PERFORMING ARTS

Sing Backwards and Weep: A Memoir

Hachette. Apr. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780306922800. $28. MUSIC
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The most shocking aspect of Lanegan’s memoir is that he has lived to tell it at all. In the early 1990s, as the lead singer of Seattle grunge band Screaming Trees, with his own promising solo career on the side, Lanegan, like many of his Seattle friends, was poised to enjoy the rock-and-roll limelight. But music took a backseat to his addiction to alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine and his attempts to fuel his drug habit through illicit means. Lanegan’s desperation is palpable; lucid anecdotes take readers from the stages of huge rock festivals to inside decrepit crack houses. Just when he seemed to reach rock bottom, he fell further still, finally getting sober with the encouragement of one of his former drug buddies, Hole lead singer Courtney Love.
VERDICT Told in a distinctively heavy voice, this warts-and-all account of addiction’s effect on one’s body and self-worth comes with heft and hits like a ton of bricks.

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