Friday, September 27, 2013

...and now, a rock 'n roll book review...

Long Time GoneLong Time Gone by David Crosby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

you can learn a lot from biographies/autobiographies. this was no exception.

when it comes to rock and roll excess, who can separate truth from fiction from legend? when i saw the book i thought, cool—i can hear all about it from him. and that’s kind of the way the book goes, except that it augments what he says with what everyone else says: roadies, ex-lovers, business partners, damaged hippie freaks, ex-managers, fellow musicians and everything inbetween. all of that stitched up together gives a fuller picture than him, telling it like he remembers it. more often than not, everyone else reinforces whatever he says, and there’s the co-author with a timeline and photos and other documentation in case anyone goes off track. nice detail all around, especially when things go straight to hell and then get even worse.

there's him in the early days, riding around on a motorcycle wearing a leather cape. his love of/insistence upon three ways and little harems to take care of him. that whole hippie commune mentality, that share everything, with that everybody-in-and-out-of-everybody’s-house at all hours /everybody having sex with each other lifestyle. and him being a dick at any and every given opportunity because he thought he was soooooo great.

i don’t know. i think david crosby has a beautiful voice and he’s written some beautiful songs but after reading this and barney hoskyn’s “waiting for the sun” i think neil young is sooooooo great.

everyone else in rock and roll that does this level of drugs and debauchery for as long as he did dies in a pool of their own vomit. not “the cros”—probably because he got sent to prison for several years, and that’s what ultimately forced him to get clean. i knew some junkies in my day but at one point, just about everyone decided they didn’t want to die and they stopped doing it. somewhere in the 80s (the 80s!) he was looking at his rotting teeth and his swollen ankles and the sores and severe burn marks all over his face and body and he’d cry and feel sorry for himself and then he'd do some more freebase. (yikes-a-doodle-doo.)

sure, he went through hell with gasoline drawers on, but by his own admission, he was the one that bought the ticket for that ride -- triggered in part by his choice to deal with the sudden loss of his then girlfriend christine hinton with heroin instead of therapy.

and this was the guy that melissa etheridge chose to borrow a cup of sperm from to have not one but two kids with her then partner julie cypher? they couldn’t find jeff beck or eric clapton or something?

i don’t smoke and i don’t even do drugs and this book made me want to stop drinking coffee and eating meat and freaking detox whatever funk i had out of my system, just get it off of me. i just wanted to steam and sauna and take three showers and thank Jesus i never tried heroin. or cocaine. or freebase. or crack. or whatever everybody’s gotta be smoking or snorting these days. whatever.

and wow. he and his then girlfriend jan (who was even more strung out than he was) got clean and sober enough to get married and have a kid. i read that and i had to put the book down and when i did, i thought, the human body is a miraculous thing. or as the old black folks down south would say, He’s a wonder-working God.

bizarrely enough, i knew all their songs so well that when any particular ditty were mentioned in the book, i could hear it in my head. and i’ve never owned any of their records. even now, i don’t sit around listening to any of their songs. they were on permanent rotation that hardcore on the radio when i was a kid.

PS: um, yeah. this is kind of a must-read. especially if you’re a musician and you want to half-way know your rock and roll history.

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