Wednesday, December 2, 2015

from a gray dawn

"I was born --
in a cross-fire hurricane..."

--------------------------- [excerpt, Life, by Keith Richards] ------------------- ..."Jumpin' Jack Flash" ...made just like that, on a cassette machine.  I used to layer guitar on guitar.  Sometimes there are eight guitars on those tracks.  You just mash 'em up....

...These crucial, wonderful riffs that just came, I don't know where from....I can never get to the bottom of them.  When you get a riff like "Flash" you get a great feeling of elation....

"Flash" is basically "Satisfaction" in reverse.  Nearly all of these riffs are closely related.  But if someone said, "You can play only one of your riffs ever again," I'd say, "OK, give me 'Flash.'" 

I love "Satisfaction" dearly and everything, but those chords are pretty much a de rigueur course as far as songwriting goes.  But "Flash" is particularly interesting. 

"It's allllll right now."  It's almost Arabic or very old, archaic, classical, the chord setups you could only hear in Gregorian chants or something like that.

And it's that weird mixture of your actual rock and roll and at the same time this weird echo of very, very ancient music that you don't even know.  It's much older than I am, and that's unbelievable!  It's like a recall of something, and I don't know where it came from.

But I know where the lyrics came from.  They came from a gray dawn at Redlands.  Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside and there was the sound of these heavy stomping rubber boots near the window, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer, a real country man from Sussex. 

It woke Mick up.  He said, "What's that?" 

I said, "Oh, that's Jack.  That's jumping Jack."  I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase "Jumping Jack."  Mick said, "Flash," and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it. 

So we got to work on it and wrote it.  [end excerpt] ----------------------------


A friend mentioned to me once that she had a pair of reading glasses in every room of her house

-- which reminded me, I read somewhere that Winston Churchill kept copies of Jane Austen's novels

(Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice) in each of his residences.

And this relates to my life because -- I think maybe I should have a copy of Keith Richards' autobiography, Life, in every room, at home...


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