BOOKS: Lord Of The Zings

Back in the day, when rock critics weren’t just zoo-kept follow-fashion monkeys pounding out corporate press releases for peanuts, Meltzer was the 800-pound gorilla at the backstage meet-and-greet. Meltzer, together with Lester Bangs and Nick Tosches, formed a terrible triumvirate of rowdy rock scribblers, angel-headed gutterpunks who wrote like Milton’s satanic majesty and rocked like Keith Richards’ liver. Check out A Whore Just Like the Rest, a compendium of his feverish rock crit musings, if you want to truly understand how the wild horses of rock were tamed into a corporate pony ride. With the winter of his discontent looming on the horizon, Meltzer ponders all the cruel absurdities and mortal wounds endured in the inevitable onset of his geezer years. He sums up the breadth of the book’s graybeard maunderings thusly: “The death of your ass and my ass, tattoos, love and heartbreak, the ugly clothes we will die wearing, polio, the meltdown of this stupid country (which formerly wasn’t so stupid), cancer, my mother’s underwear, 40-year-old used condoms, hemorrhoids, bikini waxing, beer, the sheer evil of teaching hell (the concept) to 3-year-olds, cyber bondage, strokes leading to memory loss, cooties … LSD, diaper conspiracy theory, worms, flies, bread and circuses, all the woe in the world, ageism, the one-size-fits-all-ness of life, suicide, Charles Bukowski’s stink, the difference between something and nothing. Hey there’s plenty of rock in it too, and some blues and jazz, alright?” All right. — JONATHAN VALANIA