Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp

I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell (Ecco Books)
 For a guy who played no small part in the birth of punk rock as we know it, you would think Richard Hell would be better known for his efforts. Unfortunately, history has not been so kind to Hell (born Richard Meyers). Despite being a founding member of three of NYC's most legendary bands (Television, Heartbreakers and the Voidoids), a lack physical drive, serious addictions and a penchant for boredom curtailed whatever career promise there was during those important years of the late seventies. This autobiography is a fascinating look at his life from his early suburban upbringing, shit-disturbing school years (where he discovered poetry) and ultimately the realization that rock and roll could be a perfect conduit for his creativity. The decade before the AIDS epidemic was one of freedom, experimentation and debauchery so there is more than enough sex and drugs to titillate the senses. It is indeed a small miracle that he survived when so many of his friends did not. Extremely well-written and recommended even to those with a limited knowledge of underground culture. (RA)