i recently went about revisiting MARILYN MANSON's memoir THE LONG HARD ROAD OUT OF HELL (HARPERCOLLINS, 1998) that he co-wrote with NEIL STRAUSS during the early peak of his career post ANTI-CHRIST SUPERSTAR. it's funny how much this book is a product of its time with MANSON more or less self-defining his image in a pre-COLUMBINE media landscape that largely took his bait and made him into a scapegoat for society's ills.
this book came about a few years before his interview in MICHAEL MOORE's documentary BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (UNITED ARTISTS, 2002) where MANSON presented himself as a thoughtful commentator on AMERICAN culture and society with respect to gun violence. he told MOORE that basically the media turned them into martyrs through their non-stop news coverage, providing incentive for future mass murderers. dude was totally on point and we are still dealing with this death spiral of bullying, media coverage and access to automatic weapons.
i would argue that he comes across as equally thoughtful in this book, if for other reasons as here he seems interested in familiar early career ROCK band fodder like infighting between ex-bandmates, record labels, rock journalists, groupies and a healthy amount of requisite self-mythologizing.
its odd thinking about all these ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands from the 90s that pushed back against society during the CLINTON administration (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE similarly comes to mind). where are these button-pushers now when we need them? or is it that the buttons they pressed no longer work in our overly-saturated social media landscape that trades and sells on outrage. maybe MANSON and his ilk (OZZY OSBOURNE, ALICE COOPER, etc) are anachronisms from another era when people cared enough to get angry and protest. that's what i kept thinking when recently rereading his memoir, which i recommend for its intelligence and debauchery. just like the man himself.
then again, i don't know what to believe anymore about his character. recently his former girlfriend EVAN RACHEL WOOD made public allegations that he "groomed" her as a teenager when he was in his mid 30s back in the late 2000s. another former girlfriend, ROSE MCGOWAN, has praised him for his steadfast support and outspokenness as a fervent ally of the #METOO movement.
so... yeah, i dont know.
maybe he is a monster after all. maybe he isnt. not sure who to believe here.
NADA SURF is easily one of the most underrated bands of the 1990s (right up there with FAILURE). while their more successful peers (WEEZER & GREEN DAY) rode waves of fame and disappointment, they just strode along consistently creating tuneful and emotionally resonant INDIE ROCK that continues to this day.
i really don't understand why they are not more wildly celebrated, but even so i'm still stoked that they have assembled an enviable staple of well-crafted and thoughtful songs well into middle age. they don't appear to be settling any time soon. i look forward to continuing to grow with their music as it continues to develop. see where frontman/songwriter MATHEW CAWS takes us.
back in the mid 2000s my brother and i went to see JOHNNY MARR & THE HEALERS play a tiny legendary, now defunct, club in HOBOKEN called MAXWELL'S. opening was this guy with a guitar and some kind of rhythmic electronic looping mechanism. it was JONATHAN BATES and his solo act at the time called MELLOWDRONE.
dude sounded fucking HUGE. just these big emotive choruses that swelled up from these almost whispered barely audible verses. it was like that whole famous PIXIES soft verse / loud chorus dynamic on steroids. my brother and i were pretty blown away by the performance, but then thought about it for a second and decided, "well, he did open for JOHNNY MARR. he's gotta be good."
BATES has gone on to front the equally inventive BIG BLACK DELTA in the ensuing years when not working with other acts like M83 and opening for JANE's ADDICTION, NINE INCH NAILS, GARY NUMAN and others.
most definitely worth checking out.
special thanks to BIG BLACK DELTA for engaging with our
IG and TWITTER postings today
filmed at a time when BLUR had reconvened with all original members after nearly a decade apart for a pair of comeback shows at LONDON's HYDE PARK, NO DISTANCE LEFT TO RUN (PULSE FILMS, 2010) finds the the band describing their journey as a band.
and what a journey it has been. BLUR is obviously a preeminent cultural force that found its root in the 1990s BRITPOP scene along with other groups like PULP, SUEDE, ELASTICA and of course, OASIS. in a familiar arc to many a successful INDIE band, they started out playing small clubs and then found incremental successes up until their breakout release PARKLIFE (FOOD, 1994) which found them playing large stadiums to new crowds they felt alienated from.
the two big players in the story are DAMON ALBARN and GRAHAM COXON, the two main songwriters and their reaction to fame, not necessarily each other. ALBARN is shown to be rather workmanlike and very ENGLISH in his attitude of barreling through obstacles and suboptimal situations. he gets pegged as being careerist but i think he is just someone that wants to fulfill his potential and do everything in his power to make his creative efforts successful. in COXON you have a more sensitive, introspective presence (with every bit the equal creative force to his partner) who used alcohol as his way of dissociating from large crowds and screaming girls. its a unique dynamic that was bound to find that partnership eventually grind to a halt, which it did during the recording of THINK TANK (PARLOPHONE, 2003), when COXON failed to show up.
not to get too much into the weeds of business speak, but ALBARN was hurt in that there was an opportunity cost to his involvement with BLUR. he could be doing other projects that interested him but made the record out of loyaly to his longtime mates. the fact that COXON didnt give him that same respect was crushing. and it shows because ALBARN went on to create the massively successful GORILLAZ as well as various eclectic projects that saw him working with AFRICAN musicians and members of THE CLASH and FELA KUTI's AFRICA 80 band and producing various projects. his post-BLUR career saw him spread his creative wings.
COXON put out a series of INDIE / POWER POP albums in the vein of PAUL WELLER and conquered his substance abuse issues and the underlying coping mechanisms. both seemed happy with their position. the HYDE PARK SHOWS for this documentary were a one-off for the fans.
except they werent in the end.
after this documentary they did were scheduled to do some one-off shows in JAPAN in 2013, but those were cancelled and they found themselves in HONG KONG. so they did what any band does when they are waiting to play, they recorded. these ideas were done in a studio and forgotten about. that is until COXON took up the mantle of creating instrumentals that he sent to ALBARN.
at this point ALBARN had a full plate and BLUR was not a priority. but the instrumentals were promising and in a sense it revitalized his creative relationship with COXON, who did the heavy lifting, something he failed to do on THINK TANK. THE MAGIC WHIP (WARNER BROS, 2015) is an iconic BLUR album which is up their with PARKLIFE and their best work. it remains to be seen if this is their last effort but now it really feels like an adequate end to their journey.
this documentary was interesting but incomplete. the story is only 2/3 the way through. if you are a fan of BRITPOP or ALTERNATIVE ROCK in the 1990s this is required viewing.
i remember back in the mid 2000s when the NYC ROCK REVIVAL was still a thing and there was a whole heap of bands supposedly inspired by NO WAVE and POST-PUNK, most notably the YEAH YEAH YEAHS, THE STROKES and INTERPOL. to me those musicians didn't expand or contextualize those influences much.
unlike LOS ANGELES' SHE WANTS REVENGE who seemed to have many of the same cues in mind but their sound was decidedly more cinematic and sinister in scope. you got the sense that vocalist JUSTIN WARFIELD took those same inspirations and translated them into a noir-inflected sonic landscape in the tradition of RAYMOND CHANDLER, JAMES ELLROY and JAMES M. CAIN, all authors equally take with the seedy, putrid underbelly of LOS ANGELES. in other words, SHE WANTS REVENGE is a soundtrack to mutual exploitation.
definitely worth revisiting and checking out again.
photo manipulations by nacrowe
i discovered the SHOW US YOUR JUNK! series on the EARTHQUAKER DEVICES youtube channel a few months back and what it does a great job of presenting is the gear used by musicians and producers in their studio setups.
obviously EARTHQUAKER DEVICES is a company and yes, their pedals are mentioned along with those of their "competitors," but what you learn very quickly is that the equipment on display is merely a canvas and that these producers, many of them prominent musicians from bands like SONIC YOUTH, DEVO, CONVERGE and DEERHOOF are the artists that contextualize these sonic textures in tapestry unique to their sound and aesthetic. if anything, the pedals here are useful in that they help bridge the gap between conception and execution. they are essentially a tool. but i have to say, there is equal if not vastly more time dedicated to non-EARTHQUAKER items in this series. just saying.
much like RIG RUNDOWN goes after the gear setup of a touring musician, SHOW US YOUR JUNK! is dedicated to the recording setup, which in my opinion is far more interesting having spent time around my cousin who is a recording engineer in our former studio at the KREISCHER MANSION. everyone has their own technique and philosophy regarding what makes a compelling sound, which is a topic of endless fascination for me. how does the producer engage with the artist and bring about their creativity. what microphones, preamps, boards do they tend to use? what is the room ambience like at their studio?
for me this series is a great introduction to what makes each of these producers tick, which only makes me dive back into their production discographies that much harder. maybe even make a radio show or two about them (cough, cough, KURT BALLOU and STEVE ALBINI, cough, shameless plug).
by all means check them out below or watch the rest HERE.
THE SMART STUDIOS STORY (CONEY ISLAND STUDIOS, 2016) is documentary about the outwardly unassuming yet highly influential recording studio in MADISON, WISCONSIN, that was founded and run by STEVE MARKER and BUTCH VIG. the creation of the studio was at an interesting inflection point in american culture as there was a definite influx of underground HARDCORE and INDIE ROCK bands that were supported in earnest by college radio and a nationwide network of bars, VFW halls and small clubs not to mention independent promoters and independent record labels and record stores. what connected all these stakeholders in the scene was a sense of self-reliance and DIY ETHIC. maybe its simplistic to say that the puritan ethic of the midwest played a role in this community, but essentially this mindset led to an era of experimentation in music that was free of financial considerations, because none of this was supposed to go commercial. given that VIG was a musician (drummer in local bad SPOONER with future GARBAGE collaborator DOUG ERIKSON) he also had the added benefit of being able to listen and suss out the needs of a band, how to bring out their sound in a fun, experimental atmosphere. he was also able to know firsthand what worked and didn't work from a musician's perspective in "professional" studios. i think his versatility is underrated and part of his work ethic and gets lost in the shuffle when success for his production duties gained global notoriety.
enter NIRVANA and THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, the two bands whose albums NEVERMIND (DGC, 1991) and SIAMESE DREAM (VIRGIN, 1993) altered the landscape for VIG and the underground scene seemingly overnight with the inception of a financially viable ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene that was supported by commercial radio, promoters and the commercial infrastructure of corporate AMERICA. this allowed VIG freedom in choosing projects since SMART STUDIOS was now a destination studio and his services a known commodity.
i think given that sea change it is to his credit that VIG along with MARKER and ERIKSON expanded their craft by utilizing technology and incorporating new techniques in their band GARBAGE. for me their incorporation of HIP HOP and ELECTRONICA elements into a new hybrid style are one of the defining sounds of the 1990s. the fusion of such is only that much more impressive given the cultural impact of his celebrated yet sonically more straightforward catalogue of ALTERNATIVE ROCK production work.
its ironic that this embrace of technology is also what brought down the studio, as digital recording software on personal computers made this DIY ETHIC spread to a new prosumer base of musicians. the time had come to move on.
my takeaway from this documentary is that good music can come from anywhere, no matter how far off the beaten path. SEATTLE, MINNEAPOLIS, PORTLAND. in this case WISCONSIN. innovation is a personal pursuit and must be met on its own merits. in many ways BUTCH VIG's career as an established producer was entirely a fluke of circumstance. on the other hand he was talented and was prepared to take advantage of opportunities when presented.
makes me wonder what other crevices of the UNITED STATES or even the golbal scene have i not considered researching. where should i look next? because i'm always searching.
parodies by nacrowe
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO dedicated to the iconic SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK band ALICE IN CHAINS, a favorite of mine since childhood.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
photo manipulations by nacrowe
R.E.M. BY MTV (VIACOM, 2014) is a pretty straightforward documentary cobbled together from, you guessed it, archival interview and performance footage of the band on MTV from throughout their career. the result of which is a surprisingly intimate narrative that for the most part is told in first-person from the band's perspective, as well as a sprinkling of record producers, record executives and the like.
the value of this documentary for me had nothing to do with their biography (of which i will spare you any plot summary), but rather the mysterious alchemy that was their songwriting process and how it was affected over time by external factors. in a sense their process was very pure as their was a communal ethic to their process. each brought in material and as a group they would mold it into shape. importantly this was concept was buttressed by the business decision to split publishing royalties evenly, which might sound like a boring detail but you'd be surprised how many bands have fallen by the wayside due to this important decision. over their career there was a sense of group ownership of their material which only deepened their trust in each other as financial incentives were not an issue.
when i think of guitarist PETER BUCK and his sound it very much reminds me of what JOHNNY MARR termed in his memoir as a "anti-Rockist" approach. like MARR, he tends to have a RICKENBACKER sound that can be at times clean and precise in an almost traditional FOLK sense and then impressionistic with suspended chords drenched in reverb. with R.E.M. there is a definite contrarian streak throughout their career and BUCK's guitar approach reflects such. his use of mandolin on OUT OF TIME (WARNER BROS, 1991) and the incorporation of sounds based in electronic music on later albums in the wake of drummer BILL BERRY's departure being prime examples. fundamentally his work, along with the rhythm section sets the tone that singer MICHAEL STIPE reacts to in his lyrics and vocal approach.
obviously STIPE is an iconic and celebrated singer who both popularized the COLLEGE ROCK / INDIE ROCK of the 1980s as well as helped usher in and very much participated in the ALTERNATIVE ROCK explosion of the 1990s. but to consider what it was he actually contributed is much harder to discern. its almost like the HEISENBERG UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE in that the closer you look, the more you are missing the point. taking his cue from the impressionistic sound of his band, there is an intuitiveness to his lyrics and voice. he almost seems to revel in ambiguity, especially early in his career. songs were more about presenting an emotion rather than delivering an idea. the fact that songs are gender neutral only adds to this ambiguity. only after their initial run of albums did he alter slightly his approach to address the bigger crowds at their shows.
what interests me about STIPE's career is how his writing and stage persona tackled this problem while maintaining his credibility. given his greater platform and the vapidness and skullduggery of dealing with the press, he consciously addressed issues he was passionate about including AIDS awareness, animal rights, gun legislation, LGBTQIA issues, etc. maybe this was influenced by his allies in PATTI SMITH, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, ADAM YAUCH, EDDIE VEDDER and KURT COBAIN, all who similarly fearlessly addressed such matters without fear of blowback, almost inviting it. some find this kind of outspokenness pretentious. some find STIPE's opaque lyrics in general pompous as well. as immortally stated in SPINAL TAP, "its a fine line between stupid... and uh, clever." luckily despite such external pressures, STIPE is the type that of artist that has a strong sense of self and follows his own trajectory.
and for me that sense of purpose is the legacy of R.E.M. even years now after their breakup. they are a great example of not compromising artistically and being commercially viable. and that art vs. commerce balance is quite the tight-rope act.
just the idea of listening to yourself is empowering. thats what i take from R.E.M.
when i discovered the band FAILURE in the 2000s when i was in college, years after their demise, i could not believe that i completely missed out on such a great band during their heyday. it made me reconsider my MOUNT RUSHMORE of great bands from that ALTERNATIVE ROCK era (JANE'S ADDICTION, FAITH NO MORE, TOOL, ALICE IN CHAINS, NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN, etc) to include one more. specifically the sounds found on their respective second and third releases, MAGNIFIED (SLASH, 1994) and FANTASTIC PLANET (SLASH, 1996) are HUUUUUUGGGGEEE.
almost PINK FLOYD-ish without the literary pretensions. just huge rock riffs with lots of space. in fact whenever i listen to their records now, even the releases post-reunion, i just feel like i am experiencing a defined space with lots of DEPTH and WEIGHT. its amazing that FAILURE mastermind KEN ANDREWS produced and mixed those records back in the 1990s. since their demise he has been an in-demand mixer that has worked with NINE INCH NAILS, PARAMORE, A DAY TO REMEMBER, TENACIOUS D, THE ICARUS LINE, JIMMY EAT WORLD, and M83 among others.
started before the quarantine, he created a YOUTUBE channel where he goes over his mixing techniques and utilizes the FAILURE back catalogue as examples. even if you are not a musician or studio rat, just a fan of his band then this is a real treat. its next level that a dude that went the DIY route (even with regard to their stylized, futuristic music videos) was able to track and mix content that held up to professional standards of the time. its also cool to get a sense of his writing process, which is layered and methodical.
if you haven't heard MAGNIFIED or FANTASTIC PLANET, please stop reading this and just go find a comfortable place and zone out on SPOTIFY for the next two hours. you can thank me later.
thank you to FAILURE for retweeting out posting! so cool.
witnessing RITUAL TALK perform at TRANS-PECOS back on a frigid winter night in 2018 was one of the highlights since being involved with DEER GOD. to my ears they conjure up the best experimental aspects of bands like JANE'S ADDICTION, FRIENDLY FIRES and even THE POLICE, the drums locked into an ambient groove going while shifting thumping bass lines and arpeggiated guitars swirl abound.
i loved that show. if it was up to me, we would have done an OFF THE M episode of their entire set.
much like his later JIMI HENDRIX biography ROOM FULL OF MIRRORS (SCEPTRE, 2005) which we reviewed (linked HERE), CHARLES R. CROSS in HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN (HYPERION, 2001) arguably provides a definitive account of another troubled SEATTLE musical icon, KURT COBAIN of NIRVANA.
and i don't think that is an irrelevant connection to make. aside from both being part of the bullshit "27 Club," they both navigated multiple worlds and transcended less than hospitable family situations. HENDRIX dealt with issues related to RACISM and VIETNAM, as well as dealing with fame that came from his genius remolding of BLUES and ROCK traditions and bending them to his singular artistic will, essentially defining his era. COBAIN similarly reinterpreted INDIE ROCK and HARDCORE punk culture into what later was termed GRUNGE and ALTERNATIVE ROCK and effectively transformed 90s culture in his image.
both in my opinion dug from a deep well of pain that was rooted in isolation (HENDRIX being an army brat and COBAIN the forgotten, neglected son of a painful divorce) and their gifts were transmitting that depth of feeling into music that touched the world.
HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN is a well-researched, dry affair that relies on public records, published interviews and background info from COBAIN's family and former bandmates and peers. you get the sense from reading it that CROSS strove to create a definitive document and it reads as such. that choice has its pros and cons as there are moments when as a reader i do not feel that COBAIN was in his right mind and could be counted on for accurate information. case in point: his excuses of stomach pain necessitating his abuse of heroin. seems like an excuse to a layman, but i understand CROSS' dilemma. bullshit excuse or not, that was the logic that informed his decision so he needs to report it. i just wish junkie excuses like that would have been given some context by professionally as, no doubt, there are people out there that will mimic such in their misguided fealty to COBAIN as some type of doomed demigod or divine messenger. people are crazy and the story of COBAIN seems to be a teachable moment as any to provide the proper support needed to readers dealing with issues of drug abuse or mental illness.
or maybe that isn't the job of the author. i don't know.
well-researched and expertly written in an almost academic way with little flair. a must for any fan of COBAIN, NIRVANA and the 90s ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene in general.
OASIS: SUPERSONIC (MINT PICTURES, 2016) is easily one of the better documentaries ive watched in recent years, not least because strucurally it is an anomaly having two competing narrators in the GALLAGHER BROTHERS walking us through their story on separate tracks. recorded separately with no interaction, which seems as good a description as any for the dynamic within the group. this film shows how this highly dysfunctional pair of siblings rose to prominence with the BRITPOP movement and cemented their legacy as iconic BRITISH cultural exports on par with THE BEATLES and THE SEX PISTOLS from previous generations. its an amazing story.
you don't have to look very far in this film to see examples of singer LIAM GALLAGHER's loutish womanizing behavior that have made his king hooligan public persona the stuff of legend. but honestly that stuff bored me. what you really get at the heart of their relationship, and by definition the crux of this film, is this notion of an unbalanced division of labor. guitarist NOEL GALLAGHER comes off as the brooding, sensitive son of an abusive MANCUNIAN father who made himself into a songsmith whose innate sense of melody and human observation led him to write transcendent songs that put him in the pantheon of great BRITISH songwriters along with the aforementioned LENNON/MCCARTNEY as well as RAY DAVIES, MORRISSEY/JOHNNY MARR, ELVIS COSTELLO, ELTON JOHN/BERNIE TAUPIN, VAN MORRISON, IAN CURTIS and even DAMON ALBARN. but that only got him so far without the magnetism, charisma and straight-up sex appeal of LIAM in the vein of iconic BRITHS frontmen like JOHNNY ROTTEN, FREDDIE MERCURY, PAUL WELLER, NICK LOWE, JOE STRUMMER and of course (again) JOHN LENNON. with NOEL you got the substance of an older brother that took the blunt of the blows from their father and with LIAM the upstart baby of the family, shielded from such abuse, who wanted all the attention good or bad. super interesting family dynamic and expressions of warped masculinity that was probably also influenced by poverty, unemployment and the like in 1980s MANCHESTER.
perhaps my favorite moment in the film is when NOEL is hard at work writing songs for their follow-up record in the studio while everyone else in the band has pissed off to the local pub, leaving him with all the creative control, but also the pressure. at some point he asks LIAM for ideas and his brother is totally dismissive, saying that he didn't have time for that right now. you really get the sense in this film, admittedly by both narrators, that this was NOEL's ship (despite the fact that he didn't start the band) and that LIAM was just in it for the fame, glory and the birds.
it makes sense now that NOEL's solo career has blossomed into, for all intents and purposes, the second phase of OASIS' career given that the quality of the material has never diminished. this can't be said for LIAM's solo work or lackluster BEADY EYE efforts, the later of which saw the remaining OASIS members dismally attempt to recreate the magic sans NOEL to no effect. its super glaring and obvious now, but by watching this documentary you begin to understand that this trajectory was embedded in the very framework of OASIS and how it functioned and that LIAM seriously better set his ego aside and make nice with his brother.
seriously, for all our benefit. make up and go conquer the world again. nobody died. you all survived. nobody took your throne so got out and kick ass again.
please. i really want to hear "ROCK N ROLL STAR" in a stadium. just do it.
with the advent of YOUTUBE there is a whole host of record producers that realized maybe the salad days of the recording industry are over and that one possible new avenue for revenue is creating videos about music production. producers RICK BEATO and WARREN HUART both come to mind immediately as they utilize their trained ears to inform the public about things like composition, tracking, mixing, panning and the various tricks of producing professional, well-recorded music.
i'll leave BEATO for another entry, focusing instead on an impressive sub-series HUART conducted on his PRODUCE LIKE A PRODUCER YOUTUBE channel where he interviewed prominent producers about noteworthy records they produced. this sub-series was called INSIDE THE SONG. the majority of what HUART does on his channel are long-form videos about the innards of recording studios and why owners chose various outboard gear and how producers go about utilizing such. the INSIDE THE SONG series is more accessible to a non-techie crowd and gets into how songs evolved throughout the recording process and what particular techniques are favored by each producer/engineer at the time. you also really get the sense of the amount of play involved in recording and how ideas evolve over time. super interesting stuff even if you are not a confirmed studio rat. especially such if you are a music junkie like i am.
participants to date include producers/engineers DAVE JERDEN (JANE'S ADDICTION, ALICE IN CHAINS), MICHAEL BEINHHORN (SOUNDGARDEN, MARILYN MANSON), ULRICH WILD (STATIC-X), BRADLEY COOK (FOO FIGHTERS), SHELLY YAKUS (TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, BLUE OYSTER CULT) and JACK DOUGLAS (AEROSMITH, CHEAP TRICK). definitely worth watching.
co-written and released around the time of his second studio album, recent departure from VELVET REVOLVER and return to STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, famed ALTERNATIVE ROCK frontman SCOTT WEILAND's memoir NOT DEAD & NOT FOR SALE (SCRIBNER, 2011) is a frustratingly clipped, half-hearted attempt at an open dialogue of a supremely gifted musician with his fans, family, critics, bandmates alike. you really get the sense that despite his charisma and gifts as one of the premier vocalists of his age, his guard was forever up, especially regarding his reasons for abusing drugs which affected his career multiple times and, ultimately, took his life.
i dont know, maybe its me but this book came out shortly thereafter his exhaustive and expensive divorce was finalized and the recent publication of that same ex-wife's tell-all book. in many ways this memoir feels like a cash grab. i say that because in this book he doesn't come off like a knowledgeable narrator of his own life since things just sorta happen. he comes off like a passive viewer, not even a participant. we formed the band. this song was about my ex-wife. this song was about heroin. nothing is ever expanded upon, just referenced or briefly mentioned. which really sucks, because he had such a unique vantage point on that era given his stature as one of its premier and most successful lyricists and vocalists, along with KURT COBAIN, CHRIS CORNELL, EDDIE VEDDER and LAYNE STALEY among others. just a shame this book wasn't more insightful. for someone that saw himself as transcending cliches, this book is one never-ending cliche. the cliche of taking advantage of your fanbase.
even the painful parts of his childhood, events such as being sexually abused and his parents divorce, just sort of happen and never inform anything later in his life, career or personal life. even the birth of his kids just happens.
deeply disappointed by this memoir and i don't recommend it at all. seems like a wasted opportunity, which probably could also be a summation of his career in general.
all that being said, i still love his first solo album 12 BAR BLUES and i highly recommend fans of classic 1990s TRIP HOP check it out.