"The most successful serial killers are always the boys next door -- gentle children of summer, flashing smiles like soft breezes through a park, sharpened knives wrapped in grass-stained Levis," confesses Jack Grisham at the outset of his startling new memoir, An American Demon (ECW Press). The T.S.O.L. singer and onetime gubernatorial candidate was a notoriously charismatic punk-rock Pied Piper, using his considerable wit, intelligence and deceptively wholesome Huntington Beach surfer-boy charm to lead his slavish fans down the road to literal ruin. Whereas so many recent punk biographies are sentimental at best, and narcissistic and inarticulate at worst, Grisham's tales of violence, debauchery, incarceration and ultimate redemption are morbidly fascinating, rendered with a lurid panache that comes off like A Clockwork Orange as narrated by a particularly disturbing and sadistic Holden Caulfield. Fellow veteran SoCal musician Paul Roessler (Twisted Roots, 45 Grave) accurately describes An American Demon as "the first true literature to come out of our pathetic little punk lives." In typically ironic fashion, Grisham celebrates the publication of his dark tome with a sunny book-signing cruise around Long Beach Harbor, featuring sets from T.S.O.L. and fellow punk stalwarts The Crowd, The Hated, The Yeastie Boys and Love Canal.
Sun., May 1, 2-6 p.m., 2011