Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me from Success

Rare Bird. Jan. 2024. 364p. ISBN 9781644283820. pap. $20. MEMOIR
Shoegaze—the swirling, immersive, guitar-drenched rock subgenre—had its heyday in the early ’90s. It had much in common with both grunge and psychedelia and was usually dominated by men musicians. The UK band Lush was one exception. Led by two strong women songwriters—Berenyi and Emma Anderson—the band made its own mark by adding lovely vocal harmonies and a distinctive musical sensibility to the at-times ponderous style. Berenyi looks back on her days in the group in this engaging and self-effacing memoir. She begins with describing her unconventional childhood and experiences as a girl with a Hungarian Japanese background in 1970s and 1980s Britain. She speaks openly of her experiences with abuse and neglect. The second half of the book covers her time as a musician in the early ’90s scene, when she went on long tours in Europe and the U.S. and played in the 1992 Lollapalooza festival. The band’s sudden and tragic ending, after their drummer died by suicide, is recounted with grace and heart.
VERDICT A must-read rock memoir in a genre where too few women’s voices are heard.
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