BOOK REVIEW: Lou Brutus Pulls Back the Rock and Roll Curtain in His Captivating Memoir, “Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate”

The neat thing about the legendary Lou Brutus is that he truly and unquestionably loves rock and roll music. And when I use the word love, I mean that this studied raconteur of music lives the music and inhabits all of the niches populated by the talented musicians that have collectively and effectively made up the soundtracks of all of our lives.

For the uninitiated, Lou Brutus is a modern day Pied Piper of rock music, sort of a latter day Alan Freed or Huggy Boy on a delirious and delicious cocktail of pumped up endorphins all intent on one glorious thing – to spread the gospel of the offshoot of rhythm and blues and country and western music, rock and roll. Broken down and translated for the so-called common man, Mr. Brutus is a radio personality bar none who also dips his prolific quill into music, photography and voice-over gigs. He’s plyed his chief trade in the uber popular nationally syndicated radio programs for which he’s perhaps best known and now he has a book from Rare Bird Books out of L.A. that’s hitting physical and online store shelves this coming April 14. Titled Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate – Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Vomiting At Inopportune Moments, the crisp, flying at you at mach-speed, no-holds-barred memoir more than captures the electric energy that is part and parcel of his classic rock radio show hardDrive with Lou Brutus.

Lou begins his story as a small child who was instantly attracted to the music of the Beatles courtesy of The Ed Sullivan Show, casting a Norman Rockwell-like opening volley in which he relates perhaps some of the best career advice he was ever to receive in the form of his father. The elder Brutus explains to his son that the life of an entertainer is transient and always in flux and that in order to maintain a steady paycheck the smart road to hike down is that of a “pointer.” A pointer is someone akin to the nigh mythical creature that was Ed Sullivan, host of his own variety show which featured, among other things, rock and roll stars, dancing bears and standup comedians (not all necessarily in that order). The pointer calls to an audience’s attention the newest and greatest talent out there and is a true constant, sort of like the pyramids or that perennial missing sock that goes MIA in the washer. So, as acts fall in and out of favor the one solid is the curator who presides over the ever-evolving menagerie of pop culture. The idea behind being the pointer is that, instead of being a Milli Vanilli or (for those of you with longer, more arcane memory banks) a Fabian, you are the Dick Clark that sits outside the fray and comments as acts go from relevance to an oddball question in a game of Trivia Pursuit.

This story is set as the preface of Sonic Warrior and it informs and sets the stage for all of this erstwhile personalities anecdotes and musings as a self-described “professional music fan.” Lou has traversed all corners of the great wide globe in search of concerts to review and rock and roll luminaries to interview. Amidst all of this potential bacchanalia are the stories of these adventures laid out by this 21st century disc jockey in oftentimes hilarious and blunt flourishes. Remember actor Jay Baruchel’s frenetic and fun portrayal of super-rock aficionado Vic Munoz in Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous? Lou Brutus takes Baruchel’s simple arithmetic and turns it on its head, creating his own zany and twisted form of entertaining quantum physics, dissecting and classifying in Movieline-worthy banter the various levels of rock gods and the idiosyncrasies of each. To quote Jim Morrison – the Lizard King – “No one gets out of here alive.” But it’s not evisceration that Lou is going for here, rather it’s good-natured poking and jabbing at sacred tropes that the more staid and malaise-like personalities usually leave alone. The love and true affection and infection that this staple of our drive-time existence feels for the music and the people who produce and create it comes through loud and crystal clear. Sonic Warrior is nothing less than a beautiful miracle of a rock love letter.

Each chapter header in Sonic Warrior is presented with eye-catching titles such as “The Time I Went To The Arctic And Got In A Mosh Pit With A Bunch Of Kids In Polar Bear Fur While Metallica Sang About Sodomizing A Goat.” In fact, the chapter headers are better than most authors entire books and, in a stunning bit of final product living up to the advertisement therein, Lou unbelievably delivers on the outlandish promise of the chapter titles. Perusing his words, I couldn’t help but envision a filmmaker such as P.T. Anderson adapting Sonic Warrior into a meta-gonzo hoot that might send the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson into fits of apoplectic envy, with each section of the film broken up into worded chapters. This literary manna from heaven is filmatic as well as a crackerjack of a read, make no mistakes about it.

In trying times such as these, Lou Brutus has delivered something in Sonic Warrior that is to not be easily put aside or dismissed. It is the warm and reassuring balm to our psyche that we all desperately need at the moment and it will make even the most hardened soul laugh aloud in shared recognition.

Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate: Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Vomiting at Inopportune Moments will be released on April 14 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

About Ryan Vandergriff

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