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Rock Bottom

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Des Barres, a former hanger-on to rock stars (e.g., I'm with the Band, Jove, 1988), tells of the many performers whose careers were cut short by tragedy. A 50,000-copy first printing.

Having parlayed several heady years of rock groupiedom into her two dippy yet heartfelt memoirs (I'm with the Band and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart), Des Barres now offers a lightweight and largely predictable collection of rock's sorriest tales, interspersed with her own gushing opinions. American readers may be unfamiliar with the automobile crash of 1970s heartthrob Marc Bolan, or the slow and weirdly eccentric descent into drugs of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, but Sex Pistol Sid Vicious's helter-skelter nosedive into heroin and self-inflicted pain is old stuff by now, likewise the brief lives and messy deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Des Barres's own amorous experiences should mean that the sections on John Bonham and Keith Moon, respectively the late drummers for Led Zeppelin and the Who, should crackle with authenticity, but they don't. Also, the author merely gets bogged down in a surfeit of biographical detail and hapless hero worship. While some of her subjects barely deserve their own chapters, the few scant notes in the introduction barely scratch the surface of the legendary badness that is Jerry Lee Lewis. A goodly portion of the hundred black-and-white photos feature thin, dissolute young men in partial stages of undress. (Oct.)

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