Edison’s juicy screed of a memoir is like a kick in the solar plexus: It may hurt like nobody’s business, but at least it wakes you up.
The prototypical nice Jewish boy from the Jersey suburbs with perennially disappointed parents, teenaged Mike loved nothing more than smoking pot and drinking booze, preferably while pursuing other loves like pro wrestling (he wrote and edited a zine called Main Event in the mid-’80s) and punk rock (he worshipped at its altar with his almighty drum set). A short stint at NYU film school didn’t pan out—the Jean Renoir–worshipping snobs sniffed at his downmarket tastes—so Edison spent a few years rocking across New York and Europe with his band, Sharky’s Machine. At home, the freakishly evolved, high-functioning substance abuser paid the bills by doing everything from cranking out a porn novel a week (the money was good, the page lengths set, and dialogue took up a lot of space) to editing and writing at top speed for porn, wrestling and trade magazines. Things slowed down a bit when, after a particularly debauched period touring and drinking his way around Spain, Edison started taking real jobs, realizing to his surprise that “somehow I had turned a three-year coke jag into a marketable skill.” What should have been a dream gig at High Times magazine turned into a nightmare as the hippie-hating punk butted heads with the lazy hippies on staff. While an excellent introduction to the ins-and-outs of magazine publishing, this part of the book loses momentum as Edison devotes too many pages to settling scores with old enemies. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before he was back out in the world, living for the moment.
A beer-sozzled, speed-cranked nail bomb of a book—what everybody’s Saturday night should be like.