Book Review: Twisting by the Pool

Rock & roll summer reading

Twisting by the Pool

Shell Shocked: My Life With the Turtles, Flo & Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.

by Howard Kaylan with Jeff Tamarkin
Backbeat Books, 304 pp., $24.99

As lead singer of Sixties pop godheads the Turtles, half of Seventies rock satirists Flo & Eddie, member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Inventions, and possessor of an eclectic résumé that's too massive to recount here, Howard Kaylan has enjoyed a wild, half-century ride that cries to be told in book form. Author of this brutally forthright account, he's the rare rock memoirist who's less motivated by self-aggrandizement and score-settling than by a relentless honesty and willingness to confront his own insecurities and flaws. The result is massively entertaining, frequently hilarious, and occasionally harrowing, vivid in its depictions of Kaylan's life and times, and unsparing in all manner of indulgences, infidelities, and dirty business dealings. Beyond the sex, drugs, and all-star supporting cast, it's Kaylan's unlikely saga of dogged persistence and showbiz survival that ultimately makes Shell Shocked a fascinating, and oddly inspiring, trip.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Scott Schinder
Music DVDs
The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark

Dec. 19, 2014

Box Sets
Bob Dylan & The Band
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Record Review)

Dec. 12, 2014


The Turtles, Flo & Eddie, Howard Kaylan, Marc Volman, Frank Zappa

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle