Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
Drugs and Rock and Roll stories are nothing new in the world of publishing. Every year, we seem to see four or five “tell all” books about the music business and the minefields inherent with life on the road. Sick of Being Me, Sean Egan’s first book, tells the story of musician and heroine addict Paul Hazelwood, creating a picture of what so many confused and speed-driven rock and rollers live through:
“On the last four or five streets I had to stop to vomit twice. The first time, I felt my stomach going into spasms. It wasn’t painful but the bizarre violent jumping of your innards makes you feel queasy in the brain as well as in the gut: an awful, all-over slithery sensation. I stopped and held my face away from the papers. My stomach felt like it was rolling over itself as the eruption of sick hit the pavement..”
I know what you’re saying — “but I’ve read all this before. Why should I read it again?” Good question.
And the answer is that I believe this book. While reading this, I don’t sense that I’m being bullshitted – but instead, I get the feeling that I am in a conversation with another writer about something he saw down the street last night. This story reads not so much as a novel but as a careful and clear reportage of the behind the scenes world of the music business (Egan is a music journalist so he’s obviously been carefully observing his surroundings). In the end, Egan is able to pull all this off because his writing is crisp and clear and ever-so-evocative: a tour through the muddy swamps of 2 AM music clubs, pant cuffs muddy with rain, shirt stained with puke, no more money for drugs.
Sick of Being Me is about the world that haunted Jim Carroll. It’s about the world that plagued William Burroughs and Herbert Huncke circa Tangiers in the early 1950s: a shockingly real ride through the dirtiness of addiction and denial and egotism told with the sure-eyed realism of a practicing journalist.