Book Review: Read My Lips
West Texan law fighter's mysterious death remains just that
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., May 29, 2015
I Fought the Law: The Life and Strange Death of Bobby Fullerby Miriam Linna and Randell Fuller
Kicks Books, 266 pp., $19.95 (paper)
Nearly 50 years after the body of 23-year-old Bobby Fuller was found outside his Hollywood apartment, doused with gasoline in the backseat of his mother's Oldsmobile, the circumstances surrounding the Texas-born rock visionary's demise remain obfuscated. Co-authored by the matriarch of Norton Records and Fuller's bass-playing younger brother, this bio promises the untold story. Despite adding color to Fuller's rise to stardom, its treatment of his death gets stuck in contradictory speculation. Early chapters are given to Randell Fuller's recollections of growing up in the Southwest. Before Bobby developed his souped-up West Texas sound in a surprisingly sophisticated home studio on El Paso's Album Ave., the Fuller brothers cultivated a penchant for homemade bombs that nearly did them in on at least one occasion. Such free-spirited hijinks were countered by the horror of their older brother's murder by a drifter. Linna attempts to connect Fuller's death to mobbed-up record mogul Morris Levy and his intimidator Nate McCalla, alleging Fuller had reneged on a copyright deal with the former. While Levy had a well-chronicled predilection for screwy copyright deals and physical persuasion, Linna's body of evidence arrives cloaked in opacity. Overlong quotes abound throughout, begging for the clarity of a paraphrase.