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How Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, Survived Herself-and Became the Indie Rock Queen. Chan Marshall's stark lyrics, minimal arrangements, and wounded, smoky vocals, were an instant indie hit in the nineties-but her mental instability nearly derailed her career. How this sensitive but headstrong Georgian daughter of an unstable mother and a relatively unknown musician father-managed to make it big, burn out, and rise up again to become not only the darling of the indie music scene but also a fashion and Hollywood icon is the fabric of this irresistible story. Covering her musical beginnings in the south and her booze-soaked rise to fame in New York City to her eventual breakdown and subsequent reclamation of herself and her music, "Cat Power" delves into the soul of this fragile but ferociously gifted young talent. With seven albums behind her, the hottest designers clamoring to dress her, and perpetually sold-out venues, Marshall is at the height of her career-a perfect vantage point from which to look at her notorious and intriguing history. From interviews with her family, musicians such as Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, Dave Grohl, and Jack White, past loves like Bill Callahan and Vincent Gallo, and current friends such as Karl Lagerfeld and Wong Kar-Wai, Elizabeth Goodman gives us the real Chan Marshall-the little girl, the woman, the artist.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780307396365
ISBN-10: 0307396363
Format: Paperback
(221mm x 139mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Crown Publishing Group, Division of Random House Inc
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Publish Date: 19-May-2009
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Evenhanded biography of the indie-rock chanteuse.Admirably avoiding either hagiography or hatchet job, Blender editor at large Goodman constructs her judicious nonfiction debut mainly from the input of music-industry scenesters closest to Chan Marshall during her evolution from interestingly awkward up-and-comer to the hot international commodity known as Cat Power. The author especially excels at re-creating the neo-bohemian social milieus that shaped Marshall's life and early career - specifically her anarchic Southern Age of Aquarius childhood (raised by a mildly schizoid mother and struggling neo-hippie musician father) and her early-1990s struggles as a starving artist in not-yet-gentrified neighborhoods like Cabbagetown in Atlanta and New York City's Lower East Side. Marshall's rise to indie-rock scene-queen was sparked by an anti-performance ethos that seduced alt-rock power-brokers like Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Gerard Cosloy of Matador Records. By the mid '90s, her childlike fragility on stage and soul-baring vocals had positioned Cat Power as the most talked-about act on the NYC scene. She combined an irresistible androgyny with intensely personal songs that managed to be as confessional as they were inscrutable. Goodman dexterously tiptoes around any absolutist judgments on whether Marshall's now-legendary onstage meltdowns were contrived publicity stunts or simply the result of a genuinely shattered psyche; we're logically led to believe it's a combination of both. Although the author reveals a deep-seated respect for her subject, she doesn't let the slippery singer-songwriter off the hook. Detailing Marshall's near-psychotic episodes, weighing her quietly manipulative nature or describing her 2006 near-suicide attempt, Goodman expresses a polite skepticism that penetrates the haze of press hype and effectively navigates through the artist's self-mythologizing smokescreens.An impressive balance of journalistic objectivity and sympathetic tribute. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Elizabeth Goodman

ELIZABETH GOODMAN is the editor at large at "Blender" magazine and has written for "Rolling Stone, ""Spin, " and "Nylon."

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