The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll: A Memoir by Mark Edmundson (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 240 pages)
“Being a Stones lover was about being willing to piss anywhere. And on everything.”
Based on the original AC/DC-based book cover and the 60s-style journalism used by Edmundson early on, it seems that this is going to be a rock memoir in the style of Chuck Klosterman and Rob Sheffield. Fortunately, it is not, as a bit of Klosterman and/or Sheffield goes a long, long way. This is, instead, a true tale of personal growth and what it takes to arrive at a personal philosophy of life. To be specific, Edmundson writes about “the best moments” in his young life, when he worked as a rock roadie, a cab driver, assistant manager of a movie theater, and small college instructor.
As a young man and college graduate in New York City, Edmundson was floundering: “Young people like me want everything, yet… have no idea just what EVERYTHING is….” The streets of the Big Apple wound up being the perfect academy for Edmundson, who was to discover that ambition must rest on the attempt to balance personal glory with compassion for others.
The rock and roll lessons can be discarded, as Edmundson came into contact with mega-bands that were a decade or more past their prime. This is an engaging, yet non-essential, read that may offer younger readers a bit of guidance for the journey that’s still ahead.
Reprinted courtesy of San Francisco Book Review. The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll was released in trade paper form on May 10, 2011.