…..In a campaign season when many men — and women — are taking harsh stances that could hurt women, a chivalrous voice has at last arrived.  Oddly enough, it belongs to a renegade pirate whose motto is “Keep it dark”: Keith Richards.  You’d think that an only child whose mother killed all the pets he kept as companions would not grow up to be so positive about women.  “I put a note on her bedroom door, with a drawing of a cat, that said ‘Murderer,’ ” Richards writes in “Life,” his new memoir.  “I never forgave her for that.”  His mom, Doris, who didn’t like the muss and fuss, reacted nonchalantly: “Shut up. Don’t be soft.”  But the first thing he did when he began making money with a little band called the Rolling Stones was buy Mum a house.

His reaction when the Stones started to attract hordes of “feral, body-snatching girls” was not titillation but terror.  “I was never more in fear for my life than I was from teenage girls,” he writes.  “The ones that choked me, tore me to shreds, if you got caught in a frenzied crowd of them — it’s hard to express how frightening they could be.  You’d rather be in a trench fighting the enemy than to be faced with this unstoppable killer wave of lust and desire, or whatever it is — it’s unknown even to them.”  He continues: “The problem is if they get their hands on you, they don’t know what to do with you.  They nearly strangled me with a necklace, one grabbed one side of it, the other grabbed the other, and they’re going, ‘Keith, Keith,’ and meanwhile they’re choking me.”

The shy English Boy Scout and choirboy who started out with “no chick in the world” describes the women he was involved with — from road flings to his manager to his ex, Anita Pallenberg — with candor but generosity.  Even groupies are accorded respect. “You could look upon them more like the Red Cross,” he says.  “They’d wash your clothes, they’d bathe you and stuff.” Learning that there’s a blind girl who loyally follows the band, he arranges for her to get rides from the group’s truck drivers.  “I’ve been saved by chicks more times than by guys,” he writes. “Sometimes just that little hug and kiss and nothing else happens.  Just keep me warm for the night, just hold on to each other when times are hard, times are rough.”  The Prince of Darkness who got in trouble with feminists for “Under My Thumb” is, it turns out, a cuddler who loves strong, high-spirited women…..The biggest “seductress” in his life was heroin, he writes, which he relied on to anesthetize him from the “blah blah blah” of show business, something he did not enjoy as much as Jagger.  He said he never collected women, like Jagger and Bill Wyman, or “paid for it,” or indulged women who collected rock stars.  “I’ve never been able to go to bed with a woman just for sex,” writes the author, happily married for decades to the former model Patti Hansen, whom he is supporting through bladder cancer.  “I’ve no interest in that.  I want to hug you and kiss you and make you feel good and protect you.  And get a nice note the next day, stay in touch.”  The consummate gentleman.  Who knew?

Reference : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/opinion/27dowd.html

Keith also appeared on NPR with Terri Gross on Oct 26th 2010 –

FT : Great Gig In The Sky

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Pink Floyd’s early days, Richard Wright was ribbed by his band mates for appearing to play the same keyboard motif in each song.  “Rick’s Turkish Delight”, they called it, as he added another layer of swirling eastern chords to the scribbling guitars and spacey vocals of their 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  Wright could also be critical of his contributions.  The songs he wrote for A Saucerful of Secrets in 1968 he later judged “embarrassing”.  “Sysyphus”, an avant-garde piano suite composed the following year, was “pretentious”.  Yet while his modesty was an attractive quality in a band that became increasingly grandiose over time, it obscures the crucial role he played in Pink Floyd’s turbulent history – one that comes to a close with Wright’s death on Monday aged 65 after suffering cancer. 

Pink Floyd’s journey from underground psychedelic rockers to one of the world’s biggest bands began at an architectural college in London where Wright enrolled as a student in 1962, alongside the band’s drummer Nick Mason and bassist Roger Waters.  Mason remembered Wright as shy and introverted when they met.  Born in 1943, the self-taught keyboardist came from a middle-class family in north London: his father was chief biochemist at Unigate Dairies.  Unusually for aspiring rock musicians of the time, he was privately educated.  Early versions of the band went under dubious names such as The Architectural Abdabs until, joined by Syd Barrett in 1965, they settled on The Pink Floyd.  Backed by a hallucinogenic light show and playing songs mixing Lewis Carroll-style surrealism with wild experimental rock, they emerged as leaders of London’s psychedelic scene…..In the first phase of Pink Floyd’s career, Wright was widely seen as the band’s second creative force after Barrett.  The pair shared vocals on the opening song of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and his Farsifal organ, for all the teasing about its limited range, was a vital motor behind the band’s pioneering space-rock.  Wright was closer to Barrett than the rest of the band, but he sided with Waters and Mason in ejecting Pink Floyd’s chief songwriter when Barrett’s mental instability became unmanageable.  Heavy LSD use had made him dysfunctional, playing a single guitar note at shows and staring blankly into space as his colleagues desperately tried to hide the cracks.  Few expected the group to last without their star.  Yet they found a replacement guitarist, David Gilmour, and continued recording.  Wright, Gilmour and Waters took over the songwriting duties and gradually evolved the monumental progressive rock sound that made them superstars in the 1970s.  Their breakthrough came with Dark Side of the Moon in 1973, a concept album that parlayed the interstellar imagery of their early work into an ambitious commentary on life, death, greed and insanity. Wright co-wrote several songs, and composed the gospel-influenced meditation on mortality, “The Great Gig in the Sky”.  Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best-selling albums ever, lasting an extraordinary 14 years in the US Billboard 200 charts.  Wright believed it was the first time that he, Waters and Gilmour meshed as songwriters, refracting Pink Floyd’s cosmic tradition through a conceptual framework, like the celebrated prism of light on the album’s cover.  Its follow-up, Wish You Were Here , in 1975 was Wright’s favourite album.  He co-wrote its core statement “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, an epic tribute to the stricken Barrett that underlined the centrality of Wright’s restrained, atmospheric keyboards to the band’s soaring grandeur.  It was the last time he exerted a meaningful influence.  Power struggles between the iron-willed Waters and the rest of the group began to poison relationships.  Wright was too reserved to stomach the fray.  In 1978, he made an unassuming solo album and withdrew to pursue the typical extracurricular activities of the millionaire rock star: yachting in the Caribbean was a favourite pastime.  Waters sacked him from Pink Floyd during the making of The Wall in 1979.  He was re-employed as a session musician for the band, but the blow to his confidence was grave.  In 1982, his 18-year marriage broke up (he married twice more and is survived by three children).  An attempt to launch a new group in 1984 failed.  “There’s other things in life apart from music,” he reflected. 

The last acts of the Pink Floyd story were ignoble, though a triumphant coda awaited.  Gilmour, victorious in the band’s fratricidal in-fighting, expelled Waters and invited Wright back for the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason.  A final LP came in 1994, but by then the band was a lacklustre shadow of its former self.  A final twist came when the quartet reformed to play their first gig together in 24 years at Live 8 in Hyde Park in 2005.  Their set of four songs was the highlight of the day.  Enmities were suspended as the classic Floyd sound spilt out into the London night.  Hopes revived for a full-scale reunion, but it turns out to have been their valediction.  With Wright’s death, both he and the band he founded have headed irrevocably to the “Great Gig in the Sky”.

Reference : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52962c06-86ac-11dd-959e-0000779fd18c.html

Taaray Zameen Par ROCKS !!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Aamir Khan’s latest is a masterpiece.  Just go.  I cried shamelessly almost throughout.  Everyone did.  But it’s not a downer.  Very fresh.  Was amazed to see how far “Bollywood” has come.  This is a must see for all the following :
1. Indian parents.
2. Indian NGO types.
3. All other Indians.
4. Everyone else of all other nationalities.

The morning started with an outing to the Esplanade Library with IM.  Desperately hunted for some Fellini on every shelf but found nothing.  Was walking back to IM who had been comfortably perched on his sofa by the tall windows in the back when the sight of “The White Sheikh” under New Arrivals delighted.  Mere coincidences are mere when they find you ; they’re small miracles when you find them.  Read the one Fellini interview book as IM sprinkled Horrible Science tidbits on the otherwise pristine setting.  Fellini’s views on childhood, and the movie he never made about a large house with lots of children, inspired and enraptured.  Picked up some Kurosawa as well, based on the aforementioned interview book.  Noticed Daag (Rajesh Khanna 1973) on the shelf and noticed that Sahir Ludhianvi has penned it’s lyrics.  That was the one reason I picked it up.  Spent until 330 AM Sunday morning with Sahir Saab’s magical poetry, which I shall attempt to translate and YouTube next.

Thelonious Monk Tribute

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thelonious Monk was a genius if ever there was one.  His music grows on you, to say the least.  In my experience, it started as a curiosity and has come to define the very meaning of musical good taste and artistic excellence.  The following 2 clips aired on National Public Radio on Oct 10. 2007 – the 90th anniversary of the birth of this American genius.

Clip 1 : 8m 18s
Clip 2 : 26m 12s

MS Subbulakshmi : Hari Tum Haro

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bharat Ratna, Dear to the Mahatma, “Goddess Of Musical Notes” :
M.S. does not sing. She makes divinity manifest.”

hari tum haro jana ki pīr
Almighty Lord God, remove the sufferings of Your slaves.
draupadī kī lāj rākhī
tum badhāyo cīr

You protected the honor of Draupadi,
Lengthening the garment that covered her.
bhakta kārana rūpa narahari
dharyo āp śarīr

For the sake of Your devotee,
You assumed the form of Nrsimhadeva.
hiranyakaśyapa mār līnho
dharyo nāhina dhīr

You killed Hiranyakasipu
With Your fierce form.
būdate gaja rāja rākhyo
kiyo bāhar nīr

You rescued the drowning elephant Gajaraj,
Taking him out of the water.
dāsi mīrā lāl giradhar
dukha jahāń tahāń pīr

Oh Master Giridhara! I am only Your maidservant, Mira.
Here and there, there is only suffering and pain.

Thelonious Monk In Berlin 1973

Monday, June 25, 2007

There is something very special about the hesitation and accidental-ness of the way Thelonious Monk plays the piano.  A musician of the highest order.  Here’s a recording of his from a 1973 tour (Berlin) –

Jim Morrison Interview 1970

Saturday, June 23, 2007

“I dig the South” –