- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: It Books; 1st edition (March 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061543675
- ISBN-13: 978-0061543678
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 113 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness Paperback – March 15, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Strauss, who has coauthored books with the band members of Mötley Crüe (The Dirt) and porn superstar Jenna Jameson (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star) now offers a terrific look at the dysfunctional livelihoods of stardom, a theme based on his many interviews for various publications. Strauss went back to his original interview tapes and notes in search of moments—mostly unpublished—that reveal "the truth or essence of each person, story, or experience." He liberally and ingeniously cuts back and forth between scenes, such as pairing the youthful, arrogant claims of Oasis that the band could have been the Beatles in the 1960s with the tortured feeling of the Who's aging leader Pete Townshend ("All we can do in the future is look back"). In other instances, he shows the self-doubt shared by Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner and actor Orlando Bloom. But the best moments come when Strauss has earned such trust of his subjects that he becomes part of some very weird scenes, all of which are presented in all their often hilarious detail: shooting guns with Ludacris, getting kidnapped by Courtney Love, making Lady Gaga cry, and shopping for Pampers with Snoop Dogg. (Mar.)
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“We might as well have had sex now.” (Lady Gaga)
“If you were a girl, I’d f*ck you.” (Bo Diddley)
“We could do fifteen minutes in Vegas.” (Chuck Berry)
“One of the longest and greatest interviews I’ve ever had.” (Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys)
“The best interview of my life.” (Britney Spears)
“Well Neil, f*ck you.” (Phil Collins, Angry Letter to Neil Strauss)
“The best and most honest daily newspaper reporter rock has ever seen.” (Dave Marsh, Author)
“This excellent bathroom read is boiled down like little rocks of crack.” (Library Journal)
“Gonzo interviewing at its best.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“A terrific look at the dysfunctional livelihoods of stardom.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Top customer reviews
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Not a collection of interviews as you might think. It's the best parts of the best interviews edited together like a mix-tape, often segmented together by connection or contrast in theme, splitting the interviews up so that you are not just reading one interview, then the next. You read a segment for a few pages, switch to someone else, and come back to the same people again; not always, but it's mostly like that. I found it to be a nice creative way of putting the book together, and I was thoroughly entertained.
Thankfully, ELYWYD is so much more than that. The book splices dozens of Strauss' interviews into a narrative so that, unlike most books of interviews, you actually want to read this one cover to cover. The narrative sometimes follows a theme (contrasting different rock stars' views on faith, struggles with addictions, their childhoods, battles with record companies, etc.), and other times explores a particular story (for instance why some members of Pink Floyd don't speak to one another and why Pete Townshend resisted re-forming The Who).
Like most of Strauss' books, this one's a page-turner. I read over 300 pages in one day. The book goes down so easy that it's easy to take for granted how *big* it is, in every sense. It's the condensation of apparently a couple decades worth of rock journalism, and assembling such a crazily entertaining narrative from what must have been thousands of hours of interview tapes must have been no easy task. But as entertaining and fun as the book is, it's also a deep and surprisingly illuminating exploration of fame, art, and ego. It's a major and important book on music, stardom, and, well, the times we live in.
There's a lot more to say, and I'm sure many other reviewers will jump in and say it. Anyone with a serious interest in music or pop culture in general will probably devour Strauss' ELYWYD.
These short interviews are all interesting, many of them sad, many of them surprising. I particularly liked the Colbert interview, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Lynn, and others. The Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, and Russell Brand interviews were intense, exposing enough make it uncomfortable to read (Especially the Brand interview - skip it). The interviews with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and other modern pop stars were profoundly sad . . .
In short, there are over 500 pages guaranteed to entertain you, provoke you, and offend you. The people that Neil interviews do not pull any punches and some of them you will probably want to forget about as soon as you read them. The book accomplishes its goal surprisingly well - the author uses a few minutes of interviews to reveal much about their life. While you may not like the people he chose for the book, and you may not like their answers, you cannot argue that these are real portraits of very real individuals. Be sure and read the epilogue at the end, it sums up the purpose of the book and makes it easy to take away something from it more than the interviews themselves.
Maybe i'm of a dissenting opinion but i don't find Lady Gaga all that interesting. I think it was a mistake to put her in the book, as nobody will care or even really remember her a decade from now. On top of that, it's just her backstage rambling about her family. Who cares?
The section on Brian Wilson should have been interesting but it's not. All we learn about him is that his wife answers for him a lot because he's done so many drugs that it's impossible for him to complete a thought.
For some reason, Strauss goes on for page after page about what happened to wax sculptures from a closed-down Nashville museum. Again, who cares? They ended up where you'd expect them to end up. Melting in a basement somewhere.
The Who? Who cares?
The guy from Soul Asylum? Who REALLY cares?
The section with Julian Casablancas is pretty funny but there's not much redeeming about this book. And it's long. Strauss phoned it in with this one.