Thursday, March 5, 2009

Swayed By The Rolling Stones, Charles Manson and Anger

For people who have consumed as much 1960s sex-drugs-rock pop culture as possible, Sway may seem a tad dull. Zachary Lazar's second novel, however, should be worth reading for those who take a passing interest in this type of thing.

It weaves the stories of Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones' lost last days after his breakup with Anita Pallenberg, Bobby Beausoleil's confused youth misspent under the guise of famed mass murderer Charles Manson, and occult-obsessed filmmaker Kenneth Anger's flirtings with both Beausoleil and the Stones.

The book uses Jones, Beausoleil and Anger's stories as a microcosm to tell how the 60s' lovefest ended. Keith Richards took Pallenberg away from Jones on a trip to Morocco, then Jones mysteriously drowned in his swimming pool just a month after Keith and Mick fired him from the band. Soon thereafter came the Hell's Angels' fierce security at the fatal Altamont concert.

The most rewarding part of Sway for me was the Kenneth Anger (pictured, right) story line, mainly because I knew the least about him. His films are truly psychedelic and a product of the era. And this was a fun way to learn about a follower of Aleister Crowley, the occultist who sold his British country mansion to another dark-sider, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

*** out of ***** stars

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