Dead Flowers: Syd, Arthur & The Acid-Minded Professor

Chalk it up to karmic coincidence that the deaths of Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett and Love’s Arthur Lee—two of ’60s psychedelia’s most beloved and drug-damaged souls—should bookend the recent publication of Robert Greenfield’s Timothy Leary: A Biography. Though Leary has been dead 10 years, Greenfield wakes his trippy ghost and, à la A Christmas Carol, forces it to confront the damning facts of his past: his reckless acid-for-all advocacy (Leary never really bothered to point out that, um, maybe children and the mentally unstable should not take LSD); his snake-oil charm and countercultural carpetbagging (from stoner Harvard prof to gun-toting […]

Death To The Pixies!

All Good Monkeys Go To Heaven A word of warning: This is gonna be one of those columns where I go on and on about my little monkey shines with famous alt-rock personalities. Millions of people love it when I do that, but others seem to get very, very angry about it, stomp their feet and write mean letters that hurt my feelings. If that sounds like you, stop reading right now. I’m serious. I don’t want to even see you in the second paragraph. Set the Wayback Machine to 1988. I’m a college DJ stranded in the middle of […]

The Art Is Deceitful Above All Things

(Painting by Killer Luka) JT Leroy Is A Great Literary Hoax, But A Mediocre Rock N’ Roll Swindle I have a distant cousin who once punked his parents into believing he’d been going to college, when in fact he had been pocketing the tuition dough and playing video games at the mall — for four years! That his parents were divorced and lived states away from each other and the college helped facilitate the deception. He tearfully confessed on the eve of his supposed graduation. There was a big party planned: catering tent, live band, folks flying in from all […]

Can You Dig It?

(Illustration by Alex Fine) 20 Essential Rock Snob Artifacts Unearthed In 2005 1) Patti Smith Horses: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition (Arista) As the high priestess of punk, Smith revived the shamanistic notion that words could be strung like Christmas lights, and — when whipped around like whirling dervishes atop three-chord garage rock — could open the portal of the ecstatic. 2) Bruce Springsteen Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Three-Disc Set (Sony) After two commercial duds, the suits demanded a hit or else. Written as a time-lapse snapshot of one long summer night in the teenage jungleland of Jersey — with […]

Rock Snob Loot

The Wilco Book (PictureBox Inc.) If you’re one of those Being There dead-enders who thinks Wilco has long since crossed the line from artsy to fartsy, you might want to pass on this. But if you quietly applaud Tweedy and co.’s courage to continually tear up the script in the pursuit of creative spontaneity and musical discovery, then this is for you. It’s a handsomely illustrated doodle pad in which band members wax poetic about the art of rock and the building blocks that make it possible, with essays by Rick Moody and Henry Miller and a CD of unreleased […]