I picked up the new issue of Rolling Stone to read on the commute home tonight. The cover story: an excerpt from Keith Richards' upcoming memoir, Life.
(As I mentioned in a previous music-related post) While I've loved the Beatles since my preschool days, it took me awhile to appreciate the Stones. Their music had a much harder edge, of course (especially to the ears of someone whose tastes ran to the Partridge Family, the Osmonds & the Bay City Rollers, lol). Their drug use during my teenage years (and Keith's in particular) was notorious... and then there was that business of the heroin bust in Toronto, where the prime minister's hippie wife, Margaret Trudeau, partied with the band at the Harbour Castle hotel.
But I started to like the band more in my high school years. I know most critics think their best stuff came from the 1960s -- but their three late 70s/early 80s albums, Some Girls, Tattoo You & Emotional Rescue, were an important part of the soundtrack of my life at that time.
These days, I think of the band, and Keith in particular, with affection. (One of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons is the one where the family sends Homer to the Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp. At the end, Homer wants to know why they can't stay longer. Mick says, "The lawn isn't going to mow itself," & Keith adds, "And I have to put up the storm windows. Winter's coming!" At the very end, you see Mick mowing the lawn while next door, Keith is on a ladder, hammering in the storm windows, cigarette dangling from his mouth, of course, lol.) There's something likeable about the guy. He's so completely honest about himself. There are absolutely no pretentions about Keith Richards. He is what he is and he makes no excuses for himself.
Anyway, I was already looking forward to reading his memoir, which is due in bookstores next week. (You KNOW this guy has some stories to tell...!!) I knew he had two daughters with his wife, supermodel Patti Hansen, as well as an older son & daughter with Anita Pallenberg. But then, reading the Rolling Stone article that prefaced the book excerpts, I was stunned to read that Keith had another son with Anita -- named Tara (after his friend, Tara Browne -- heir to the Guiness fortune -- who died in a car crash & was the inspiration for the Beatles' song "Day in the Life") -- who died in 1976. Subsequent Googling tells me that baby Tara died when he was about 10 weeks old of SIDS, while Keith was on tour.
“Leaving a newborn infant is something I can’t forgive myself for,” says Richards in Life.
“The first time we talked about that," Fox [James Fox, the co-author of the book] says, "Keith couldn’t get out more than five words. Then we realised we had to go back to it. He told me that he thought about it every week.”
Who knew? Keith Richards is "one of us." I will definitely be adding this to the top of my reading list.