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Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla Hardcover – November 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
A fixture in the music and club scenes since the 1960s, musician, groupie, and PR woman extraordinaire Vanilla takes readers on a wild romp through her drug- and sex-filled life. Born Kathleen Dorritie in Queens in 1943, Vanilla loved music from an early age and would often accompany her parents to the Copacabana in Manhattan, where she once met Dean Martin. Raucous parties--often fueled by acid and pot--were a fixture of her life in the '60s, as she dabbled in DJing in clubs and built an advertising career on Madison Avenue. In 1970, Vanilla had "a rock and roll revelation": she wanted to become a groupie, even though she was "already a twenty-six-year-old businesswoman of sorts." This led to trysts with musicians like Kris Kristofferson and David Bowie, whom she helped introduce to American audiences. As punk music began to overtake glam rock, Vanilla launched her own music career and briefly toured in the U.K., with the Police as her backup band, and later in the U.S. Vanilla's voice is distinctively sassy, despite her conventional storytelling methods, and her memoir is an entertaining peek into music's backstage world. (Nov.) (c)
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"Reading Lick Me is much like hanging out with Cherry: a refreshing dose of honesty and humor. Considering this book is about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Cherry has an amazing ability to remember it all." —Tim Burton, artist/filmmaker
"A swinging romp with one swinging gal! This juicy page-turner will have rock gossip tongues wagging their tales!" —Kate Pierson, the B-52’s
"Pop art and glamour . . . an exciting and multiflavored story of the journey of a true icon! Cherry is rock and roll royalty." —Countess Luann de Lesseps, The Real Housewives of New York City
"With matter-of-fact nonchalance the delightful Ms Vanilla tells an unrepentant tale of a joyously madcap life among rock royalty and the artistic elite." —Pamela Des Barres, author, I’m With the Band
"You lucky bitch! Your New York was definitely not my New York!" —Rufus Wainright, musician/composer
"I love this book. The writing is beautiful, sad, sweet, fun, and honest. Some people tell stories. Some live them. Every once in a rare while someone who lived an exceptional one takes the time to tell theirs." —Dito Montiel, author/filmmaker
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It's a very easy read, although a bit choppy. I am sure many other people reading this book would be perfectly happy just reading all those stories of her infamous lovers, details of the trysts, and involvement in the NY-London music scene, but I think the most interesting parts are those when she just makes brief mentions/hints of the underlying reasons why she chose the life she did (i.e., "I guess maybe that's why I...."). Granted, I'm a psychologist and extended family, but still, I really do think people would be interested in knowing more about Cherry as a person and the issues/beliefs/formative moments that led to her path. There is a moment when she talks about how maybe she cheapens her worth to these musicians and others because of having sex with them, and I think she is absolutely correct there (I'm not saying that in a judgy way, either). Even in the era of "free love," women were judged negatively for being promiscuous and open with their sexuality. Unfortunately, I think she was judged poorly for the same behaviors that a man would have been celebrated for; it's not fair or right, but heck, that still happens today. It's really too bad, because I have listened to a few of her songs, and she's not half bad- way better than a lot of the punk bands that became famous back then.
Overall, an interesting read but would have enjoyed some more depth.
Cherry's life has been a wild adventure, and she describes all the ins and outs of how she got fascinated by anything to do with the entertainment industry, all the ways she got involved with it and perhaps most important of all, the places this got her, throughout the years. Including whose bedrooms...
Cherry looks back on her conquests (and failures, triumphs, mishaps, adventures, ups and downs) with all the necessary traits, including self humour, pride and paradoxal modesty, melancholy as well as wisdom. But most of all, an honest yet enduring sweetness.
Between the lines of her refreshing writing style, you can tell that throughout all the ups and downs Cherry really enjoyed the ride, never took anything for granted and appreciates the front-row seat she had on so much glamourous history. Her enthusiasm definately rubbs off.
The result is a book that is impossible to put away. It's such a pleasure to read her stories, and impossible not to get cought up in the flow of it all and keep reading to see what (or who!) else life had planned for her. And how she took control or lost it again, somewhere along the adventurous road.
The book follows her exploits up to the point where she's earned the spotlight for herself, ending with an epilogue that quite strongly impresses that the rest would be equally interesting (though perhaps less explicit) a read, which leads to the hope that Cherry will some day pick up the pen again. Until then, we have "Lick Me" to cherish and read again.
Or, as Bowie said to Cherry's delight: "Good job, Vanilla!". Great book!!!!
But rides don't last forever and eventually the book falls to band attempts, repeated lovers, an over abundance of drugs and an under abundance of money to live on. Possibly she should have stopped the book earlier as there is no great ending to this. Just old memories. Still, a different and somewhat interesting exploration do the 60s and 70s culture.
She doesn't seem to have been a real "groupie" for very long- the emotional trauma associated with that lifestyle in the 70's didn't suit her- preferring instead to use her own brain and sex appeal to promote herself and the people around her quite well. I'm only giving it four stars because the book did ramble occasionally, and the name dropping, poetry, and endless sex scenes wore me down after a while- but ultimately I enjoyed reading this woman's account of the business of living a life.