I Am Ozzy - Ozzy Osbourne
Grand Central Publishing
By Rob ”Bubbs” Harris
I was not expecting much from the Ozzy autobiography at first, as I wasn’t much of a fan after The Ultimate Sin, but I’ll be damned if this book isn’t one of the most entertaining reads I have stumbled across in the past few years. I think what drew me into the book so much is the fact that it’s written like Ozzy talks. It’s all over the place, and knee-slappingly hilarious. The Blizzard lays it all out for you without holding back a single thing. We get a peek into the childhood of the man that would go on to create Heavy Metal. When that dude talks about his first piece of ass, I lost it. You just don’t picture a mega star like Ozzy to have stories of being a wimpy little bastard like so many of us were, but he does. You also wouldn’t expect a man like that to have such a close relationship with his immediate family, especially growing up in the 40’s/50’s, but he does. And to hear it all explained by one of the most scatterbrained minds on the planet, you can’t help but laugh out loud at the ranting of either a complete madman, or a sheer genius. He puts you in the very schoolyard with him when he first meets the cool kid in school, some dude named Tony Iommi.
Once we get past the coming of age story of the prince of darkness, we take a trip down the rabbit hole for a truly disturbing look at drug addiction and mental instability at it’s best (or worst!). How this guy is still walking and talking is beyond me. You know, for a dude that supposedly created “The Devil’s Music”, it would seem that this God fellow has a special place in his heart for the Ozzman, because if ever someone had someone watching out for them, it was Ozzy. We deal with extreme happiness, only to have it ripped apart by terrible sadness and loss. To read about the firing of Ozzy from Black Sabbath is depressing enough, but to read the gut wrenching tale of losing the legendary Randy Rhoads is a tear-jerker. I personally could not imagine going through so much shit and making it out alive, much less sane. We also learn more about the tumultuous relationship between his wife Sharon and himself, which wasn’t always so happy and fit for television.
Finally, we arrive at the present. Four kids, two wives, a shit-load of dogs and a catalogue of super hit records later and it would almost seem that the Ozzy we see today isn’t too different from the frail little guy that got whacked with a shoe for fucking up, or for no good reason, but rose above all of the crap to blaze a trail and make a name for himself that will live on in history forever. I hate to say that laughed and I cried, but fuck it…..I laughed and I cried. This book is a great read and I recommend it to every Rock’N’Roll fan on the face of the Earth.
Dolor: Chrissy Book II - Rick Florino
By Jessica Bohatch-Easton
The town of Dolor has burned to the ground and FBI Agent Jeffries has gone to investigate. Therein lies the strange story of the men and women of Dolor and the tragedies that befall its inhabitants. Strangely enough, Agent Jeffries finds one house that has not burned to a crisp and inside are ten diaries that he reads one by one. Each diary is a book in the Dolor series, a gritty series of illustrated novellas about tragic characters, fantasy, and horror. Chrissy is the second novella in the Dolor series of characters.
Dolor: Chrissy begins where Dolor: Lila left off – with Agent Jeffries. Agent Jeffries wakes up on the floor of the house holding the first book, Lila, and wonders why he has a bloody lump on the back of his head. As I was reading Chrissy, I was struck by how much I wanted to know more about Jeffries and what had happened to him in between reading the diaries. I hope that the story behind Jeffries is explained in a later diary because I was left with wanting more.
Jeffries reads the Chrissy diary, becoming more involved with the town of Dolor and its residents who seem to have vanished. The somber mood of an abandoned Dolor permeates the winter atmosphere of a pre-fire Dolor. While I knew that the Chrissy concerned a time before the town was destroyed, the lonely charred starkness filled Rob’s story. The diary belongs to Rob, a single EMT with a lousy love life, has little success with dating, and spends his money on video games. In some ways, the town was not changed with the fire. In fact, the town was doomed before the fire. Dolor was not a happy town before it was burnt and the people in it seem to be familiar with heartache and violence. The despair is evident in the townspeople, in the choices that they make, and the loneliness that Rob feels every day. Readers should be able to relate to a man who is not the life of the party, never fits in, and has trouble relating to society. Rob is stood up for a date, leaves the Dolor mall, is hit by a car, and wakes up in the hospital. While Rob is in the hospital recovering from his hit and run, he runs into Officer Caleb Taylor who is investigating the crime. Coincidently, Caleb Taylor is the author of the first diary Agent Jeffries reads Dolor: Lila. I am left wondering if Caleb is going to show up in every novella in the series and if so, does his story have a happy or sad ending? The connection of Caleb and Agent Jeffries, ties the diaries together in sadness and redemption.
The novella follows Rob as he is rescued and kidnapped by Chrissy, taken to her house in the middle of nowhere, and attacked by the husband that she no longer loves. The twist at the end of the diary was not what I was expecting. Even though I am an avid reader of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, I was not expecting Chrissy to be a vampire. I suppose the comments about drug use in Dolor, the blandness that is everywhere in town, and Rob’s utter lack of catching onto clues left by his conversations with Chrissy, gave me no clues to his eventually becoming a vampire against his will.
If that description simply did Dolor: Chrissy justice, readers still do not know what they are missing. Rick Florino’s ability to write tight convincing dialogue, plot, and intrigue is exceptional, the interspersing of drawing by Kristel Lerman conveying thoughts, scenes, and pieces from the novella add to the feeling of dread and despair that the residents of Dolor feel. This is not your typical graphic novel or horror novella, the Dolor series drags a reader in from the first page and tells a full story in limited time.
Full Metal Jackie: Certified - The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the 80's - Jackie Kajzer & Roger Lotring
By Jeffrey Easton
Back in the 80’s we were deluged with 100s of metal records each with songs of varying meanings for your riveted brain to try to decipher. Did you ever try to sit there and take a stab at what they meant? Well, Full Metal Jackie, the host of Chaos on www. Indie1031.com and nationwide through Envision Radio, has come out with a book that may shed light on some of your favorite songs. She digs through the likes of Judas Priest, Megadeth, Dio era Sabbath as well as solo Dio, Ozzy, Motorhead, Anthrax etc. The more interesting stories are from Dio and Ozzy’s on again off again bassist/writer Bob Daisley. They give a sinister insight to the creation of certain lyrics and are good storytellers. Dave Mustaine is always an interesting read and one of the most fascinating stories this book had to offer was the back story on Peace Sells. Part of the book’s title is “The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics” and where as that is true for a majority of the book, I am disappointed by the Metallica entries. If it is the true stories behind the lyrics then why did you have the takes of others on Metallica’s lyrics? If you could not get an interview with them then there were many other bands and outstanding songs to choose from. Each entry in this book has the insight of the writer (with the exception of Metallica) through interviews, which gives the lyrics life and makes for a different story than your typical interview. Jackie did a great job enticing the meanings from her subjects whether it was Dee Snider, King Diamond, Kerry King amongst others and if the meaning metal lyrics fascinate you then Certified will take you over the edge.
Fall to Pieces - Mary Forsberg Weiland
Harper Collins Publishers
By Jessica Bohatch-Easton
Drug abuse and mental illness are two topics in which my knowledge is purely academic. I have little personal experience with people who have addictions and psychological problems that interfere with life. That being said, I was amazed at how well I could relate to and sympathize with Mary Forsberg Weiland’s autobiography, co-written with Larkin Warren. Mary Weiland, a former model, is the wife of Scott Weiland (now separated and going through a divorce), the singer of the alt-rock band Stone Temple Pilots.
Mary grew up clueless as to her bipolar disorder and addiction to drugs and alcohol. What shocked me the most was how early her problems began and how her family was clueless to her suffering. While acknowledging mental illness was taboo in Mary’s childhood and still is to an extent, Mary suffered erroneously because she admitted that she did not believe that she was bipolar and no one fought to make Mary and her family see what her true issues were. I am sure being married to a man in a rock band who had his own issues did not help Mary and I for one can safely say that I would not want my own daughters to date a man in the music industry. Years went by as Mary went through drug treatments and depression counseling, never really understanding that her ultimate issue was bipolar disorder. Mary ignored her mental illness for years and went through rounds of drug treatments, finally kicking her drug problems when she became pregnant with her first child. Bipolar disorder would again rear its ugly head and Mary would finally be forced to deal with an illness that shadowed her from childhood, always a part of her life.
Before reading Fall to Pieces, I had seen a media interview with Mary concerning her book but I really was not familiar with Mary and her story. The little I knew about Mary and Scott revolved around his drug addiction, arrests, and her burning his clothes in their front yard. I can also honestly say that I was never the biggest Stone Temple Pilots fan (though years later I have come to like many of their songs), even though they truly are a band from my era. I am sure that there are people who believe that Mary’s book is about one thing – telling disastrous stories concerning Scott Weiland, but the book is not about Scott, not really. Instead, it is about Mary Forsberg and her journey through life, and yes, Scott was a large part of her life from about 15 years old and on, but he is not the star of the story. I also know that I have read a few statements online where various people are angry with Mary for releasing her book and these people believe that she was out to destroy Scott and his reputation. Though let’s be honest, I think that Scott Weiland has done enough on his own to ‘tarnish’ his reputation and Mary’s book factors little into his own past behaviors. I also read a quote from Scott Weiland stating that Mary now is in the public eye and has to deal with the consequences resulting from becoming a public figure. While I do agree, the book does put her in the public eye, their marriage and the tumultuous relationship that the two had was in the public more so than Mary’s book will ever be. In the end, Mary is respectful to her husband (soon to be ex), he is intertwined with her story but he is not the star. The simple fact is that he was a part of her life for many years and the father of her children, therefore to ignore his part in her life would have (I am sure) left out many years and stories from her autobiography.
Mary is not hateful towards Scott and his own addictions and psychological problems. The book portrays a couple who love(d) each other but could not stay together and for the sake of their children and sanity they are no longer together. Destroying each other seemed to be the next logical step if the two were to live together. I can say that I felt for the family, two parents with similar problems in an industry who have (or not) faced their addictions and mental issues. To be together would cause too much heartache and one or more of the couple would sink back into spiraling chaos.
Truly, the book is a coming of age story about a California girl – a California girl who also happened to have drug, alcohol, marital, and psychological problems. There are many people who can relate to Mary’s story and many who will find peace and revelations about their own lives because of her courageous retelling of her life – a life that was a true roller coaster of difficulties, good times and bad, blackness, self-hate, and family. Airing dirty laundry for the whole world to see in order for understanding, remembrance of the past, forgiveness, closure, a message to others, and as a message to family would be too much for many people but Mary Forsberg does it to help, teach others, and herself.
Buy Fall to Pieces