Liz Phair Reviewed Keith Richards’ Life


As it turns out, Mick Jagger did not pen a response to the new Keith Richards autobiography, Life, and accidentally send it to a journalist, who published it on Slate. That was a joke (though the writer now calls his facts “fairly incontrovertible”). But Liz Phair, whose canonical album Exile in Guyville is famously (and arguably) a song-for-song reaction to the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, really did write about the new book!

Sound of the City caught up with Phair yesterday, ahead of her December 13 performance at the Bowery Ballroom, but more Phair is never a bad thing. Her assessment of Richards’ Life will appear in next weekend’s New York Times Book Review, but is available online in its entirety well in advance. It’s safe to say she loved the book — “I got tired of jotting ‘hahahaha’ and ‘LOL’ in the margins,” she writes — though Richards and the Stones’ influence on her own career goes unmentioned.

The singer opens her review by calling Richards a “global avatar of wish fulfillment” and insisting, “This cat put the joie in joie de vivre.” Her essay kicks off with a high-five:

As the legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards has done more, been more and seen more than you or I will ever dream of, and reading his autobiography, “Life,” should awaken (if you have a pulse and an I.Q. north of 100) a little bit of the rock star in you.

That’s rich coming from something of a rock star. Then again, who’s Stones caliber, even in their old age? Phair writes:

Kate Moss recounts a hilarious anecdote from 1998 in which Keith, sidestepping the festivities of his daughter Angela’s wedding at his manor house, Redlands, finds he’s short some spring onions he laid on a chopping block while fixing himself a light nosh of bangers and mash. When the thieving guest totters into the kitchen with the greens playfully tucked behind his ears, Keith grabs two sabers from the mantelpiece and goes chasing after the poor guy in a homicidal rage. I won’t even touch on the incident involving shepherd’s pie.

There’s more where that came from, with Phair insisting “you won’t want to miss a thing.” She seems to have taken Life as a sort of textbook, “and let me say it’s quite an education.” Read the whole thing here.