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Roth, David Lee
Crazy From The Heat (Book Review)
Released: 1997, Hyperion
I just read RED, the Sammy Hagar biography and I thought I should revisit one of the every first rock bio’s I ever bought, namely CRAZY FROM THE HEAT. To read them back to back is an interesting comparison although Roth’s came out almost 15 years earlier. I’d like to read an updated version. I’d also like to read the original 1200 page (!) manuscript that Roth submitted to his publisher! Maybe one day the ‘updated & uncensored’ version will come out. Until then this is a great little paperback for my bookshelf.
CRAZY FROM THE HEAT is about 400 pages long with 30 pages of black and white photos which should have been in colour for a colourful character like Mr. Roth. All the photos do have amusing captions, more like ‘Roth-isms’ which help entertain and explain.
Reading Roth is like…well...like nothing else you have read likely. He is on. Full on. No brakes. His book is just another forum to delight and entertain. Guys like that don’t know how to drop their guard. Eve when he is talking about more potentially vulnerable moments, like having to wear leg-braces as a kid, or any other number of stories others might find personal he just glides right through, no troubles no worries.
Some critics might suggest that his story is insincere or even shallow but Roth never claimed to be anything other than an entertainer. He’s not a rocket surgeon but his zest and love for life make for an incredibly captivating read. For the most part he writes like he talks, in odd sound-bytes, spelling and grammar be damned, full-speed ahead. I found the stories of his travels (in his off times between Van Halen tours) in the early 80’s to be interesting where he would just disappear to New Guinea or some tropical dot on the map with a buddy or two and just go get lost somewhere. One time while on an expedition up the Amazon River he got so sick he almost never made it back. He wouldn’t be the first.
Let’s talk music. Like Hagar’s RED, CRAZY FROM THE HEAT is pretty short on detail when it comes to Roth and his music. However, Roth was always the front-man, not even the singer-song-writer, he is the entertainer. Accordingly there is not much detail about his solo days although his enthusiasm for Vaudeville is well documented from his younger days. It also discusses his semi-ill-fated flirtation with being a Vegas lounge act. The book isn’t really even chronological…or logical at all come to think of it. Frankly it’s a mess, but this a Rock bio of one of Music’s greatest front-men, not a serious attempt at literature. If you can get past that CRAZY FROM THE HEAT is one of, if not the most fun, entertaining autobiographies I’ve read.