“Spy Rock Memories” by Larry Livermore

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By Greg

The Punk lifestyle/genre is almost always associated with a hard exterior and an “I could care less” attitude backed by an almost always unsupportive expression toward anything other than rebelling.

When you pick up Spy Rock Memories by writer/punk legend Larry Livermore you are bound to find more between the covers than you ever imagined.

Spy Rock Memories spends nearly all of its time drifting through the Northern California Mountains in a Steinbeckian grace; if Steinbeck were discussing raging hippy/mountain men, illicit drugs, government shakedowns, pope protesting impromptu concerts, small-town (and big-town) politics and a twelve year old that would become a world-wide mega star at a bar with Hunter S. Thompson.

Those looking for insights to the rebel record label and origins of Tre Cool and crew will find morsels of first-person accounts; but more importantly, the book opens up about the man behind them all and his very real, very touching experiences, nay, life sculpting decades spent in the magic, despair, torment and bliss of seclusion; if only for a few days at a time.

The way Livermore speaks of Spy Rock, in the mountains located north of San Francisco, you can’t help but see the beauty and agree with his point-of-view. Though it, at times, becomes quite dark and deeply sad, somehow you come through understanding, as Livermore puts it, the way of mountain life.  His approach is much less punk and much more human; taking what would be another biography in the music section and makes it a worth-while read.

It is a truly fascinating two hundred plus pages of one man’s struggle with finding himself, creating a sustainable way of life, said way of life catapulting him to the forefront of the California, if not world, music scene and him ultimately finding the need to say enough is enough. I will be the first to admit I believed this to be more about how he, through taking chances, brought together Green Day, but with no mention of music for the first four chapters, I came to realize that what you go looking for may not be what you end up finding. And as Spy Rock Memories portrays, the things you find on your journey define you greater than those you set out to achieve.

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