I rarely review books …


… because having your own book reviewed, generally speaking, sucks. Stings. Bruises. Even if the danged thing is 99% positive, you can’t help but harp on the one negative point. Two weeks ago, the New York Times reviewed “Strokes of Genius,” Jon Wertheim’s excellent Federer-Nadal opus. Jon’s a close friend, and he was understandably irked by the review. So was I. Others read it, however, and said, “Excellent review!” We see what we see, I reckon.

I digress. I have decided to make an exception to my NO BOOKS REVIEWED HERE rule because, as we speak, I am absorbed by what already goes down as one of my favorite all-time reads. The name of the book is A DEVIL ON ONE SHOULDERS AND AN ANGEL ON THE OTHER: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon. The author is Greg Prato.

I swear to you, it is a must read.

Whether you love Blind Melon (admittedly, I do), hate Blind Melon (my wife qualifies) or know nothing of blind Melon other than the Bee Girl, the book is a mind-blowing trip through the 90s rock scene. The star of the narrative is Hoon, Melon’s gifted-yet-self-destructive lead singer who can turn any song into magic but who never meets a drug he doesn’t snort, shoot up, smoke or ingest. Prato’s work is brutally, unflinchingly honest—he loves Melon, but spares no words painting Hoon as he truly was—an out-of-control, oft-selfish genius whose lack of maturity and inability to see beyond himself led to his death at age 28 (of a cocaine overdose). The stories here come fast and hard: Hoon slicing up his chest with a piece of glass; Hoon pissing on the audience at a concert in Vancouver; Hoon delving into crack; Hoon promising to turn his life around with the birth of his daughter Nico, only to fall back into old habits.

Again, I rarely recommend any product. But I strongly recommend this.

A killer effort.

5 thoughts on “I rarely review books …”

  1. is the book just a compilation of interviews? or is it a story with a beginning, middle and end?

    Asking because I flipped through a few sample pages on Amazon and it appeared to be a bunch of interview quotes.

    (Very cool that it’s Kindle-ready though!)

  2. Blind Melon were sorely underrated, and I truly hate the fact that they are known for that truly insufferable “No Rain”…Thanks for mentioning this here, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it.

  3. I still think “No Rain” is a brilliant song- I love how such a sunny-sounding tune is actually kind of dark and sad when you consider what the lyrics are saying. But I agree that it’s kind of a shame that to most music fans, “No Rain” is all Blind Melon is known for. In a perfect world, “Change” and “Galaxie” would have also been huge top 40 hits.

    Anyway, this book looks interesting, and I can’t wait to check it out…

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