Sheriff McCoy: Outlaw Legend of Hanoi Rocks: By Andy McCoy, 204 pgs. By Jimmy

Let’s be frank here: at this point in history, the celebrity autobiography bookshelves are about as crowded as the Harlequin romance shelves, and the quality of the product is about as dubious. Hell, even Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie and many others too goddamned young to have been driving for very long, let alone truly lived, have been cranking out tomes about the trials and tribulations of being them for the gossip addicted masses to gobble up in the hopes of getting some inside dirt on who did dope with/hates/loves/screwed who. When someone who’s truly done something of note, or at least grabbed life by the huevos and spent a good many years living like a total nutter, appeals to their inner writer (or in the case of Henry Miller, writes while pushing the envelope right off a fucking cliff), sometimes the story is worth a listen. Andy McCoy has lived through things that would cause most sane people to look at him and marvel at just how lucky he is to have survived a third as long as he has. Abusive home life? Check. Screwing around with pretty much any substance one can eat, drink, snort, smoke or shoot? Check. Falling from the fourth floor of a building? Check. It’s all here, along with being the glam-punk answer to Keith Richards, playing alongside everyone from the UK Subs’ Charlie Harper to Iggy Pop, and watching Hanoi Rocks crumble after their drummer Razzle was killed in a car crash with Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil at the wheel. As a writer, McCoy’s a good guitar player. A few more editing passes with attention given to providing a linear structure would’ve been invaluable, as the timeline bounces here to there and back again throughout. He also seems on occasion to either be reluctant (or disinterested) to scratch deeper than the surface and get into why he – and so many other rock stars – find it necessary to get themselves involved in some of the things they do, like heroin for instance. A little more introspectiveness would’ve gone a long way, especially when explaining some of his apparent contradicting attitudes towards drug use. Still, he can definitely spin a good yarn, and Sheriff McCoy is well stocked with some good tales, some fun, some funny, and some downright harrowing. As someone who hasn’t had much more than a passing fancy for Hanoi Rocks over the years –never complaining when they were on, but never bothering to go further than buying a copy of Oriental Beat – and is not familiar with his other musical projects outside of Briard and Urban Dogs, he managed to keep my interest piqued well enough that I’m inclined to let the flaws slide. In short, this was better than it has any business being, and that’s intended as a high compliment. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bazillion Points, www.bazillionpoints.com)