People have been asking me what I think of Keith's book, "Life." So far, I've only had the chance to skim through it, so I don't feel entitled to give a full review. I've enjoyed the little I've read -- mostly jumping to the stories I personally witnessed -- but have caught several chronological errors. Nothing too egregious, but some of the mistakes present a problem for anyone who's read "Under Their Thumb." Who got it right, German or Richards?
To be fair, I've caught a couple of errors in my own book since its publication. On page 257, I state that sax man Bobby Keys began touring with the Stones in 1972. It's true he made his American debut with the band that year, but he'd already joined them for their 1970 and '71 tours of Europe and the UK. I've long enjoyed bootleg recordings from those tours, so I should've caught my error sooner. But I didn't, and it made it into my book.
My other inaccuracy comes on page 214. I'm telling Keith's friend Freddy Sessler that the Stones have never announced an audience member's birthday onstage. "The Stones aren't Willard Scott," I tell him sarcastically. "They don't do birthday announcements. They've NEVER done a birthday announcement." Well, I recently watched the film "Ladies and Gentlemen" and was surprised to hear Mick deliver such a shout-out during a 1972 concert. I'd seen that film several times as a kid, but didn't remember that part. (And of course, when you think about it, the Stones must have regularly done birthday announcements when they were playing school dances in 1962.)
But speaking of Freddy Sessler: A lot of people tell me he was their favorite character in my book. I have a chapter in "Under Their Thumb" about him getting busted in Las Vegas during the 1994 "Voodoo Lounge" tour. Keith alludes to that same incident in "Life," but says it was on the 1999 "No Security" tour. It's no big deal and doesn't change the outcome of the story, but I can assure you that "Under Their Thumb" got it right, and "Life" got it wrong. I was with Freddy that day, and Keith wasn't.
You want another "Life" error? Well, I feel funny correcting Keith about the date of his father's death, but that's another place where our books disagree. On page 345 of "Under Their Thumb," I state that Bert died in 2000, while on page 546 of "Life," Keith states it was 2002. Granted, Bert was Keith's dad, not mine, and Keith's the one who snorted him, not me. But I'm right, Keith's wrong. Maybe he just blocked it from his memory.
Like I said, Keith's errors are of no significance to most of his readers, and they are far from the most controversial parts of his book. I mention the two examples here only because they clash with "Under Their Thumb." I mean, Keith has that bit in his book about the size of Mick's genitalia, and I can offer no personal knowledge about that.