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  #1  
Old 11-23-2012, 03:20 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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What are some good biographies of drugged out or emotionally troubled people

I really enjoyed the heroin diaries and have read it multiple times.

I've read Tommy Lee's biography too, but found the part where he was in jail the most interesting.

So I think I'm drawn to biographies about addiction, emotional problems, people living life on the edge and things like that. Are there any recommendations along those genres?
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2012, 03:25 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Years ago I read Wonderland Avenue and loved it. Just the first pages available here will give you a good taste.
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:13 PM
Willcross Willcross is offline
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I'm currently reading "Too fat too fish" about Artie Lange, from Mad TV and later Howard Stern. It's pretty good and focuses on the things you mention.

It helps that i'm a huge Howard fan, and think Artie contributed a lot to that show.
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:25 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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I haven't read it since high school, so consider this with the due weight you'd give any recommendation by an angsty teen girl, but I really loved And I Don't Want to Live This Life, the biography of Nancy Spungen, best known as the bad news girlfriend killed by equally bad news punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, written by her mother.

It's quite possibly utter tripe, but it has good reviews on Amazon. They can't all be from angsty teen girls, right?
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:26 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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I believe it's sort of half autobiography half fiction, but there's always Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If it's anything like the movie, it's probably about as drugged out and emotionally troubled as you're going to get.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:30 PM
jordanr2 jordanr2 is offline
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Jean Stein's Edie: American Girl, dealing with the life and decline of the troubled socialite/starlet Edie Sedgwick. It's told in a series of interviews with various people over the course of her life, which illustrates all the angles of her personality and behavior. Really fascinating and sad.
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:48 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius tells the story, through interviews and up-close reminiscences, of the immense talent and steady descent into madness of the man who was possibly the world's greatest bass guitarist.
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:11 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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WhyNot, I was going to suggest "Syd and Nancy!"
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:45 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanr2 View Post
Jean Stein's Edie: American Girl, dealing with the life and decline of the troubled socialite/starlet Edie Sedgwick. It's told in a series of interviews with various people over the course of her life, which illustrates all the angles of her personality and behavior. Really fascinating and sad.
This is the book I opened the thread to recommend. Absolutely fascinating.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2012, 10:42 PM
BMax BMax is offline
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Please Kill Me is a fascinating read about the early punk scene in New York, from Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, The Stooges and the MC5 in the 60's to the CBGB scene in 1980. Lots of messed up, drugged out people.
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:12 AM
kirk1168 kirk1168 is offline
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Long Time Gone by David Crosby. He tells a story about wandering off stage in Philadelphia to freebase cocaine, Stills and Nash frantically trying to find him. I was at that show. In Pittsburgh.
So even his memories are messed up.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:47 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Check out the books written about (and one by) Dee Dee Ramone.
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2012, 10:12 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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A Fan's Notes by Exley should fit the bill.

http://www.amazon.com/Fans-Notes-Fre.../dp/0679720766.

Quote:
Frederick Exley recounts his life as the son of a hero-worshipped high school athlete who is doomed to be a spectator not only of sports, but of life. From irresponsible drifter, to dreamer of impossible dreams, to drunkard, to frequent patient at an insane asylum, Exley carried baggage from his childhood through much of his adult life, never feeling he could escape the dark cloud of expectation that hung over him. When Frank Gifford, former New York Giants backfield star, is injured, Exley is jolted into painful realizations about his life, and a confession.

Last edited by WordMan; 11-24-2012 at 10:14 AM..
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2012, 11:07 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I thought Tony Fletcher's biography of Who drummer Keith Moon was very good. Moon definitely had major substance abuse problems, and Fletcher argues that he likely suffered from borderline personality disorder as well.

The book is titled Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon in the UK and Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend in the US.

Blurb from Amazon:

Quote:
Keith Moon was the bad boy of rock & roll, the most manic member of an aggressive and fabulously successful band, a full-throttle hedonist who lived at the center of an unending party. He was also a musical genius who inspired whole generations of artists, a generous friend to nearly everyone who crossed his path, a guileless man of immense personal charm to whom the sweetest sound on earth was surf music. A generation after his death, Moon is still revered as the greatest drummer in rock history and the single wildest personality in an age of pop excess. Here is the truth behind the legend, the result of more than three years of research in which music journalist Tony Fletcher interviewed dozens of Moon's friends, colleagues, and associates. The result is an instant classic that brilliantly illuminates both the tender and self-destructive sides of this singular personality. This is the story of one of the most outrageous rock stars ever born -- and Moon is one of the greatest rock biographies ever written.

Last edited by Lamia; 11-24-2012 at 11:07 AM..
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  #15  
Old 11-24-2012, 12:17 PM
Mdcastle Mdcastle is offline
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Girl, Interrupted
Hurry Down Sunshine

More about emotionally troubled rather than drug addiction.
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2012, 12:25 PM
NGC2024 NGC2024 is offline
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I just read Jenna Jameson's memoir "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star". It was good and I ended up liking her quite a bit.
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2012, 01:29 PM
Lightlystarched Lightlystarched is offline
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I enjoyed Carrie White's biography very much. She was a celebrity hairstylist in California in the 60s & 70s.

Quote:
Carrie White was one the most celebrated celebrity hair salon owners of the '60s and '70s, having styled the hair of Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn and Ann-Margret. She also dated Jack Nicholson and was sought after by Hollywood directors, serving as technical director on "Shampoo" and creating Nurse Ratched's infamous hairstyle in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

But beneath the surface of her glamorous life, White had buried a painful past, surviving abandonment, alcoholism and sexual abuse as a child, participating in gangs as a teenager, and having three husbands and five children before age 29.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1730835.html
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  #18  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:09 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Bob Woodward's classic Wired, about John Belushi
Drinking, A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp
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  #19  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:14 PM
phungi phungi is offline
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Scar Tissue by/about Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
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  #20  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:25 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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I read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar many years ago and was very taken by it. Plath committed suicide shortly after it was published and the book itself is essentially autobiographical although in the guise of a novel.
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  #21  
Old 11-24-2012, 05:52 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2012, 04:57 AM
TPWombat TPWombat is offline
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"Divine Invasions", Lawrence Sutin's biography of Philip K. Dick.
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  #23  
Old 11-25-2012, 06:41 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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I haven't read it myself, but Portrait of an Addict As A Young Man by Bill Clegg got a lot of press a year or two ago.
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:15 AM
Surok Surok is offline
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You might enjoy Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio; I'm not into music, but read it after I heard an excerpt on BBC radio, and found it fascinating, in a car-crash reading way.
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  #25  
Old 11-25-2012, 03:49 PM
cgg419 cgg419 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
I really enjoyed the heroin diaries and have read it multiple times.

I've read Tommy Lee's biography too, but found the part where he was in jail the most interesting.

So I think I'm drawn to biographies about addiction, emotional problems, people living life on the edge and things like that. Are there any recommendations along those genres?
If you liked the Heroin Diaries, I highly recommend Slash, by, well, Slash. Hell of a lot of crazy drug and drinking stories, but a lot of cool stuff otherwise related to the various bands he's been in too
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  #26  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:34 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by cgg419 View Post
If you liked the Heroin Diaries, I highly recommend Slash, by, well, Slash. Hell of a lot of crazy drug and drinking stories, but a lot of cool stuff otherwise related to the various bands he's been in too
I read that one and it didn't resonate with me the way Nikki Sixx's biography did. Sixx was a damaged hedonist with a death wish. Slash almost seemed responsible by comparison in my view.
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  #27  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:08 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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James Ellroy's My Dark Places, part autobiography of a paranoid depressed junkie, part murder mystery. His mother was murdered in his childhood and he was attempting to solve it. Ellroy also wrote LA Confidential, The Black Dahlia, and American Tabloid, among others. He's one of the best, and most disturbing, writers I know of.
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  #28  
Old 11-26-2012, 03:35 AM
Face Intentionally Left Blank Face Intentionally Left Blank is offline
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Originally Posted by kirk1168 View Post
Long Time Gone by David Crosby. He tells a story about wandering off stage in Philadelphia to freebase cocaine, Stills and Nash frantically trying to find him. I was at that show. In Pittsburgh.
So even his memories are messed up.
HA! I have to read that sometime. I was at the Pittsburgh show, too - it was my first concert! I remember The Band opened. Great show, probably BECAUSE he was so fucked up. Stills and Nash took turns doing solo material while the other one tried to talk him back on-stage. Strange occurrences like that, where the artists wing it, are more exciting than any planned production. Watching seasoned veterans making unplanned changes to make the most of a bad situation is a joy to see. Stills kicked much ass.

I recently read Ozzy's autobiography. I'd say he counts as a drugged-up, emotionally-troubled person. GREAT read BTW, and I'm not a huge Ozzy fan.

Keith Richards' autobiography wasn't horrible, but to be honest, I haven't finished it yet. It's probably a must-read for Stones fans, though he talks about other things a great deal more than I expected. I'm about 3/4th's of the way through, and it's sat like that for a few months while I read other things. I'll get back to it eventually.

Steven Tyler's autobiography - well, I don't know how it is, because I didn't make it ten pages. He's someone that doesn't use one word where a paragraph will do.
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  #29  
Old 11-26-2012, 09:05 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I haven't read it since high school, so consider this with the due weight you'd give any recommendation by an angsty teen girl, but I really loved And I Don't Want to Live This Life, the biography of Nancy Spungen, best known as the bad news girlfriend killed by equally bad news punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, written by her mother.

It's quite possibly utter tripe, but it has good reviews on Amazon. They can't all be from angsty teen girls, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
WhyNot, I was going to suggest "Syd and Nancy!"
I Don't Want to Live this Life is an excellent read. I love this book. It shows the absolute frustration of a family dealing with a mental ill member who simply could not or would not be cured.

Jill Ireland's "Life Lines" deals with the mental illness and drug addiction of her and David McCallum's adopted son Jason.

Both these children were perscribed psychotropic drugs at a very young age. I've often wondered if the idea that "drugs are okay" can be destructive in the long run.
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  #30  
Old 11-26-2012, 10:17 AM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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No One Here Gets Out Alive. Biography of Jim Morrison.
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  #31  
Old 11-26-2012, 10:20 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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No One Here Gets Out Alive. Biography of Jim Morrison.
The Doors camp is very against this book, subtitling it "Nothing Hear But Pack of Lies."
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  #32  
Old 11-26-2012, 10:26 AM
Tethered Kite Tethered Kite is offline
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Carrie Fischer's semi-autobiographical Postcards from the Edge.
The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebetta-Burditt.
I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can by Barbara Gordon.
Go ask Alice Anonymous.

Last edited by Tethered Kite; 11-26-2012 at 10:27 AM..
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  #33  
Old 11-26-2012, 11:19 AM
Ichbin Dubist Ichbin Dubist is offline
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I haven't read it in eons, but Speed by William S. Burroughs Jr. is an autobiography of a very drugged out and emotionally troubled young man. How troubled? Well, he was probably born addicted to amphetamines; his father is one of the world's most famous junkies; his father also shot his mother when William Jr was 4; later being introduced to drugs by his father in Tangier, he was arrested as a teenager for stealing prescription pads to get amphetamine; and it doesn't get much more pleasant from there.
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  #34  
Old 11-27-2012, 08:03 PM
hamwater hamwater is offline
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Have you read "The Dirt" which is the Mötley Crüe biography? I loved it, even more than the Heroin diaries. Also Dave Navarros book is pretty good too.
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  #35  
Old 11-27-2012, 08:25 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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My son reads and re-reads Brandon Novak's Dreamseller.

http://www.amazon.com/Dreamseller-Br.../dp/0806530049
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  #36  
Old 11-27-2012, 08:48 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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Jerry Garcia's biography Dark Star something or other.

Also the biography of John Belushi.
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  #37  
Old 11-27-2012, 09:15 PM
mike ahndembroak mike ahndembroak is offline
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If you get a chance read "father does know best" by Lauren Chapin. Lauren played Kitty on father knows best, and boy did she have one messed up life.
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  #38  
Old 11-27-2012, 09:22 PM
orderfire orderfire is offline
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Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries fits the bill.
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  #39  
Old 11-28-2012, 01:40 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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The OP might also appreciate watching Intervention on A&E.
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  #40  
Old 11-28-2012, 01:55 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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The Eden Express describes Mark Vonnegut's experiences with schizophrenia (the author is Kurt Vonnegut's son).
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  #41  
Old 11-28-2012, 03:57 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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"Up and Down with the Rolling Stones: The Inside Story" by Tony Sanchez was pretty f'd up. The story of how he moved from snorting coke to mainlining heroin was terrifyingly lucid.
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  #42  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:18 PM
edwards_beard edwards_beard is offline
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Life After Death - Damien Echols - One of the West Memphis Three, from the HBO "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" Documentaries.
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  #43  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:43 PM
Paintcharge Paintcharge is offline
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Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Not so much with the chemicals, but definitely emotionally troubled.

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer ia the story of a kid growing up in a bar, becoming an alcoholic and recovery.

It's been declared a sham as a memoir, but A Million Little Pieces was a pretty good read.
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  #44  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:54 PM
Kansas Beekeeper Kansas Beekeeper is offline
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I found McKenzie Phillips' autobiography High on Arrival hard to put down:

http://www.amazon.com/High-On-Arriva...pr_product_top

Likewise Susanna Sonnenberg's Her Last Death:

http://www.amazon.com/Her-Last-Death...4215211&sr=1-1
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  #45  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:04 PM
Daddypants Daddypants is offline
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Pete Townshend's autobiography, "Who I Am."
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  #46  
Old 11-29-2012, 03:18 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas Beekeeper View Post
I found McKenzie Phillips' autobiography High on Arrival hard to put down:

http://www.amazon.com/High-On-Arriva...pr_product_top
Her father John's autobio Papa John was a good read.

Eric Clapton's Clapton, The Autobiography was a fascinating read from a man who has led a very strange life.
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  #47  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:55 PM
Kansas Beekeeper Kansas Beekeeper is offline
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. . .

Eric Clapton's Clapton, The Autobiography was a fascinating read from a man who has led a very strange life.
Yes, Clapton is very interesting. With it, I'd recommend Patty Boyd's Wonderful Tonight.

http://www.amazon.com/Wonderful-Toni...4924362&sr=1-1
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  #48  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:21 PM
Súil Dubh Súil Dubh is offline
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Originally Posted by Ichbin Dubist View Post
I haven't read it in eons, but Speed by William S. Burroughs Jr. is an autobiography of a very drugged out and emotionally troubled young man. How troubled? Well, he was probably born addicted to amphetamines; his father is one of the world's most famous junkies.
I came in here to list "Junky" by William S. Burroughs (Sr.)

It's a semi-autobiography, so parts of it are fictional, but more than enough of the reality is present to get a good look at the junky lifestyle of the 40's and 50's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkie_(novel)
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  #49  
Old 12-16-2012, 06:46 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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The Artie Lange biography was pretty good. So was Darrel Hammonds 'god if you're not up there I'm fucked'. I wonder if something about fucked up show biz people is something I can relate to.

I like watching intervention on TV.

Only some of these books are available at the library, so I am trying to look into them.
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