Book review

Collateral Damage: The Zodiac Mindwarp American Tour Diaries
Mark Manning
Creation Books

Collateral Damage: The Zodiac Mindwarp American Tour DiariesAn American tour diary or a Rough Guide to Planet Freakout? It's quite safe to say that the Cadillac drawn by swans never quite made it all the way to earth . . .
    Okay, let's see. Cast of characters: Zodiac Mindwarp (natch), Cobalt Stargazer, Tex Diablo and Robbie Vomm - a fair enough tribe to trek across the US with. At what point America stops being a country and descends into a wasteland of degradation was probably decided a couple of hundred years ago, but in Collateral Damage that blurred line of distinction comes pretty early on - around about where the drugs start to kick in. One thing is for sure, you'll never read a tour diary like this from any other band.

As the Love Reaction embark on another mission to conquer rock - a mere ten years after their last US tour with Guns 'n' Roses - things start to look a little hairy here and there, but what's a little murder and Alsatian shagging between friends? Depending on your debauchery tolerance, things get better/worse the further we go. Zodiac has lost none of his vitriol as he spews out story upon story as they cross from New York to San Francisco.
    To be quite honest; Slam, Trash and Evil may have departed the ranks but very little has changed from those halcyon days of Silver Surfer comics and the Speed King knows it. We may have supposedly moved on, but underneath, we all still hunger for a real band to take the blues away. Be careful what you wish for.

Collateral Damage is one of two things . . . or possibly both. On one hand it's a funny but truthful foray into the life of a band on the road with nothing better to do between shows than 'get it on'. On the other, it's a wild social commentary on the state of the US through the eyes of a man who cuts through the shit. I'm going with the latter option.
    Zodiac always had the knack of going so far over the top he could see the truth for miles. Whatever you think of Collateral Damage - and you really have to read it to believe it - far worse goes on in that mad-ass country. Maybe that's what makes it so great.

Have I skirted around describing the book adequately? I don't think so. Like the music, Collateral Damage is a ride, and not something that can be taken apart for the purpose of description. Just get on the damn thing and go.
    And talking of the music (and only a space cabbage would deny that Tattooed Beat Messiah was anything but a great record); if you missed Hoodlum Thunder et al, then it serves you right for not paying attention just because there wasn't a video. Still, be redeemed ye faithless wonders - a new slab is on the way.

:: Sion Smith

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