's the same feeling when I arrive at work every morning.
Doesn't everyone feel that way about their job? :harhar:

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:34 pm

SnoopyDances wrote:Of course I understand. It's the same feeling when I arrive at work every morning.
Doesn't everyone feel that way about their job? :harhar:


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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:49 pm

Yeah, I get what he's talking about. I'm not a musician but it makes perfect sense, why I know the feeling I get when I'm totally in love with what I'm listening to, lost as only a listener can be, I imagine it must be ten times the experience, one hundred times perhaps, to be creating music with people around you participating in the same act of creation. Ecstacy. Ecstatic creation.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Life Question #16 ~ Levitation

Unread postby fansmom » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:57 pm

My former voice teacher wrote her dissertation on the "transcendent moment" in vocal performance. Being "in the moment," becoming one with the music and fellow performers. Sounds as though she should have interviewed Keith. :biggrin:


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