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The unbilled drummer in the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tells an unsatisfying and not always credible story of drugs and sex (and a little rock 'n' roll). Taylor, a millionaire at age 21 who spiraled down and down, writes his chapters in flashback scenes from two different vantage points: a hospital, where he undergoes a liver-transplant operation (funded in part by a benefit concert given by his musician buddies) and addiction-treatment sessions. But neither the intensive-care unit nor group therapy justifies Taylor's extensive and bad re-creations of dialogue, like the speech about the '60s that he delivers while in the hospital: ""I swallowed the whole 'dawn of a new day, it's a new world' bullshit hook, line and sinker."" His story includes some luridly interesting tales: nearly having an orgy with Jimi Hendrix (Taylor turned tail and ran when Hendrix greeted him at the door in the nude); wife-swapping with the Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman; and drug excesses with his band mates, with teenagers he met at Woodstock, and with a hitchhiker while driving 140 mph. However, he skimps on describing his musical career and his current life. Taylor now works as a substance-abuse counselor in California and has reconstructed his life with a new wife who didn't shrink from ""an ex-junkie, a thrice-divorced, has-been musician with a police record, no high school diploma and one grandchild."" Former band mate David Crosby, in an introduction, sees Taylor as someone caught by all the ""peripheral traps"" of the music business. A worthy cautionary tale, however, doesn't necessarily make a good book.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1994
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth