Howard Kaylan – Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.
Three things come very clear upon reading Howard Kaylan’s book.
A. “Happy Together” has afforded him a nice living.
B. He smokes a lot of pot.
C. He is terrible at both marriages and making record deals.
Oh, and he threw up all over Jimi Hendrix in public.
The happy little Turtles were a wolf in sheep’s clothing as this band were wild, drug addled and down right living the rock and roll lifestyle of excess to the hilt.
From hanging out with John Lennon, to having U2, an unknown band at the time, come backstage to get their autographs, to divorces, to money issues, to bad record deals, to copious amounts of drugs, to amazing radio shows, to his time with Frank Zappa, to being on stage when that stupid with a flare gun burnt the place to the ground, to singing with Springsteen and even Ozzy Osbourne, Kaylan has done it all, bought the t-shirt and, now, even wrote the book about it. Did I mention he THREW UP on Jimi Hendrix? In Public?
As part of Flo & Eddie, he brought comedy to rock and roll. He hung out with Marc Bolan and he partied with, well, everyone. Not only does this book keep you on the edge of your seat, it is so open and honest that one can’t decide if Howard is funny, habitually stoned, an innovator, or a totally selfish and pompous asshole. In fact, throughout his life he has been all of the aforementioned making this one rock and roll memoir worth reading.
The Turtles may have been happy together, but Howard seemed to sabotage his happiness at every turn. His tale does have a happy ending, though, as Kaylan has settled into a good life in California. He seems to be genuine happy, enjoying his music, his family…and his medical marijuana card.
This story is stuff that legends are made of…legends like Howard Kaylan.
By Jeb Wright