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doctorcath

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I read books, I write about books, I would probably marry a book if I could find one who liked me enough. Three words to describe me mature, irresponsible, contradictory, unreliable...oh...that's four...

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll

Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk - D. H. Peligro, William Knoedelseder

The inside back cover of Dreadnaught features a photo of D H Peligro. Not a snap from the halcyon days - with the Dead Kennedys or the Chilli Peppers - this is DH as he is now. Still dreadlocked, still handsome. He's wearing a striped shirt and a red tie and he's howling at the camera, his tattooed arms muscular and defiantly crossed. He looks vital, alive, undimmed. Look closer and you can see that next to the natty red tie, his white shirt is stained with blood.

 

Legendary drummer to two of the biggest punk bands of all time, that image provides a perfect summary of Peligro's story: one of talent and energy and a limitless capacity for self destruction. He grew up poor in St Louis, ran wild in the back streets, discovered music, left for San Francisco and simultaneously discovered women, booze, drugs and a burgeoning indie scene. He made the most of all of these and tells his story of fame and the inevitable fall from grace with a touching lack of self pity and terrifying matter of factness. It's a familiar story: from booze and casual sex, to dope, to coke and from there to the oblivion-seeker's drug of choice, heroin. Quite a portion of the book is taken up with this and although it's a chilling read - especially when it hits home just how many times he has attempted rehab and failed - it's also funny and entertaining. There are road trips to Mexico, a relationship with a Brazilian witch, hijinks in the tranny clubs of San Francisco. DH Peligro has lived at first hand that which the rest of us would only dare to watch through our fingers.

 

At the time of writing, he's clean. His closing sentence: 'I work hard, and it's a lot easier without a monkey on my back.'

 

Keep that monkey off your back DH.