by Nick Spacek
As frontman for the Locust and owner of the Three One G record label, Justin Pearson would seem to be just the sort of person from whom you'd want to read an autobiography. Despite the fact that he's still under the age of 35, the man has had a fascinating life.
It's shame that From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry, Pearson's new book from Soft Skull, is not as fascinating a story as it could be. The stories contained within its pages are quite illuminating, and even entertaining once you get past the opening chapters, which deal with his parents' alcohol abuse and his father's suicide.
However, the downfall to this autobiography is that it's not a cohesive narrative. While every story falls on a mostly linear path from then until now, Pearson's chapters would all do better to remain as stand-alone stories. If From the Graveyard... is read using that concept, it's far better than if read as a start-to-finish story.
Amongst the book's flaws is that many of his ex-girlfriends (and even his ex-wife) as nameless personages. While I can understand wanting to leave the people mentioned within the book anonymous to protect their privacy, there's more detail granted to Pearson's appearance on Jerry Springer than on the seriously emotional distress of his marital discord.
On the positive end of things, Pearson manages to communicate well his feelings regarding former band members, touring, people with whom he comes in contact, and his relationship with his mother. His personal opinions on music and art, and specifically their juncture as it pertains to his work is pleasantly refreshing. When you consider the fact that Pearson is his own worst critic in terms of his musical career, and how refreshing it is to read someone refer to his early work in this manner:
"I know think the band was naive and my contribution does not hold up musically. My vocals were bad, I had terrible timing, and I wrote crummy lyrics. Even the riffs I brought to the table were mediocre compared to what Eric came up with."
It's that emotional honesty that will keep you reading through From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry. Even at its most hamfisted or purposely factually oblique moments (and there are many), Pearson does not shy away from telling exactly what he was feeling at the time, no matter how personally embarrassing or potentially inflammatory.