David N. Meyer was born in Gainesville, Georgia. His books include
The 100 Best Films To Rent You've Never Heard Of and A
Girl and A Gun; The Complete Guide to Film Noir On Video. He
has written on film and music for Entertainment Weekly, The New
York Times, Wired and The Rocket. Mr. Meyer
teaches in cinema studies at the New School and is the film editor
for the arts monthly Brooklyn Rail. He contributed to the
underground humor classic The Book of the Subgenius. He
lives in New York City and Ketchum, Idaho.
Gram Parsons is remembered as much for wearing sequined cowboy suits on stage and for being illegally cremated in the desert by one of his friends after dying of a drug overdose as he is for the half-dozen albums he played on in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the Byrds' classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Meyer (A Girl and a Gun) covers both aspects of the legend, but he gives particular attention to the way Parsons brought together elements of country and rock music to forge a new sound. After a leisurely telling of Parsons's "rich white trash" family drama in Florida and Georgia, including his father's suicide and the barely contained contempt of his mother's family, the biography plunges into his musical career, careening from one band to the next just as Parsons himself did. Meyer is appreciative but never adulatory of Parsons, who he believes threw his talent away; while citing the influence of the Flying Burrito Brothers' debut album, for example, he repeatedly mentions the band's "unbelievably sloppy" sound. This isn't the first biography of Parsons, but Meyer's semidetached stance as a critical fan makes it a valuable one, in the vein of Peter Guralnick or Greil Marcus. (Oct. 30) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.