Thursday, August 02, 2018


Sometimes I get unsolicited music and even fanzoonies in the mail, but rarely do I ever get a BOOK. But lo and behold an actual tome for our times did make its way to my door a week or so back, sent to me by someone who goes by the name of "Armen" (sounds like an alias...y'know, like Armen Hammer) who lives in Newton Massachusetts, an area I remember from various fambly getawayfromitalls as being kinda rainy though lush with lobster rolls!

And wow, the book this "Armen" sent is not anything to be snoozed at either, but the autobiography of one Richard Meyers also known as Richard Hell, one of the bigger names in that p-rock world that more'n a few readers of this blog give lip service to! I knew this book existed but never really felt the energy to go and search out a copy to read, so thanks be to this "Armen" for not only sending me this book presumably "gratis" but for giving me something other'n an old tattered NANCY comic book to write up for my usual weekday sendouts.

Now I know that some of you readers probably hold Hell in as much contempt as you do me...after all, when the first issue of the legendary KICKS fanzine came out '79 way it was Dick himself who got the "BE KNOW YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DOING THE JERK AND BEING A JERK" treatment! But for me, who never met the guy or even spoke to him on the telephone or heard anything personally bad about him other' what everybody else knows Hell was, and remains for that matter, one of those rockmag guys alla us bedroom pose in front of the mirror pretending we were at Max's Kansas City type of turdballs sure wished we were. And somehow, like a stage mother or even Judy Hennsler's dad snapping photos of his progeny doing pirouettes on the school stage, we all could live through the guy no matter how besotted or just plain unsocial he might be. Just like we all wished we were, natch!

So I DREAMED I WAS A VERY CLEAN BUM is a great 'un to read what with Hell giving us his take on that whole sixties/seventies under-the-underground trip that still seems vital in retrospect. In fact, that era of rock primacy was something that I sure adored because not only was it rooted in the best moments of mid/late-sixties sound as repeato riff bliss but was CURRENT (via the under-the-underground sixties worship as in Velvets vs. Airplane) as well. Of course things like the closing of Max's Kansas City (spiritual) and the advent of MTV (visual) created the deep slide into rock as being totally meaningless to the mass of Lou Reed wannabes worldwide, but I guess it did have to come to an end sometime...

But while it was going....woooosh! And Hell really gives us the details from his suburban slob upbringing to prep school days and of course that late-sixties move to En Why See to try his hand at poetry and lotsa gals, and you kinda see yourself in the whole mess too even if the sitchy-ashions at hand might have gotten a little too...ookie ifyaknowaddamean... Lotsa interesting details regarding Television, the Heartbreakers and of course Richard Hell's own Voidoids do show up and ya gotta be glad that this book ends at just the RIGHT time (early-eightes) because hey, did you really want to read anything about Hell's short-lived marriage to video-schmoozer Patty Smythe of Scandal fame???

Other things I woulda wanted to know about are more'n obviously missing, such as was that group with Hell and Nick Lowe called "Mirrors" really scheduled to perform at the 1976 Mont de Marsan punk fest or was that just a sneaky promoter ploy? We'll probably never know about that 'un for sure but I can tell ya that I DREAMED I WAS A VERY CLEAN BUM is like, a book I can get into if only to sate more of that neo-crypto-post-Velvet Underground sense of eternal drone that continues to affect my life years after even I, and maybe even you, should have known better.

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