Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chuck Klosterman's Death Trip: A Review

From globeandmail.com:

Pop-culture essayist Klosterman was about to take the death-trip of his life. The author, who deconstructed coolness in 2003's Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and recently released Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story, embarked on a three-week, cross-country ride to all those places where rock 'n' roll had died -- among them, the site of the Iowa plane crash that claimed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper in 1959; the intersection in Macon, Ga., where two motorcycling members of The Allman Brothers Band perished, roughly a year apart in the early 1970s; and the Rhode Island club where a Great White concert ended in a monstrous life-taking inferno in 2003.

...Originally, Klosterman's journey was intended to be in service of a single article for Spin magazine. The idea was to travel to rock-music death sites in hopes of solving a nagging, bizarre truth: Why is it that the greatest move any musician can make is to stop breathing?

Klosterman talks in a swift, thin voice that has the prospects of turning severely whiny, depending on his mood. He's very good at answering his own questions -- you get the feeling he does it a lot. As to dying as a means of career advancement, Klosterman points out that it applies solely to those types whose goal is to become a static, iconic figure -- one whose artistic reputation would expand after their timely demise. "Their audience will then inject the knowledge of their death back into the music."

Conversely, according to Klosterman, death is not the best move if you want to do things such as "read, go bowling or see moose."

"Would David Bowie be better off if he had died in 1976?" Klosterman asks himself. "Well, there's a lot of bad records he would have never made, but it looks like David Bowie has a pretty good life. And I'm sure Lou Reed is very happy he's alive, even though if he had died in 1974, he would be seen as an almost unassailable genius."
It says here that Lou Reed is an unassailable genius, but at any rate, I saw Chuck read (actually talk about) in a book store, and the book sounds interesting. For the record, dying young is Overt.

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