How to Lose Friends and Irritate People
by Justin Pearson
(Three One G)
In 2010, The Locust and All Leather frontman Justin Pearson made his literary debut with the autobiography From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry. Now, he's back with another memoir, which can be summed up in one line: “I grabbed the mic just in time for me to lip sync in front of a bunch of fuck heads.”
That blunt description—of an unruly festival stop in Melbourne, Australia, while on tour with Italian electro-superstars The Bloody Beetroots—is Pearson at his plaintive best. In a two-part volume designed to resemble two 'zines, he describes his (mis)adventures as the self-described “go-to punk singer” of the global electro scene in 2009.
The story begins when All Leather, the now-defunct electro band, gets signed to the prominent electronic label Dim Mak. Before he knows it, Pearson is lending his voice and lyrics to songs by huge DJ groups like the Beetroots and Designer Drugs, getting flown around the world for concerts and video shoots.
This strange new world is filled with posh hotels, model twins and drugs galore, and he enters with trepidation, but he gradually embraces the showboating performance aspect of the work. While Pearson never fully sheds light on the similarities between punk and electro, readers could see parallels between the two genres. Though they seem worlds apart, they're somewhat easy to pull off from a technical standpoint, and both rely on theatrics and pomp.
Throughout the book, Pearson isn't afraid to share his bewilderment amid a music scene that has “no bands” but lots of “scantily dressed girls on stage looking like some sort of bullshit American Apparel ad.” Still, his writing relies mostly on conjecture. This isn't exactly the voyeuristic look into the world of electronic music that the reader might hope it would be.
“I just didn't want to be part of something that had been done,” Pearson writes at one point, describing his aversion to singing over yet another Beetroots track. Eventually, he starts to realize that he's become part of that something. In the book's second part, he acknowledges that, well, he'd made an ass out of himself.