September 21, 2020

2002-03-10 – South Florida Sun Sentinel

2002 03 10 South_Florida_Sun_Sentinel_Sun__Mar_10__2002_

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Singer reminisces about Burdon of being Eric

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.
Eric Burdon, with J. Marshall Craig.

Thunder's Mouth Press. $24.95. 326
PP-

BY MICHAEL PRAGER
TH E BOSTON (31.0813

Eric Burdon is just the sort of
chap you’d want to write a memoir
of the rock ’n’ roll life.
As lead singer of the
Animals, he was a key
soldier in the British
invasion of the ’605,
he was present at sev-
eral key junctures in
pop history, and he '
somehow remembers
them despite a
40-year binge on
drugs and alcohol.

Here’s another rea-
son: He’s alive. It’s ab-
surdly obvious, but it
stands out in increas-
ing relief as Burdon
ticks off story after
story of famous pals

breathes, Burdon gets to add to the
historical record.

In fact, death sets Burdon free to
tell his tales. He couldn’t, for exam-
ple, have called Danneman a stalk-
er in 1987, in his first autobiogra-
phy; she could have sued.

Unfortunately, some of Burdon’s
best stuff is balanced by embar-
rassing little crum-
pets, such as Bur-
don’s suggestion
that Pete Town-
shend got the idea
to smash guitars
from the night Bur-
don was playing at
the Scene Club,
whose house band
was the forerunner
of The Who. Bur-
don destroyed a
white piano that
was taking up too
much space on-
stage. “Pete Town-
shend was proba-
bly in the crowd

who didn’t survive: J i- STILL ALIVE: Eric that night, and I’ve
mi Hendrix, John Burdon lived to tell tales. always believed that
Lennon, J im Morri- Photo/Andrew Brucker the crowd’s reaction

son, Steve McQueen.

Burdon says he knew each of
them well, and he has the anec-
dotes to back it up: On the morning
in 1970 that Hendrix never woke
up, for example, girlfriend Monika
Danneman telephoned Burdon
when she couldn’t rouse the guitar
great. In one of the best passages in
the book, Burdon offers a new ex-

planation for how Hendrix died.

At the time, Danneman claimed
that she and Hendrix were en-
gaged, a contention that others in
their circle never accepted. Burdon
has come to see her as an unstable
sex-but-not-love interest of Hen-
drix’s who couldn’t bear the news
that Hendrix was leaving. So she
Spiked his tuna fish with her seda-
tives, not to kill him but with the
hope that she could delay his de-
parture.

There’s no way to prove any of it,
of course: Hendrix is gone and so is
Danneman, who committed sui-
cide in 1996. But enough doubt
about the circumstances existed
that Scotland Yard reopened the
case in 1993. It’s all history, any-
way, giving a subtle lesson in the

e value of survival: Because he still

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to my piano stomp
gave him the idea . . . ” Yeah, prob-
ably.

It’s more than silliness; such
questionable comments undercut
the rest. 80 when, for example, he
claims he’s the Egg Man of the
Beatles song I Am the Walrus, it
seems like more of the same. But
this time, he relates a ribald tale
that at least makes the claim plau-
sible.

Debauchery is a thread that
weaves through Burdon’s life; evil
and greed are two others, hall-
marks of music’s business side,
Burdon says. He and most mem-
bers of the band receive no royal-
ties from Burdon’s greatest hit,
House of the Rising Sun. They’d
been advised that only one name
could go on the label, and Alan
Price was the lucky man who was
tapped. Burdon says Price never
shared, and the two never speak.

Burdon returns repeatedly to
how bitter he is that others have
taken what should have been his,
but Don’t Let Me Be Misunder-
stood, a title Burdon borrows from
his 1965 hit single, is largely a sun-
ny-side account.

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