MY LIFE with THE TURTLES, FLO & EDDIE, and FRANK ZAPPA, ETC…
by Howard Kaylan with Jeff Tamarkin
with foreword by Penn Jillette
LOS ANGELES, CA – Howard Kaylan has been at the vortex of rock culture since the heady 1960s, and he remains immersed in it today, still touring with Mark Volman as the Turtles. His life has been a dangerous ride, and, here he is only too happy to report on it, naming names and unfurling shocking tales of sex, drugs, and creative excess.
In his memoir, Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo & Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc. (Backbeat Books, Released April 16, 2013), Kaylan tells the story of his nearly five decades in the rock and roll revolution. This revealing and highly entertaining account was written with American pop culture historian, music journalist, and editor, Jeff Tamarkin.
If Howard Kaylan had sung only one song, the Turtles’ 1967 number-one smash hit “Happy Together,” his place in rock and roll history would be secure. But that recording, named by BMI as one of the top 50 songs of the 20th century, with more than 5 million radio plays, is only the tip of a most remarkable iceberg.
For roughly five years in the latter half of the ’60s, rock’s most volatile and productive decade, the Turtles were pop music royalty, with all of the attendant excitement and chaos that such a lofty position brought. Everyone who lived through the baby boomer years and loved rock and roll is familiar with the Turtles’ music, and countless others have discovered it in the decades since it was created. In 1970
the Turtles became the first rock group ever to perform at the White House, at the invitation of President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, a fan of the group. What really happened that night? Now the truth will finally be told!
Most artists would have been happy for the five-year success that the Turtles enjoyed, but for Kaylan, that run at the top of the charts was only the beginning. The Turtles broke up in 1970 and Kaylan, along with career-long partner Mark Volman, surprised the rock world when they joined Frank Zappa’s The Mothers of Invention. Overnight, Howard’s squeaky-clean image as an AM radio hitmaker was turned inside out.
Kaylan and Volman’s next adventure was The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, later renamed Flo & Eddie. This duo act ultimately furthered their popularity and artistic reach. Among their many successes were the releases Flo & Eddie, Illegal, Immoral and Fattening, Moving Targets, and Rock Steady with Flo & Eddie.
Throughout the 1970s, Kaylan and Volman continued to do session work, lending their trademark harmonies to T. Rex, Roger McGuinn, Stephen Stills, Keith Moon, David Cassidy, Alice Cooper, Blondie, the Ramones, and Bruce Springsteen. Howard’s list of friends, collaborators and fellow party animals included everyone from David Bowie to John Belushi, Joni Mitchell to Harry Nilsson.
Versatile performers with an insatiable desire to expand their artistic reach, Kaylan and Volman reached millions in the 1980s with their syndicated radio show. Kaylan also wrote the screenplay for My Dinner with Jimi, a popular feature-length cult film that chronicles the rise of the Turtles and recounts one wild night when Howard met the Beatles, Graham Nash, the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, the Moody Blues, Donovan and Mr. Hendrix himself.
Most recently Flo & Eddie toured the U.S. with the “Happy Together: 25th Anniversary Tour” in the summers of 2010 and 2011. They were joined by The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, The Buckinghams, and Monkees member Micky Dolenz.
With a cover designed by Cal Schenkel, who was responsible for the art and design of many of Zappa’s album covers, and a foreword by Penn Jillette of the legendary magic team Penn and Teller, Shell Shocked will stand alone as not only one of the best-told music-biz memoirs, but as a candid and unmatchable story of rock and roll insanity and success from a man who glories in it all.
Jeff Tamarkin, a prolific music journalist, has been on the scene for more than 35 years. For 15 years, Tamarkin was editor of Goldmine. Prior to that, he served as the first editor of CMJ and as editor of Relix. He has written for many well known publications, including Billboard, Newsweek, Playbill, Creem, Mojo, and The New York Daily News.
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Paperback Original: 978-1-61780-846-3/304 pages
Two 8-page color photo inserts
Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
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