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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reckless - A Cautionary Tale

    In a sense, Chrissie Hynde's new autobiography "Reckless" is a cautionary tale of the wrong way to become a rock legend.  (For those who don't know, Chrissie Hynde is the Akron born lead singer and founder of the rock band  The Pretenders.)  The book is funny, shocking, sad, and poignant at times.  Chrissy lived an adventurous life, mostly because she never shied away from trying something new or going somewhere different.  It's written with a backward looking "if I knew then what I know now" type of wisdom. 
      Chrissy started dropping acid at the age of 15 and before she was 21 had done enough drugs to kill a moose. It's surprising that she has any brain cells left to put together a coherent sentence, but she does. Apparently she, like Keith Richards, has one of those curious body chemistries that can take all kinds of abuse and still keep going. In a sudden moment of self understanding around mid-book she confesses "this story is a story of drug abuse."  Is it ever.
   I was a teen in the 70's, an era when drug experimentation was fairly rampant but nobody I knew came close to ingesting the amount of chemicals that Chrissie and her cohorts did.  The funny thing is, while doing all those drugs, she abhorred the thought of putting a piece of hamburger into her mouth.  She became a strict vegetarian. Well everyone has their convictions.  Who knows the mind of a teenager?
   One of the more difficult sections to read is an account of going to a "party" with a bunch of Hell's Angels and being gang raped.  Chrissie has taken some heat from various women's organizations for claiming full responsibility for what happened that night.  But I get her point. I don't think she's saying the men were blameless.  She was in a drug induced haze at the time and agreed to go alone with a bunch of goons to who knows where for who knows what?  She's warning any young female readers that this is not a wise thing to do.  It wouldn't have happened if she'd used a little more common sense but who has common sense when they're messed up on drugs?
       It's really a wonder she wasn't assaulted more often, given the number of times she went to the house of a complete stranger to crash, moved in with someone she didn't know from Adam, or slept on the street.  She was lucky in that regard.  Well, almost.
     Due to her singular devotion to rock and roll as a teen, Chrissie was a persistent groupie.  Without giving away too much of the plot, she partied with some pretty big names in the business before she even joined a band.  I'm not even to the point in the book where she's hit it big yet.  She's only just now arriving in London, partly as an attempt to avoid any more encounters with her biker "friends."  I can only imagine how crazy the partying is going to get from here on out, and what kind of bizarre things will be happening.  If you're curious, keep an eye on this blog - I'll give you my final impressions later.