Monday, May 20, 2013

Memoir of a badly-behaved woman

Storm Large -- who may have the greatest rock-and-roll name of all time -- is well-known in Portland entertainment circles. Frontman of The Balls and frequent guest chanteuse of Pink Martini, she is a versatile singer whose can easily switch styles from heavy metal to torchy ballads. She won rave reviews for starring in Cabaret on Portland Center Stage in 2009, and is widely known for rocking the house on the short-lived reality show Rock Star: Supernova in 2006.

She also just won the Oregon Book Award for her excellent memoir, Crazy Enough, in which she describes the enduring effects of her mother’s mental illness on her life.

Large’s mother, Suzi, displayed aggravating, painful episodes of attention-getting delusions and compulsive lying, interrupted by bouts of suicidal depression. Diagnosed with everything from bipolar disorder to multiple personalities to something called “mental epilepsy,” Suzi was impossible to live with, even for the daughter who adored her.

Large (her family called her “Stormy”) rebelled early and hard, embarking upon a wild career of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. She recounts her adventures, good and sometimes very bad, in this funny, profane, and audacious book.

One of the greatest things about reading Crazy Enough was that it sent me hunting for Large’s performances online. She is remarkably talented.  Here is a clip (from Rock Star: Supernova) of her beautifully performing “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. I can be a harsh critic towards artists who cover songs I love, but I think that is wonderful. If you listen until the end, you’ll hear that she dedicates it to her mother.

If you’re interested in the story of a brilliant, troubled, difficult, and funny woman, check out Crazy Enough: A Memoir.

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