The first half of this was very good indeed, and I was thinking that it would continue in that vein. But then things began to get rather sketchy, and a bit puzzling as well (eg, Gene Clark, who was portrayed as being very skittish about his affair with her, suddenly shows up in the front row of a M&P concert with a big grin on his face). Certainly it’s difficult to figure out what the writer is thinking sometimes, and her moral compass doesn’t always seem to be too highly magnetized. Okay, so she was young and suddenly all this fame and fortune was thrust upon her; sure, anybody could spin out of orbit with all of that. But this was after all written some 20 years later, and you’d think that the older (and wiser?) Michelle would kick in with a bit more commentary about her younger and sillier self. She seems all too often (when not acting like a spoiled brat) to be a “vapid blonde.”
We hear that she and her husband agree to stay together (more or less for the sake of the group). And then that’s it. No more accounts of fighting or of the tension between members…it all just sort of segues into a fuzzy-headed sequence of parties and nights out on the town. All she can really seem to do after a while is talk about all her nifty new furniture and dinner plates. It was the honesty of the first part of the book which made it compelling, and which is sadly very much lacking in the second half. Somewhere in there (I can’t find the page now) she says how she’s not going to tell anything really intimate in this book, which is perhaps not the best attitude in the world for a memoir writer to take (lol).
There are indeed some amusing moments, such as describing the disappointing fourth album, which was recorded in the converted studio at their house: “What a waste of a cedar closet.”
And then there’s the following:
“John was up until dawn, strapped into his guitar, and he came to me in the morning and played me a wonderful tune. ‘Isn’t it pretty?’ he said. ‘I have just spent the last few hours writing it.’
“I listened to it. It was lovely. ‘John,’ I said. ‘You’ve just spent the night writing “Autumn Leaves.”‘ These things can happen.”
But mostly things become rather tedious as we have to listen to her (again) tell us how great M&P were. The biggest thing since the Beatles, to hear her account of it. Now, they had a cool sound (and look) for a while, and a string of very nice records…but no, they were not the Beatles.
You really have to wonder about someone who babbles on for page after page about her chintz curtains or whatever may be the objet d’art of the moment, and yet voices nary a word when her daughter enters the world.
Then of course there was the section on someplace called the Daisy, which was alleged to be nice and fun, unless of course you were an outsider and had the door “unmercifully slammed in your face.” Unfortunately she seems to have gone rather Hollywood, as can perhaps be demonstrated by the glitzy glam shot of her which takes up the book’s back cover. It all seems a bit shallow and soulless to me, and not the sort of thing you’d expect from the young wildcat acidhead she used to be.
The blurb about the author on the dust jacket is also something from right out of Hollywood. Indeed, it verges on self-parody. Here it is, in full:
“Termed ‘the purest soprano in pop-dom’ by Time magazine, Michelle Phillips is today an acclaimed actress as well as a musical legend. She starred opposite Audrey Hepburn and Omar Sharif in the film of Sidney Sheldon’s bestseller Bloodline, opposite Rudolf Nureyev in Valentino, and with other major stars in numerous motion pictures, TV miniseries, and made-for-television movies. Her latest starring role is one opposite Olympic gold medalist Mitch Gaylord in the motion picture American Anthem for Albert Magnoli, director of Purple Rain.”
Woe unto those who start to believe their own hype… 😉