Book Review: Everything is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll by Richard Lloyd

“One of the greatest guitarists ever: the truly unique Richard Lloyd.”- Johnny Marr

Singer/songwriter and guitar virtuoso Richard Lloyd was the legendary guitarist for the seminal punk band Television. He has also enjoyed solo success since the 1980s. His new autobiography ‘Everything is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll’  reveals his extraordinary life (recalled from the deepest recesses of Lloyd’s photographic memory) from the important role he played in creating the punk scene in New York (by being the CBGB’s ‘flagship’ band) to his many fascinating adventures in the music business. Those “adventures” he shares in his new book include his close relationships with Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Richards, and Lloyd succeeds in shedding new light on these artists, despite the abundance of material that’s been previously published about them.

Equally enthralling is Lloyd’s harrowing, unflinching examination of his decades-long struggles with drug addiction,  which ultimately led him into his current, spiritual life and outlook.  I can’t remember the last time I read the memoirs of a recovered addict in which I so deeply felt their emotional struggle for recovery, not merely their physical.

Photo of Richard Lloyd by Marcia Resnick. Photo courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.

Of particular interest is Lloyd’s telling of his “spiritual” life which had its beginning, according to Lloyd, with his earliest childhood memories.  Between the ages of one and two, Lloyd recalls in his memoir: “I had a distinct knowledge that I had been elsewhere before this body and that this ‘elsewhere’ was not constrained by the laws that inform this physical place. This memory of a place of greater freedom haunted me. I continued to have this memory of a place from which I had been somehow forced to leave to come here to be born. This place seemed to be, and still seems, just out of reach.”

All of this and more fuel his memoir, the result of which this writer found herself doing something that I haven’t done in ages: devouring a bio in one sitting.  A major reason that I found myself unable to put this book down until I’d finished it was because it avoids doing what many (if not most) music-related memoirs do: becoming bogged down with dry, often boring details.  All in all, Richard Lloyd’s memoir is wonderful; totally unlike any other book I have yet read by/about a noted musician.

Published by Hill Publishing Company, ‘Everything is Combustible’ features an eloquent forward by none other than Bill Flanagan:  the Executive Vice President and Editorial Director of MTV Networks.  It’s a truly unique, boldly visionary, absolute treat to read from start to finish; stocked with a beautiful array of photos of the artist throughout his remarkable personal life and career.  It’s currently #1 in Amazon’s book list of ‘Hot New Releases’, and justifiably so! Click below to order it from Amazon:

Be looking for my upcoming interview with Richard Lloyd, coming soon!

About Richard Lloyd:

Richard Lloyd was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1951. He is a world renowned electric guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and a founding member of Television. As an author, Lloyd was a regular columnist with Guitar World Magazine as the “Alchemical Guitarist.”   As an autodidact, he has developed extensive expertise in many scientific and religious areas, and believes in the alchemical rule: “one book opens another.”

Shirley Pena

About Shirley Pena

A native of Southern California, Shirley Peña began her career as a music journalist almost twenty years ago, writing for her websites "Stars In My Eyes: the Girlhowdy Website" and "La Raza Rock!" and progressed to creating various fan sites on Yahoo, including the first for New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn. From there, she became a free agent, arranging online interviews for Yahoo fan clubs with various music artists (Andy White, John Crawford, Debora Iyall, John Easdale, etc.). She also lent her support in creating and moderating a number of Yahoo fan clubs for various music artists from the 1990s-today. As a music journalist, Shirley Peña has contributed to a number of magazines (both hard copy and online), among them: Goldmine, American Songwriter, Classic Drummer Magazine and UK-based Keyboard Player (where she was a principal journalist). A self-confessed "fanatic" of 1960s "British Invasion" bands, Classic Rock and nostalgic "Old Hollywood ", she also keeps her finger on the pulse of current trends in music, with a keen eye for up and coming artists of special merit. Shirley Peña loves Los Angeles, and is thrilled to join the writing staff of The Los Angeles Beat!
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One Response to Book Review: Everything is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll by Richard Lloyd

  1. JOB says:

    Great precise review. A fabulous book and musician.

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