Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk: By D.H. Peligro, 280 pgs. By Jim Woster

Jul 03, 2014

Buried within this memoir is the most stunning account of addiction I’ve ever read. One relapse after another. Along with their concomitant horrors—I’d been unfamiliar with “shooter’s abscess.”

And I now understand what’s at the root of serial relapsing: ego. Ego, ego, ego.

Peligro’s ego is still healthy enough to have subtitled his book “King of Afropunk,” like he sees the book as belonging to the self-celebratory tradition of David Lee Roth’s memoir Crazy from the Heat.

Peligro isn’t as ego-blinded as Roth is, though he doesn’t seem to realize that we want to read about his experiences with Dead Kennedys and Red Hot Chili Peppers and their respective eras and scenes, more than we want to read about him.

In my favorite passage in the book, Peligro’s coked-up girlfriend channels (or something) a “gypsy god” who predicts his future:

“‘You father is going to die, very soon. Your bassist will have trouble with his heart. And you will have a deformed child,’ she told me.

“‘Will I get a record deal?’ I asked.”

I kept reading, waiting for evidence that Peligro understood how funny “Will I get a record deal?” is, but it never arrived, probably waylaid by a large ego in the road.

But the honesty it took to write about his relapses more than makes up for that, and I hope this book becomes a standard text in the recovery community—a bookmarked standard text, I hasten to add. –Jim Woster (A Barnacle Book, 453 South Spring St., Suite 531, LA, CA 90013, rarebirdlit.com)

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