Connecting the dots

What do Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson, and Steve Jobs have in common? Besides—that is—there being popular new material out by, or about, each? The answer is—believe it or not—the venerable Keith Richards.

So what's new, and what's the connection?

Tom Waits

What's new?

Bad As Me, his first album of new material since 2004.

What's the connection?

Long time collaboration. This album, Bad As Me, has Richards joining Waits on vocals on "Last Leaf," a reflection on having outlasted all of one's peers (perhaps a nod to the question often asked about Richards and Waits both, "How is he still alive?"). He also contributes guitar work to several tracks, including "Satisfied," in which Waits directly addresses "Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards" telling them pointedly that he "will have satisfaction."

Richards has a history of collaborating with Waits. His guitar work and vocals can also be heard on classic Waits albums Rain Dogs and Bone Machine.

Hunter S. Thompson

What's new?

Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone (on order), a collection of his work at Rolling Stone Magazine.

And, so new it's not even in theaters yet, Rum Diary, a movie adaptation of Thompson's first novel by the same name, starring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson, a role he first played in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

See the trailer for Rum Diary at VideoDetective, and sign up to be notified of the DVD release date at VidoETA so you know when to order it from the library! (Check out other DPL movie resources.)

What's the connection?

The direct connection here is Thompson's brief 1993 interview of Richards, in which the two seem to be competing over who is the best mumbler.

But it's more fun, given the new movie mentioned above, and more fruitful, given the examples to follow, if we link them through Johnny Depp.

Depp—who has now portrayed Thompson in two movies—admittedly based part of his Jack Sparrow character on Richards. Keith Richards in turn appeared on film in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End as the father of Jack Sparrow.

And, the audio version of Keith Richard's autobiography, Life, is read by Johnny Depp!

Steve Jobs

What's new?

Steve Jobs, the new biography by Walter Isaacson.

What's the connection?

I admit it's a weak link, but I'm excited about this book and I want to write about it. So, enter Malcom Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point.

In a recent New Yorker article, available on his website, Gladwell likens Keith Richards's ability to reign in the creative torrent that is Mick Jagger to Jobs's ability to focus the boundless creativity around him into a singular vision of consumer technology.

And there you have it!

A lot of material, some brand spanking new and some older. All linked together by a veteran rock-and-roller.

And finally, here is a list of all the material listed in this post available at the library.

Written by christopher on October 26, 2011


Anonymous on November 15, 2011


Interesting connection, I never would have made the last connection even though I read the tipping point.

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