RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Carl Dixon – Strange Way To Live: A Story of Rock ‘Roll Resurrection (Book) 

Rating: B+

Rock journeyman Carl Dixon has played in some of the finest bands to ever come out of the Canadian music scene. With over thirty years of experience under his belt, the guitarist and singer- songwriter first rose to prominence in the 80’s with hard rock outfit Coney Hatch; a band that over the course of three albums, got to taste a bit of success in Canada, but sadly was unable to carve out bigger following in North America and beyond. After walking away from the band at the end of the decade, Carl spent much of the next twenty years plying his craft of songwriting, while also touring with The Guess Who and April Wine. In 2008 he somehow survived a horrific car accident in Australia that nearly claimed his life. In addition to his music career, which is thankfully still going strong to this day, Carl now adds author and motivational speaker to his impressive resume, with his first book entitled “Strange Way To Live – A Story of Rock ‘n Roll Resurrection.”

Beginning with his modest upbringing in Northern Ontario “Strange Way To Live” chronicles Carl’s musical odyssey that begins as a boyhood dream and is fully realized as he tastes the up’s and down’s as a full-fledged rock ‘n roll musician with Coney Hatch. Roughly half of the book covers his upbringing and the ‘Hatch’ period, so the reader gets some real insight into the struggles and often complicated personal relationships that can cause friction and mess with a band’s internal dynamics. Being a perfectionist, driven to succeed, and a relatively straight arrow, playing in the sex and drugs world of a touring musician seemed to put him on the outside looking in, but with the passage of time he is able to reflect back on that period both honestly and objectively. 

The second half of the book begins with his musical career at a crossroads, as he tries to put things back together in the wake of his departure from the band. He touches on his time as a touring member in both The Guess Who and April Wine, two of the most successful bands to ever come out of the Great White North. He does so without throwing anyone under the bus and yet it’s clear that both of those situations could have ended on a more positive note. All this slowly builds the reader towards the climax of the book where Carl relives in great detail the life threatening car crash that he miraculously survived. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, this modern day bionic man is slowly able to put his body and both his personal and professional life back together.

“Strange Way To Live” is not only a full on rock ‘n roll autobiography, it’s also an inspirational story of survival and how one man was able to emerge from a traumatic and life threatening experience and come out on the other side. Sometimes there may be a devil in the deck, but when you’ve got an angel looking over you, then anything’s possible. 

By Ryan Sparks