Saturday, 20 February 2010

a Year in books 10 - Things the Grandchildren Should Know

Music autobiographies tend to fall into that "for fans only" bracket. However Mark Everett or Eels as he records as, has written a book that transcends whether you like his music or not. If you like his music you probably know how tragedy has followed tragedy, as part of his coping mechanism is to turn the experiences into something positive ie his music. For those who don't know, this is what has happened to his family

Father - a genius who developed the theory of multiple universes, who died of a heart attack , Eels discovered the body.

Sister - committed suicide

Mother - died of cancer

Cousin - was an air stewardess on the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Add these together with a series of failed relationships with unstable women and the death of friends, this book should be a harrowing read, written by someone in the throws of deep depression. This however is an inspiring read full of wisdom and humour even when the reality is at it's darkest. The book is at its best when Eels writes about his upbringing (think an off beat take on the "Ice Storm") and early days as a musician. When success does come Eels recognises this as a balance to some of the terrible things that have happened to him (it's the classic give someone a tape at a party , surprisingly they turn out to a) listen to it b) like it and c) be influential enough to be able to do something about it).

As Eels starts to find success the book becomes a bit more like the traditional music book, however, Eels writer's voice is still very natural and the anecdotes chosen propel the story on and never get in the way.
If you want a different kind of music history told with candour and built around hope for the future then give this a go

You can buy Eels book here

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