Book Review: Read My Lips
Fanboy Beck tome
Reviewed by Neph Basedow, Fri., May 29, 2015
Throwing Frisbees at the Sun: A Book About Beckby Rob Jovanovic
Jawbone Press, 256 pp., $19.95 (paper)
Joining his previous biographies on Pavement, Nirvana, and R.E.M. comes Rob Jovanovic's study of genre-bender Beck. Commencing with familial background before the now 44-year-old's birth, the paperback's thoroughness proves its unabashed "fan" perspective. Its first quarter recounts the singer's urban L.A. upbringing amid his Latino stepfamily and Jewish heritage, those geographical and cultural connections elucidating his wide-ranging musical influences. Gripping are tidbits like Beck's per diem jobs (coat checker, ditch digger, leaf blower). Momentum cranks once the Brit veers from book report prose into the more broadly fascinating backstories of the Los Angeleno's recordings and collaborations, like the fluke genesis of 1993 debut hit "Loser," first recorded at Geto Boys producer Karl Stephenson's home studio. Odelay chapters yield insight into that 1996 LP's Dust Brothers production prowess. Throwing Frisbees at the Sun: A Book About Beck also compiles radio, TV, and print pieces. The author's own phone interview with his subject in 2002 could've been overhauled given the bio's 15-year conception. It reads, at times, like a zealous dialogue Jovanovic's having with himself.