This book is not for the timid or unabashed.
Written by Elise Krentzel of Austin, it details the raw, earthy, family details of a dysfunctional family. It is her first memoir, an autobiographical look at her life from the 60s and 70s, with the opening chapter set in the 80s. There are 7 pages of photos of the author.
One character she met, a journalist, asked a question that may cross your mind too as you read this: “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you, Elise! How are you so fiercely autonomous, yet incurably vulnerable?”
Personal life aside, fans of rock ‘n’ roll history will find much here from the insider view the author provides. The stirrings of this began in 1973: “I took after my father in the music department. While he was still living with us, he snuck me into many concerts. He was the East Coast sales rep for Panasonic and received swag in the form of concert tickets. Before I was twelve, I saw Herman’s Hermits, Three Dog Night, and Iron Butterfly live.”
By 1975 the author decided on a career as a rock ‘n’ roll journalist. “Never once did I doubt my abilities for the outcome of my herculean efforts…Finally, with unwavering persistence and chutzpah, I got a break–some traction–when Circus magazine agreed to publish my interview with a folk-rock artist who lived in Vermont.”
The major element of the book dealing with the rock lifestyle revolves around the KISS tour of Japan in 1977. Even though she did not like the band (!), Elise was chosen to be one of the KISS Army journalists on the press junket for their Japanese tour. Her description of being besieged by 5,000 screaming girls who broke through the barricades as the KISS tour plane landed in Japan is hilarious. “KISS descended onto the tarmac to hysterical girls jumping like pogo sticks. The crowd was in a frenzy. The welcome they received was bigger than when the Beatles visited Japan!” Eventually, she wrote a cover story about KISS for Record Week, Canada, which was printed May 16, 1977 under the name Elise Lorraine. Quotes from band members give a great insight into how they viewed themselves at the time, and in 2022 they are still performing!
A fun and lively read, this will make many people wonder why they have lived such dull lives.
This is the first part of a projected trilogy, and the review has been published here on the author’s birthday as a special gift!
Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma & Rock ‘n’ Roll, is published by Kumi Books and is sold via Amazon at this link tinyurl.com/umsbook and select book and record stores throughout Texas.
A shortlist of retail locations can be found at www.elisekrentzel.com (scroll through to find).