Crystal Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Crystal Zevon’s biography of perennially misunderstood and mis-marketed songwriter Warren Zevon takes a holographic approach to the musician’s life (and death). Crystal Zevon (a former wife) provides chunks of bridging text, but the book consists mostly of brief chronologically-arranged snippets from an impressive array of Zevon’s family, friends, lovers, collaborators, and (most importantly) excerpts fromContinue reading “Crystal Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”

Glen Matlock: I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol

I’ve whined recently about how the London punk scene of ’76-77 gets such a disproportionate share of media attention. So why’d I pick up Matlock’s book? Because his is one of the first-person perspectives I haven’t seen. Lydon’s and McLaren’s versions are amply documented. But Matlock’s part in the Pistols actually ends when Sid ViciousContinue reading “Glen Matlock: I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol”

Jennifer Trynin: Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be

If I were dictator of the world, everybody who wanted to form a band to play in front of people would be legally required to watch Standing in the Shadows of Motown first, and everyone who wanted to sign a record deal would be required to read Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be. In myContinue reading “Jennifer Trynin: Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be”

Marcus Gray: The Last Gang in Town

I found Gray’s enormous, dense history of The Clash mostly fascinating, but the obviousness of Gray’s authorial agendas bugged me. The book is subtitled “The Story and Myth of the Clash,” and Gray spends a lot of effort looking for the points of divergence between the (hi)story and the myth of the band. He providesContinue reading “Marcus Gray: The Last Gang in Town”

Laurie Lindeen: Petal Pusher

Laurie Lindeen’s rags-to-well,rags chronicle of her band Zuzu’s Petals reminded strongly of Tommy Womack’s excellent and thematically similar Cheese Chronicles, with the added fillip that Laurie hooks up with someone Much More Famous midway through the band’s career arc. Almost all of the book is written in the present tense. Lindeen is sometimes deliberately cageyContinue reading “Laurie Lindeen: Petal Pusher”

Julie Powell: Julie & Julia

I read this at least partly to challenge my own preconceptions about what kind of books I read. This is a non-cookbook about cooking — worse, French cooking, although I didn’t realize quite how meat-intensive it would actually be. But it’s also a book about a crazy challenge — specifically, cooking every recipe in JuliaContinue reading “Julie Powell: Julie & Julia”