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Things the Grandchildren Should Know Paperback – September 29, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Everett, also known as E, front man for the alt-rock EELS, has written a compelling memoir in which it is easy to see the songwriter in the author. The songs often feature catchy melodies and lyrics that are variously dark, witty, or just quirky, while the book is a quick read, both funny and tragic, with a distinctive voice: honest, self-deprecating, wistful. The author tells a few stories from his youth—his first drum set, a humiliating teacher, his obsession with Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, a plane crash, his sullen teenage years. At 18, he discovered the dead body of his father, the quantum physicist Hugh Everett. Not long after, he headed for Los Angeles, where he worked a succession of nothing jobs while writing and recording songs on a four-track tape recorder. As he was gaining fame as an alternative rocker, tragedies continued to haunt him. His sister and mother died within months of one another, and friends and fellow musicians followed. Despite the title (also an EELS song), Everett has no children, much less grandchildren, but he says, "it only takes a second for your life to change in huge ways." Fans will certainly want to read this, but so will anyone interested in the music business or just in how one interesting guy lives life from day to day, trying to understand who he is and how he got there.—Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
The songwriter and lead singer of indie rock band the Eels relates his dysfunctional family’s tragedies—father’s death from heart failure at 51, sister Liz’s suicide, and mother’s demise from lung cancer—as well as his own trials with suicidal tendencies, dissolute teen years, and times when he didn’t know what to do with himself. His outlook is often bleak but not without hope since “some of the most horrible moments of my life have led to some of the best.” Growing up, he realized his real passion was for music but hadn’t a clue how that would work out in the real world. One day, on a whim, he left his Virginia home and headed to Los Angeles, where he knew no one and nothing about the music industry. A big chunk of the book covers his various musical experiences and the people he met through them. Quite funny about his often absurd life as an independent musician, Everett gives readers a fly-on-the-wall’s view of the music business that anyone interested in it will enjoy. --June Sawyers --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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I'm a relative newcomer to Eels music, and this book helps explain and fill in some of the context of the songs. E's life (and losses) provide a fascinating story that's told in a straightforward and unvarnished way. The book is a great companion to the music, but even without hearing a single song, still very much worth reading.