From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, Disgraceland comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book inspired by true stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history.
You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. Would it change your view of him if you knew that, or would your love for his music triumph?
Real rock stars do truly insane thing and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult. We allow this behavior. We are complicit because a rock star behaving badly is what's expected. It's baked into the cake. Deep down, way down, past all of our self-righteous notions of justice and right and wrong, when it comes down to it, we want our rock stars to be bad. We know the music industry is full of demons, ones that drove Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious and that consumed the Norwegian Black Metal scene. We want to believe in the myths because they're so damn entertaining.
Disgraceland is a collection of the best of these stories about some of the music world's most beloved stars and their crimes. It will mix all-new, untold stories with expanded stories from the first two seasons of the Disgraceland podcast. Using figures we already recognize, Disgraceland shines a light into the dark corners of their fame revealing the fine line that separates heroes and villains as well as the danger Americans seek out in their news cycles, tabloids, reality shows and soap operas. At the center of this collection of stories is the ever-fascinating music industry--a glittery stage populated by gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, groupies with violence, scandal and pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll entertainment.
The title of Brennan's entertaining debut refers to the name the locals came to call the Nesbit, Miss., home of singer-songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis, who led a well-publicized dissolute life, in contrast to that of their hero, Elvis Presley, the proprietor of Graceland. (It's also the name of the author's rock 'n' roll true crime podcast.) Lewis is notorious for having married his 13-year-old cousin, but the Killer, as he was known, may have been a real killer. Brennan presents a convincing case that Lewis, who was married seven times, murdered his fifth wife, to whom he was married only 77 days; local law enforcement was in his pocket, and the authorities ruled the highly suspicious death accidental (the victim's bruised, dirt-covered body was resting atop a perfectly made bed; Lewis had defensive-looking scratches on his hand). Lewis's is one of 11 stories that blend true facts with vivid imaginings of the musicians' thoughts and mental states. Other misbehaving celebrities include Sam Cooke, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious, and Elvis, who merits two chapters ("Fat Elvis" and "Skinny Elvis"). The lesser known story of Mayhem, a Norwegian black metal band, makes for particularly creepy reading. This gossipy account is sure to fascinate music fans and true crime lovers.
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Book is fantastic!