I first became aware of Lisa Robinson in my early teens through CREEM magazine, the bible for musical outcasts and smartasses everywhere, and later through the even harder-to-find Rock Scene. Robinson certainly had a sense of humor, but more importantly, always seemed to be in the presence of The Stones, Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders and David Bowie — which to me were the musical antidote to the '70s wasteland outside of New York. It seemed a million miles from my suburban upbringing and the hideous bands that radio relentlessly flogged, and I was desperate for news from this exotic musical land.
That a woman had this unlimited access was cool; that she seemed to be friends with the bands even cooler. Robinson was smart, hip and incredibly knowledgeable about music — all traits that are evident in her new book There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. There’s an obvious level of trust in Robinson’s conversations and interviews — whether it be Jagger and Richards, Page and Plant, David Johansen or John Lennon. Perhaps it’s because she asks honest, no bullshit questions — the kind you or I would ask, if given the chance – and almost invariably gets back honest, no bullshit answers. Well...except for Bono.
This is a hugely entertaining, highly readable and likeable book. Robinson easily moves between life on the road with the ‘70s superstars to the down and dirty nights at CBGBs and Max’s, and her passion for current superstars (and obvious fans of hers) Eminem, Kanye and Lady Gaga. Her “come to Jesus moment” (Robinson is, in fact, an atheist) with southern blues on a road trip through Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Austin is a long way from the Upper West Side and The Bowery, but Robinson‘s love and knowledge of music puts her as easily at home with these blues legends as she was with the Dolls or Patti Smith.
My only gripe is that the last section is an obvious wrap-up that comes and goes too quickly. If Lisa Robinson had simply kept writing, I’d still be reading. This is not only one of the best music books of the year, it moves to the top shelf as one of my favorite rock and roll books of all time.
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