I got handed a lot of random stuff at the free-for-all that was SXSW last month. Everywhere I turned, some dude was offering me a CD, a flier for his band’s show, an ill-fitting promotional t-shirt, a cocktail made using the super-expensive new liquor brand sponsoring the party I was at — it was a tough assignment, lemme tell ya. (I also caught a musical performance or two.) But of all that swag, practically the only thing that was truly worth lugging home from Texas was a book about music called The Boy Who Cried Freebird. Author Mitch Myers gave me a copy when we met through colleagues toward the end of the festival, promising it’d make good airplane reading on my return flight. He was right, and I’m still making my way through its pages almost a month later. It’s not that it’s a particularly long book (just 300 or so pages) — there’s just so much in there that it’d be a shame to rush through.
The Boy Who Cried Freebird explores rock history through a strange blend of journalistic investigations, speculative rumors, solemn appreciations, and flat-out fiction. In one chapter, a kid from the future travels back in time to see the Grateful Dead play the Fillmore West; in another, Myers waxes philosophical about the true intent of Lou Reed’s infamous Metal Machine Music. It’s a weird little treasure trove of a book — funny, moving, and informative — and now that it’s come out in paperback this week, it’s even easier to add it to your nightstand rotation. In the meantime, what are some of your favorite books about music (fiction or non)?