Book Review: Summertime Peruse
He died onstage, not on the page
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., May 30, 2014
Headpress, 420 pp., $19.95 (paper)
Mick Farren, English counterculture legend, rocker, lyricist for (among others) Motörhead, sci-fi author, cultural critic, and raconteur, died last July onstage in London, performing with his reconstituted psych/protopunk band the Deviants, six weeks shy of turning 70. Published last May, Elvis Died for Somebody's Sins is thus Farren's last will and testament, anthologizing work going back to his first days in the underground UK press on the staff of IT in 1967. It roars through his mid-Seventies stint at NME, including his classic sneer at bloated rock culture, "The Titanic Sails at Dawn," which heralded the oncoming punks, and culls years of columns for publications from Trouser Press and The Los Angeles Times to his own Doc 40 blog. A sampling of lyrics includes "Lost Johnny," penned with Lemmy when Hawkwind needed to fill an album; Metallica's cover kept Farren in whiskey, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes for years. A book review could never communicate Mick Farren's importance, his mordant, justifiably paranoid vision, his blinding wit. This anthology does.