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Looking For Lady Dee (A Punk Rock Mystery) By Johnny Angel Wendell Review

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This mini novel is musician/radio show host/actor/writer Johnny Angel Wendell’s first book. Johnny has a lot of credits on his resume and now, author, can be added to this impressive list. I first met Johnny when I played drums with The Lazy Cowgirls and he wrote a review in a San Francisco paper that my friends never let me forget, even to this day, I am reminded of “the muscle-y drumming of Ed Huerta.”…So thanks Johnny, I reckon. The teasing never stops.

It is cool to see punk rock brethren branching out and growing and not resting on their hardy laurels (ya like that one?). To the people who only think that punk rock means Sid Vicious and the hardcore, unintelligible singing of drinking beer and watching TV, it was much more. Some of us actually read books. The most intelligent, insightful people that I have ever met are “punk rockers”.

This book is a mixture of fact and fiction, “faction”, if you will, that gives us an insight into the Boston and east coast punk scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  It gives you a musician’s eye of the hurricane insight. The road trips, the hot sweaty clubs, the playing to nearly no one, the band fights, drugs, drinking, a-hole fellow musicians, love, relationships, hunger, perversions, death and sex (it seems as if JAW had much more musician sex that I ever did!).

As a member of The Thrills, Johnny rubs elbows with a virtual who’s who of PR history. Amongst this is a quest to find a lost soul mate/love that uncovers some touching yet hard-edged insights and weaknesses in the American male and all us in general. The book bounces back and forth between a current Facebook poster/old friend and the rock and roll past.

There are heroes and there are villains. Wendell is very truthful and many times he comes out looking like the dude you didn’t care for…brash, boasting, drunk, the anti-hero. It also has some truly funny moments and is written with highly intelligent humor that sometimes straddles the line of locker room shenanigans. For this was the way of youth. We did not fear death. We all thought we were going to live forever yet we also thought we wouldn’t live to see 30. A bunch of us didn’t. But folks, like you and I, that are still with us, like Johnny, are laying down some hard earned lessons and stories for the survivors to look back on and enjoy from whence the struggles emerged.

Those times do not seem that far away yet they seem like a whole nother lifetime, at times. This book is a mystery story that ends…well, I won’t ruin it for you. It is a great, enjoyable first work and the print size is way cool too! It is great, page turning reading especially to folks that were there and it is a nice homage to folks no longer with us.

Hope Mr. Wendell has more stories up his proverbial sleeveless tank top.

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