Thursday 4 July 2013

Review of "Elvis Died For Somebody's Sins But Not Mine" by Mick Farren

Busy bee Mick Farren first made a name for himself in the 1960s when he contributed to OZ magazine and The International Times. He was once a member of The Deviants and he's written lyrics for other bands such as Motorhead and Metallica. He has also been a writer for NME, The Village Voice and The LA Times, he's had 24 novels published and he wrote a best selling book about Elvis Presley and his manager The Colonel. This 412 page collection of memories comes with great illustrations provided by Michael Robinson and is priced at at reasonable £13.99. Farren says that his book is dedicated to "all the guitar player and all the girls and the memory of all those who have gone before and are not forgotten, and also all the cats who have been such vital companions." The first article in the book was written in 1967. Rather than reporting about the Summer of Love and wearing flowers in his hair Farren is going off on one about how both the fuzz and the government are playing a game: "Let's make no mistake, we're living in some sort of police state." The last essay in the collection is from 2007 and it's him musing on the last episode of The Sopranos. " the first credit roles, I realize that's it. After all the years I've devoted to The Sopranos, the conclusion is yet another goddamned mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma..." Elsewhere in the book there are some unfunny moans about smoking in public being banned, there's stuff about earthquakes and Ronald Reagan, and three clips from his three novels were better than I thought they'd be. And there are also examples of his lyrics - which I personally found impossible to connect with. In my opinion, the good stuff is when he writes about music - and thankfully music is what he writes about most... Farren on The Doors: "At best, Morrison's revolution was just a bunch of crazy kids being urged on by a drunken clown in a leather suit" (NME , 1975)Farren on meeting Chuck Berry: "I went away sad and depressed. I had just been face to face with one of the early giants of rock'n'roll and the situation, from the start, had been like a cop interviewing a pretty criminal." (NME, 1976)Farren on The Who still performing in the 1980's: "One of the problems with The Who is that they're just so damned lovable. In London, they're looked on with the kind of cockney fondness that's normally reserved for soccer stars, big-time criminals, and Michael Caine." Mick Farren on Lennon's killer Mark Chapman: "The evil that killed Lennon has killed part of all our memories and all our fantasies. That self-serving little son-of-a-bitch has killed a part of all of us." (SoHo Weekly News,1980). Other highlights in this book include his tributes to Presley, a lovely interview with Johnny Cash and a very intelligent piece about the 10th anniversary of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album.

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