Friday, August 29, 2014

RAT GIRL- A MEMOIR by Kristin Hersh

Finished Fr 8/29/14

I read over half, and then skimmed to the end. This was based on a diary that she wrote in the mid 80's, and she re-wrote as an adult. She fairly successfully kept the 'childlike' point of view of an eighteen year old although she was almost forty when she released it.

A rare 'female' perspective to the darker edges of the punk scene, and most definitely worth a look.

Alternative Rock
Sleazy punk rock scene
Set primarily in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island

Her father is a professor and her step sister, Tanya Donelly, was in THE BREEDERS and BELLY.

She claims to have been involved in a harrowing hit and run when she was on her bicycle. The car was driven by a 'witch', and after the accident, she was able to 'see music'. The best part of the book is when she describes these 'visitations' which continue until she is able to learn the song.

She was actually friends and attended college with 30's movie star, Betty Hutton. Hutton was there trying to kick an addiction to booze and pills. She seemed to add an off-kilter edge to the work. I wasn't really sure that the woman was real, but I saw Hersh in an interview that it all happened and many other readers were equally baffled.

Link to Hersh's observations about Betty

Kristin's link at wikipedia-

Tanya Donelly link to wikipedia-

Thursday, August 28, 2014


(Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents In The Forests of Rock And Roll)

Finished Tu 8/26/14

Fourteen years as a fourth grade teacher in Dayton, Ohio, and then starts (at 35 years old) a career on the fringes of Rock.

Background in sports. Ace baseball pitcher but threw out his elbow in college
His brother, Jimmy, was even more famous locally as a basketball player. He also suffered an accident (to his knee) that ended his college career.

His home is in the blue-collar, Northridge section of Dayton.
The Monument Club is the garage area of his home where he and the members of GBV would drink, play music, and shoot hoops.

Recording artist for 'Scat' and 'Matador'

I was really impressed by the lyrics which were used to introduce the chapters. He's a poet, and that's not just a great lyricist, but a true poet!

I had a couple of his albums on the Ipod, and re-listened, and was re-blown away. Got 'Bee Thousand' from the library, and found the EP 'I Am A Scientist' in the stacks.

The book is chock full of incidents and has an exhaustive and comprehensive discography of his works.

His link at wikipedia-

Link to the book at Amazon-

GBV web page-

Saturday, August 23, 2014

RIOT OF OUR OWN- NIGHT AND DAY WITH THE CLASH by Johnny Green and Garry Barker

Read over half and returned to library Sa 8/23/14

Johnny Green was a roadie and road manager for the Clash and he tells his story of life with the band.
It's mostly a collection of juicy anecdotes and really is only enough content for a long magazine piece.

The only thing that I learned is the Sex Pistols would come on stage with The Clash when they were in limbo (the Sex Pistols On Tour stage).

The drugs and alcohol flows freely, but not much is revealed that you wouldn't expect.

At a later date, I'll read one of the more comprehensive books about The Clash. This seemed to be mostly frosting, and not much cake. Johnny comes across as 'just one of the gang', and it's an interesting perspective, but he never provided any artistic or any other input for the band. And, to be fair, I don't think he tries to come off as if he did. 'Grins and Giggles' is what you get.

Link at Amazon-

YouTube Link for Johnny Green-

Friday, August 22, 2014


Finished Fr 8/22/14

A comprehensive look at this amazing guitarist.

Born in 1945 and grew up thinking that his grandmother and grandfather were his mother and father. Actually his sister, Pat had an affair with a Canadian soldier stationed in England during the war, and this man was his father. He never met this man.
When Eric was nine, his mother re-entered his life, and when he asked if he could call her 'mom', she said no and he should continue to act as if his grandparents were his parents.  EC claims that this had a devastating effect on his emotional development. He has a step-brother and sister by Pat.

I was surprised had how much of a beatnik he was in his early years. Very close to bluesman John Mayall- he lived at his house with John's family for a time

The love of his life, Patti Boyd, seems more like a liability
Alice Ormsby-Gore was also one of his primary love partners. She was part of England's upper class, and it's kind of strange that this poor boy from Ripley could fit in so easily.
Lory del Santo gave him his son, Connor. The boy fell out the window while the condo superintendent was telling Lory how dangerous the windows were.  The windows were like the windows in my condo, and I hate the way that they open vertically.
He married Melia on New Year's Day 2000. It was a surprise wedding as it was presented after the baptism of his two daughters, Julie and Ruth (six months and 16 years old). His new wife is from Columbus, Ohio, and that's where it took place. He's 25 years older than Melia.

A strange interlude that I wasn't aware of....when Clapton left the Yardbirds and John Mayall, he was part of a band called The Glands. They played at a mafia owned bar in Greece and he had to leave the country and was afraid that there would be dangerous repercussions with the mob. He actually toured to quite a few cities in Europe with this lineup.

His lost years are very revealing.

First went to Hazelton during the Christmas season of 1982, but it took another five years before he finally stopped.
Xmas 1982 he wanted green thermals that he would wear while fishing. He was out of his mind on Xmas Eve and after everyone had gone to bed, he continued to drink and opened all of his gifts, finding the green thermals. He put them on and went out to the local rive to fish. While fishing he fell against one of the fishing poles, and snapped it. Other fishermen were watching, and he was so embarrassed he decided that he had reached the limit with his drinking (he hadn't).

'Crossroads' is a recovery center that he setup at the Caribbean island of Antigua. It was paid for by the auction of many of Clapton's vintage guitars. Some of them went for almost a million a pop.

The book ends with the collaboration of Clapton with J. J. Cale, THE ROAD TO ESCONDIDO.

He certainly doesn't present himself as a wonderful individual, and I was left with the feeling that he's a kind of upper-class British twit. His relationships with women are atrocious.

Link to customer reviews at Amazon-

Link to his wikipedia page-

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SEE A LITTLE LIGHT- A TRAIL OF RAGE AND MELODY by Bob Mould (with Michael Azerrad)

Finished Tu 8/19/14

This is a book that I suggested that the library buy, and I was amazed that they went ahead and borrowed it from a sister library. I want to find out from Anne if this is the policy. When you suggest a book, they will see if they can get it. I was floored!

This was probably the best Rock Star bio that I've ever read. He is an amazing individual, and it really clears up his image of 'an angry man'.

The first third of the book is a detailed explanation of his early life (born, 10/16/60) in the farm town of Malone, upstate New York. His high school years, and his admission to Macalester College in Minneapolis. where he met the two other guys that would become Husker Du. It all really happened quite by accident.

Grant comes off as a kind of 'hippy-dippy', and he probably was (is), and Greg Norton is kind of a non -entity. When the band folded, at least Grant formed Nova Mob which is a worthy outfit. But Greg completely reinvented himself as a chef. I don't think he was all that musical in the beginning, but he only was a record clerk with 'artistic' taste in music (Sun Ra, 60's experimental jazz).

By the time the band that he forms with Anton Fier is formed, Husker Du becomes a footnote, and I think this is how Mould sees it. And, he really makes the case.

'Copper Blue' by Sugar is probably where he would like to see as his greatest early achievement.

The last third of the book delves into his 'gay nature', and it's very revealing. None of what he says fits into any literary framework, and his choices and attitudes about who he is and what he did are truly heartfelt and clearly his own.

I ordered BEASTER and PINK FLAG (by the English punk rock band, 'Wire') after finishing the book.

The section where he relates his eight months writing for World Championship Wrestling is crazy. It's not that wrestling was 'fake', it's just that it is all completely scripted. You might as well call Shakespeare 'fake' because it never really happened.

The fact that he was involved in Wrestling after such a stellar career in music was completely unexpected, and  I wouldn't have been more surprised if he had decided to become a dental technician or even a long distance truck driver.

He's another rock musician who implies that he has a superior IQ (Warren Zevon). And, he might even be smarter than Warren. Certainly he was more successful at keeping his life and 'the books' in order. And, Kris Kristofferson is a Rhodes Scholar.

I don't think I will ever be able to see someone wearing a 'Bears'(football) tee shirt and not think about his experience with 'Bears'.

The book is a tremendous expose about his experience in the Music Biz and also works as a brilliant bio of a gay man. And, his sexual identity is laboriously crafted by him, and he absolutely refuses to be nothing but true to himself.... as it most definitely should be....

I was surprised that there was absolutely no mention of David Bowie because I would have thought this artist would have had some kind of a connection with him, and the absence of any kind of a rapport is kind of odd.

Link to the book on Amazon-

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Finished Sa 8/16/14

This was borrowed from the library and I read it, off and on, for a couple of weeks. But, if you have any interest in the band, I don't think there is anything better or more all-inclusive.

A stellar, in-depth biography of the band, and I especially enjoyed the 'early years' section. Although the book was released in 2008, that pretty much was near the end of the band. The last band album was in 2009, THE ETERNAL.

The book opens with the author marveling that Itunes filed one of their early releases under the category of, 'Unclassifiable'. I've often wondered about who comes up with these ridiculous categories, and 'Alternative' to what???

Kim Gordon (1953), Thurston Moore (1958) Lee Ranaldo (1956) Steve Shelley (1962)
Kim born in Rochester, NY but raised in Southern California. Her father was an academic; Sociology professor.
Thurston was born in Coral Gables, FL, but raised in Bethel, CN. Although he went to college for a couple of years, he never graduated and became one of the early people on NY's Scum Rock Scene. His father was also a teacher, but on the high school level.  Kim had a degree and she offered the panache of Art and Education, and he had the 'street creds'.
Renaldo was born on Long Island, and was in the Glenn Branca electric guitar orchestra. Numerous electric guitars droning on the same note, or different notes to create alternative sounds and timbres. Moore was also a fan of this type of sound, and was crucial for the flavor of SY.
Steve Shelley is much younger than the other band members, but in the beginning seemed like the 'mature' voice that was lacking from the rest of the members. He seemed to manage the band when the other three members got 'up in the clouds'. He had experience of playing 'on the road' with the punk band, THE CRUCIFUCKS. This band was signed to Jello Biafra's label, Alternative Tentacles
The band mostly were their own 'agents and managers'

Jim O'Rourke is an amazing character and he seems to be the musical genius that influenced much of the music that I really like. The later Sonic Youth and the best stuff by Wilco (YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT, A GHOST IS BORN)

The sound of the band is a distillation of No Wave. At first SY dropped melody for a chance to experiment with the power of raw sound. They used cheap guitars, weirdly tuned, and often jammed paraphernalia under the strings to create otherworldly sounds.

Link to Amazon Customer Reviews page-

Friday, August 15, 2014



Link to page with interview with the author-

Gwen Robison
Father has broken his hip, and Gwen is back at the family home to take care of him. House was original and not welcomed by the community. He is a professor of medicine. Wife, Tally, died of cancer when Gwen was in college.

Two much older siblings. Miller and Fiona (Fee)
Tally was kind of a hippie mom and fancied herself a bit of an artist

Halloran family
Gordon (Go Go) The youngest of the three brothers. Possibly mentally challenged, alcoholic, sexually abused? Commits suicide by car in the first chapter. Two years on the wagon/member of AA/ gets somewhat drunk and decides to crash into the 'Jersey Wall'.  What's this?

Sean- Mr. Perfect. The middle child and darling of the family. Lives in St. Petersburg, FL.
Tim- Oldest and married to Arlene. Three blonde and beautiful daughters. Michelle, Lisa, and Karen. Two oldest experiment with sex and drugs. Tim is assistant state's attorney for Baltimore county.

Mickey (McKay) Dark and beautiful. First friends with Gwen. Mother not married to Rick who runs an auto parts store and handy mechanic. Rick is true to Gwen and not the real father of Joey. But, pays support even though he could probably push the paternity issue. Mickey goes to public schools where as the rest of the gang go to Catholic schools.

Gwen is trying to get a divorce from her husband, Karl. She wants to not live with himn for a period of two years so that she can get the divorce. However, she is present at bedtime and breakfast for Annabelle, their Chinese adopted child.

Chicken George (real name not mentioned, but this name is taken from a character in Roots). Died during Hurricane ?. May or may not have been 'touching' Go Go when Mickey and him went out to check on the shack.  

Sean and Gwen had a sexual affair when she was 14 and he was fifteen. Tim still a virgin, and very curious about what they were doing. The affair ended abruptly after the death of Chicken George.

Sean has a 'perfect' son named Duncan. Tim's girls (and Tim) think he's a suck ass.

P. 117 is kind of a wrap-up of the story.

VOODOO, LTD. by Ross Thomas

Finished Th 8/14/14

I was looking through my collection for something by Ross MacDonald, and found this one that was written in 1992.

The characters names are probably the most striking thing in the novel, although the story was inventive, and kept me interested until the very end. These characters are used in several of his novels.

Ione Gamble- Hollywood actress and director. In this book she is framed for murder and blackmail. She was drunk and arrives at the home of billionaire, William A.C. Rice IV (Billy). "Was disliked or despised by everyone who knew him for more than three minutes". Ione is 'black-out' drunk and shoots a Chagall painting in the foyer, but only finds the body. She can't remember a thing, and the plot hinges on the location of a pair of questionable, brother and sister team of hypnotists who will help her recover the lost memories of that New Year's Eve night.

The title is a bastardization of the names of the two owners of the detective agency.
Artie Wu and Quincy Durant. 'WuDu'. Durant is also known as, 'that fucking Durant'.

Booth Stallings and Georgia Blue. They are a couple and he is a terrorism expert and significantly older than the rest of the characters. Georgia is an ex-CIA operative.

Otherguy Overby (Maurice Overby) Works with Artie and Quincy on firm business

The reveal is that one of Billy's neighbors shot him because the billionaire's house was blocking his view of the ocean. Eddie Cleveland was his name. And, Jim Broach was Ione's lawyer and manager. He was trying to blackmail her with the tapes of her hypnotized interview.

Hughes and Pauline Goodison are the brother and sister hypnotist team who falsely claim that they are husband and wife. They engage in incest and attempt sexual assignations with numerous people. Hughes and Pauline are murdered by Jack Broach.

Howard Mott, a Washington Lawyer takes Ione's case in criminal court. He's a recurring character in Thomas's works.  

Colleen Cullen is a black owner of a seedy bed and breakfast in Topanga Canyon and deals in almost anything illegal (guns, drugs, etc.). The climactic shootout occurs in her establishment.

THE TOUGH GUYS by Mickey Spillane

I read and finished the first two novellas in early August, 2014. The book included three short novels which were published in magazines during the early sixties.




Nothing terribly memorable, but the usual (predictable) 'tough guy' attitude (hence the name), and a few descriptive phrases were worth it. But, the overall plot to both stories has escaped me, and only after a couple of weeks.

'Her hair was so shiny that you could bathe in it'.

Spillane's link to wikipedia-

Friday, August 8, 2014

I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD by Crystal Zevon


Finished Fr 8/8/14

The book is a collections of reminiscences, parts of interviews, and random observations by nearly all of the important people in Warren Zevon's life. He comes across as a very deeply flawed individual who acted even worse under the influence. And, he was nearly always 'under the influence'.

When he finally stopped alcohol he found that his AA sponsor had used heroin while in the program. He was told that the program was 'divine', but that the individuals involved it were deeply flawed. He never attended another AA meeting, yet continued to abstain for another seventeen years.

He was always abrasive and belligerent with the people in his life and he seemed to feel that if he didn't 'push it', they would take advantage of him. Once the David Letterman program tried to get him to fly coach to appear on the show. He became enraged and said that the coach section of a  plane had recycled air, and he would only arrive sick. By saving a couple of hundred bucks, they would undermine a multimillion dollar television program. Someone overheard his comment about 'recycled air', and he admitted that he just made it up. He claimed that it wasn't about 'making sense', but if you ever let them put you in coach, just once,  you'd be in coach for the rest of your life.

Friends with many writers including Mitch Albom, Carl Hiaasen, and Steven King.

He was able to write and score music and was the musical director for The Everly Brothers during the 70's.

He was musically competent and could play piano at the classically trained level.

Developed lung cancer (Mesothelioma)

When he was diagnosed he went back to drinking and drugging. Billy Bob Thornton saw him drinking a five hundred dollar bottle of scotch in which he was mixing liquid morphine.

Zevon found it ironic that when he was found to have cancer, doctors would force upon him drugs that he previously had to resort to intricate illegal means to acquire. Maybe he felt that the legal system involving drugs was just as flawed as AA, and this is a reason why he 'non-complied'.

Ryan Rayston was the woman who was with him when he died. Although they did not have a sexual relationship, she was able to tolerate is extremely aberrant behavior-both with drugs and alcohol, but also his sexual escapades.

March 19, 1986- Last drink and beginning of his 'clean up' which lasted until the diagnosis (December, 2002). However his extreme OCD continued to the very end. 

Would insist on the color gray for almost everything.  He collected hundreds and hundreds of gray, Calvin Klein tee shirts. After his death, they were distributed to his friends and family as keepsakes. 

Link to an article about the book that was published in The Guardian-

His entry at wikipedia-

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ELVIS COSTELLO- A Biography by Tony Clayton-Lea

Finished Tu 8/5/14

The author does an excellent job of describing his subject, but the book was written in 1999, and is woefully out of date.

Detailed account of the beginning of his 'sound', and his adventures with women, drugs, and drink.
Bebe Buell (ex-Playmate and fashion model) in particular, yet not enough on Cait O'Riordan, his wife from 1986 until 2002.

THE BIG WHEEL by Bruce Thomas is mentioned and Costello says that it basically is the tale of a man who is not very happy with what he was doing, and Costello is kind of sad that he didn't have more fun. I have read Thomas's book, and I think this is an accurate way to look at it. He says that his relationship with the bass player is 'pretty non-existent', yet he did engage his services for BRUTAL YOUTH and ALL THIS USELESS BEAUTY

The Attractions were never a group of friends or buddies, but were conscientiously assembled by Elvis. They were never meant to be like The Monkees, although Pete Thomas has been with Costello pretty much throughout his career. The book outlines the demise of the Pub Rock scene in Britain, and this is where Elvis found the band. Although Steve Nieve is from The Royal College of Music.

Davey Faragher is the bass player that became The Imposters and Bruce Thomas's replacement. He's from the American band, CRACKER and was in John Hiatt's band (Nick Lowe-lifelong Elvis collaborator- backed Hiatt in 'The Village People', one of the most prestigious backing bands of all time). This occurred in 2000, so that's why it's not in the book. He's been with the band almost fifteen years!!!

Married Diana Krall in 2003. Has twin boys.

His wikipedia entry-

Six reviews of the book at Amazon-

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Finished Sa 8/2/14

I never particularly cared for the music of Guns N' Roses, but I always liked their EP, 'The Spaghetti Incident'. It seemed far too punk for a mainstream, heavy-metal hair band, and probably that's due to the influence of their bassist, Duff McKagan (Michael Andrew-1964).

He's from the Seattle area, and grew up and was friends with many of the Grunge/Punk superstars of the 80's. Mother Love Bone/Soundgarden/Alice In Chains/Curt Cobain/Soul Asylum/ and all of the rest.

The youngest of eight children. His father was a fireman and much older than most fathers. He respected his father for being a fireman (thought this was an admirable occupation), but all of that changed when his father cheated on his mother and the marriage broke up. It was only until he was much older that he was able to become close to his father, but his mother was always a driving force in his life.

When he left for LA from Seattle, he always had a plan, and even though he never really had much of a roof over his head, he always had a job. Minimum wage jobs, although he was able to become somewhat trained as a pastry chef.

The family was very much affected by his Depression Era father. 'The McKagan's never live beyond their means' (He said this on the David Fricke interview at the Strand Bookstore). "FHB" means, 'Family Hold Back'. When guests showed up for dinner, his family would let each other know that they should hold back so that the guest would have enough to eat'.

He seems very sympathetic to Axle Rose who is generally perceived to be the villain of the band. Rose sounds like he suffers from mental issues and Duff describes his life-long battle with panic attacks.

After he kicked drugs and alcohol he went back to school, first to Santa Monica Community College, and later to Seattle University's Albers School of Business. He went from not knowing a thing about finance to becoming actively involved in managing his portfolio, which includes everything from stocks and mutual funds to property. He writes a financial column for He is co-founder of a business venture called 'Meridian Rock' which provides investment counselling to rock stars.

The book was very readable and he apparently wrote the book himself. There is no ghost writer (or, at least none is credited).

To kick his habits he got involved in mountain biking and martial arts. And, reading seemed to provide an escape and a blueprint to get a handle on his life. He never really completed high school, and went back when he was in his late twenties to get a GED , community college credit, and then on to a four year college. Also, some on-line credits. 

I liked the idea that he thought that he was alone in not understanding the financial contracts that he and the band had signed. Although he did say that he demanded to know the real addresses of his money minders. More than an implied threat that if things went south, he'd come a looking. He brought it to an MBA (I think this was his brother) and he said that he didn't even understand the contract. I guess the banking industry loves this idea that what they do is so complicated that 'mere mortals' cannot possibly comprehend what they do, so it's best just to 'trust in your betters'. 

It's hard to believe that anyone could drink ten bottles of wine a day, yet he claims that this is what it took when he stopped drinking whiskey and opted for something less strong.

Duff Beer from the Simpsons is named after him, although the show scoffs at this idea.

McKagan sounds like an interesting person and would probably stand out in any endeavour. 
He's probably a rock star that would be interesting even if he never played a note. Although, he never mentions much about what he listens to, and it doesn't sound like he is a collector of music, but he's obviously a fan. 

YouTube 36" video/interview about IT'S SO EASY-

Link to his entry on Wikipedia-