Friday, September 9, 2016

"Papa John" An Autobiography by John Phillips (Dolphin Books)


There is invariably a dark presence or cloud in one's area of interest. I love rock n' roll. In fact, I love music. And I love reading musician's memoirs. At the best, they are brilliant with strong characteristic qualities - Jah Wobble, Ray Davies, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Viv Albertine, Oscar Levant, and numerous jazz memoirs. The weak one's is usually written for money - well, more likely all for money, but still, the character comes through and makes it a fascinating read. Unfortunately, John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas has no strong character. Son of a failed military man, he is a figure who basically had one service - and was to service himself. There are charming characters - such as Errol Flynn and others of that particular character, that can only do bad, yet, somehow become charming even after their questionable deeds and actions. Phillips, on the other hand, lacks the charm And his memoir "Papa John" is the king of the charmless autobiographies. He had sex, he did drugs, he wrote happy/sad music, he had more sex, more drugs, hung out with famous (and more talented than him) people, did drugs with them, did drugs with his children, had sex with friends, other's wives, sex with wife, sex, and then more drugs. He became addicted. A little bit more sex, but mostly now drugs. By the time I finished this book, I loathe him. Still, at times, it was a hard book to put down. However, then again, I'm sort of the guy who can probably watch a slow-motion car accident - and then hating myself for doing so. I don't hate myself for reading this book, but as I read, I had one eye on the page of this book, and a wandering eye on the pile of books I want to be able to read. It kept my hope up.
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