Large In My Psyche and Heart.

It’s only rock and roll, people.

I’m a little out of my mind. I have no idea how to relax. Of course, I don’t do much to try either, so I guess I can’t complain. I assume eventually, if I don’t die, I will wear down and be humbled into an aggravated calmness by time. I really need to make a decision around that. Like, should being calm and peaceful and in pursuit of joy and happiness be part of my life? Are those things important? Are they possible? Are they even good things? I don’t know. I’m amped up to think about it. Exhaustion is the closest I get to calm. Manic excitement is the closest I get to joy. Relief is the closest I get to happiness.

I like to play guitar.

So, this week is a big week. Well, a few weeks ago was really when the big day happened. I think some of you know that Keith Richards looms large in my psyche and heart. I don’t think I am alone in that. There are those of us who idolized the outlaw rock and roll image that he created and upheld. He was rock and roll to me when I was a kid. It wasn’t even about the music. It was just Keith. He was a human fuck you. I was fortunate in that I didn’t pursue the life that he represented so deeply that I died or, even more tragic, pursued a life in music. I say that because I just wasn’t cut out for it, and I was not a good enough player to do either. Or I probably just wasn’t a confident enough player to do it. Being in a rock band was not the direction my ego was dragging me and I think I am grateful for that. It did drag me down a drug hole but my conscience and heart always threw me a line if I got too far out.

The fact was, for years, Keith was a menacing mystery, king of the laid back riff of rhythm. It actually has taken me a lifetime to understand why he was and is so great at guitar. It took me years to understand his magic. It wasn’t until after I read his book that I realized that he was one of the great hyper-intelligent bullshit spinners of our time. There was plenty of hard truth, fact and history in there, but that guy can tell a story. He isn’t some brain-dead dope fiend. So, when the opportunity to talk to him for ten minutes happened I nearly lost my shit. Now, the opportunity to talk to him for an hour happened and… I did lose my shit. I was full of fanboy excitement that usually levels off after about ten minutes. Not this time. It just kept going. I did something with Keith that I hadn’t done in years, but I had to. There was really no choice. You’ll hear.

We did the interview at NPR in NYC. Keith was there to do Morning Edition and we were able to use the studio after. It was an amazing moment waiting around for Keith to finish that interview and a woman coming down the hall saying, ‘He’s smoking in there,' with a bit of panic in her voice. Everyone who heard her say it just stood there. Clearly no one was going to ask Keith to put his cigarette out.

So, enjoy Keith on Monday and on Thursday the slightly irascible and outspoken Nick DiPaolo talks to me during one of my visits to NYC. I’ve known Nick since I started. He’s an acquired taste. Not for the faint-hearted, pearl clutching crowd.


Boomer lives!