I’m a sucker for autobiographies, especially by musicians. I used to be a bit of a snob and only read books by people I actually liked or knew about but slowly I caved in to any celebrity trash. After reading Kim Gordon’s wonderful Girl in a Band and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl I was left wanting something a bit more… rambunctious and depraved, and saw that Travis Barker had a book due out so recommended that my local library buy it and they did.
I am not a fan of pop-punk. I don’t like Green Day, I don’t like Rancid and I don’t like Blink 182. I even tried listening to their music (Blink) post reading the book and while I realise that Travis is an incredibly talented drummer I could not stand the music at all.
The only thing I knew about Travis was that he was a drummer, had a reality show, lots of tattoos and survived a plane crash. I knew nothing of his musical career but I blasted through about 150 pages in one sitting and read the book within a few days. Not many books keep this tired mum up past 11pm so that’s an extra seal of approval.
The good thing about the book is that it’s not a Blink 182 book. I am sure Blink fans will still get a good amount of band stories out of the book but not being a fan of the band I wasn’t extremely interested in this. I was more interested in his back-story and how he dealt with blowing up. He talks about his childhood, bands prior to joining Blink (he was in Aquabats!), and obviously fame, family, reality shows, his clothing company, post Blink bands and DJ acts, and surviving a gnarly plane crash.
Can I Say… is not purely a book about excess, although there is plenty of sex and drugs, Travis also talks about his family, how he nurtured his talent and of his determination and need to improve his drumming every day. He may have been a toad at times and indulged in vices but he never let his work ethic slide and worked really hard to better himself and push himself further. I certainly came away from the book with respect for the guy, not only for his talent but despite a bunch of shitty moves (cheating etc) he really comes off as being a genuinely nice person who just wants to be a good influence on his kids and be there for them. I didn’t really expect to find myself moved emotionally by the book but there’s a few times in the book where things get heavy and had me reflecting on the good things in my life. The chapters on the plane crash and his recovery are just insane, I think having a kid has turned me into a crybaby, perhaps it wouldn’t have affected me so much if he was a solo dad but when he talked about his kids I was crying like a baby.
Clearly a must have for fans of Travis Barker, but if you know nothing of him and like celebrity autobiographies then it’s worth checking out from your local library.