A Dysfunctional Success
GOULDEN ON THE WRITING OF 'WRECKLESS ERIC: A DYSFUNCTIONAL SUCCESS', HIS
FORTHCOMING BLOCKBUSTER FROM THE DO-NOT PRESS:
I didnt want to write a rock n roll biography, the sort
that documents the early struggle for fame, works through a successful
middle period, and chronicles the downfall via a collection of lurid drug-related
episodes and boring contractual details, before finally fizzling out in
a collection of lame anecdotes designed to demonstrate what a great guy
I am now that lifes being good to me and Im on the straight
and narrow. WH Smiths is already full of crap like that.
The fact is I didnt find it very difficult to become famous, and
although it lasted a bit longer than five minutes it really hasnt
taken up that much space in my life. Ive never been all that fussed
about being famous, Id prefer recognition which is a slightly different
thing. Fame is just inconvenient and embarrassing and, sadly, it doesnt
always come hand in hand with money. In the early days of Stiff Records
Jake Riviera asked everybody what they wanted to be: rich or famous. I
thought the answer to that was easy I wanted to be famous because
that was what was expected of me, and surely, if I had some hits Id
be rich anyway. But Famous was the wrong answer - Elvis Costello,
for instance, said Rich.
Although I never had any national chart success I had lots of indie
or alternative chart hits and my records sold by the truckload
all over the world. Everybody knew who I was, but when I finally quit
Stiff Records in 1981 I left without a penny. The British music press
had labelled me a loveable loser, Stiffs resident
small person, and, in a moment of extreme vitriol, a stroppy,
alcoholic dwarf. Thats the trouble with being only five foot
six - people tend to notice that youre two inches shorter than everybody
else, and unless youre very strong theyll treat you accordingly.
Lack of height obviously equates with lack of intellect at best
you have comedy value. Youre somebody that the bigger boys can kick
around and by so doing feel much better about themselves. Its like
being black, except that there are no laws against discriminating against
But itll only get you down if you let it. I like being the height
I am and Ive come to terms with my alcoholism - I havent had
a drink now for seventeen years. Ive still got all my own hair and
teeth, and Im making a real effort not to run to fat in my middle
years. Im fit and healthy, and Ive managed to retain my sense
of the ridiculous. I havent got any fucking money but Im working
on that. I think Ive done quite well.
I never stopped doing music. Ive given it up a few times, usually
forever, but Ive always come back to it. You might say that music
is my life, except that you could not say that and then I wouldnt
have to throw up. In writing this book Ive tended to concentrate
on the stuff that surrounds doing music. Like I said at the beginning,
I dont want to document, chronicle and then fizzle. The music biz
stuff comes as a kind of incidental to the main theme, which is the absurd
life that Ive been forced to lead as a consequence of not having
a proper job. Not that Im complaining.
Ive talked about my childhood in bungalow land in the
sixties and all the fab groovy music that was around then how it
shaped the course of my life, how one thing led to another and I graduated
from a tin banjo to an Eko acoustic to a Japanese Top Twenty to a Rickenbacker
330, and how on the way I went to art school, made some pop records, had
a nervous breakdown, and wound up living in the French countryside for
I hope that my family wont feel that Ive done them a disservice.
During my childhood and adolescence there were external, socialogical
pressures which made things as they were. We had arguments, we had rows,
and I found out that my parents aspirations were not always the
same as mine. I dont think Im washing our dirty linen in public,
but if I am, what the hell? Lots of people have to use the laundrette.
What I mean to say is that I dont think my upbringing as a middle
class kid in the south-east of England was really any different to loads
of other peoples. Theres nothing to regret or be ashamed of.
Looking back over my life so far I sometimes feel quite shagged out. Im
amazed at how many things I seem to have fitted in, and Im still
only halfway through (with any luck). I spent a lot of my life waiting
for my life to begin, before I realised that its happening right
now. Im determined to make my own success of it and I dont
really care how dysfunctional it appears to anyone else.
to read extracts
Click to visit 'A Dysfunctional
logo to buy from Amazon.co.uk