BOOK REVIEW! JAGUAR RIDE, MEMOIR OF AN ELECTRIC EEL by Brian McMahon (Hozac Records)I would start off this review by trotting out some old 'n decidedly trite canard about how I never thought I'd live to see a book such as one about the Electric Eels, or maybe even something more sinister like how I can just hear Anastasia Pantsios' teeth gritting all the way from Cleveland Heights to Western Pee-YAY! I'll dispense with such frivolities for now but really, who would have thought that a book such as this would have ever been written let alone published, and I sure hope that Ana's dental insurance is all paid up.
Founding Electric Eel rhythm guitarist McMahon's eel's eye view of the band ain't anything that's gonna suit the crazed obsessive out there in BLOG TO COMM-land that's for sure! After all, there are none of those weird and intricate details about 'em that you got outta books like that one that told us all about the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney giving out verbatim dialog as if the author was actually in the same room with the two the whole time and had a perfect memory to boot. But I happen to think it's TOP NOTCH, a read gives us a whole buncha fun information regarding the silent Eel and although you're probably gonna be disappointed regarding the lack of back and forths regarding the guys in the band and who got beat up by who (though that is touched on) I think any true blue fan of the Eels would be more'n lucky to latch onto a book of JAGUAR RIDE's sonic stature!
'n even though this ain't exactly the "tell all" that you 'n I thought it would be it's sure good enough to sate my own curiosity, detailing some of the more important aspects of McMahon's growin' up 'n cummin' of age days from stool boy to full-blown Eel with a lotta road covered in between (like, who woulda thought McMahon went through his own hippoid drop outta society phase? Not me!). Most of the stories are pretty bright and funny too, and even though there seems to be a whole load of Eel mystique that I thought should have been touched upon left untread we do get some interesting sagas about the time that other big-time mid-seventies underground band (and pals of the Eels) Mirrors walked into a Chinese restaurant and Mirror head Jamie Klimek actually gave the head cook a heart attack after ordering a cheeseburger! McMahon spends time on how he got Mirrors to do his now infamous and on the lips of every true rocker composition "Jaguar Ride", though nothing really beats the stuff of his association with Dave E who comes off as the archetypal uberpunk in his own suburban slob-ish way.
Too much here to detail clearly but you'll enjoy the whole book which I think might infuriate a few people who were up front on the local doings. Dunno how John Morton'll react to this, but given how he and McMahon are currently at loggerheads over the whole Electric Eels domain name I'm sure there will be more'n a little friction brewin' within a week or two. Ditto Charlotte Pressler who also comes in for a berating due to some allegedly false information she gave regarding an Eels to-do that was mentioned in her classic "Those Were Different Times" piece in CLE where Morton might or might not have beat the living dickens out of Dave E. But whatever the case may be all I gotta say is that JAGUAR RIDE was a top read of the week and only serves to revitalize any dormant Eelisms I might hold in my soul and boy could I have used this 'un back 1979 way I'll tell ya!
And while I'm at it another thing I gotta mention is...sure can't wait to read Morton's rebuttal! That oughta be one wild Jaguar Ride in itself dontcha think???