A Northern California beach-side town, 1972 and Michael Stein, 19 and a serious Bob Dylan fan, is bummed out as he walks across the quad at The University. He is searching, searching for what he calls the authentic real. A way he felt, a way he lived, in the late Sixties, in the days when he was with her, his high school girlfriend, his first love. Searching for who he was before he lost Sweet Sarah, and his life crashed and burned. But on this day Michael Stein is different. He’s not who he used to be.
As Writerman, he’s aware of so much.
As Michael Stein, he doesn’t have a clue.
Michael Stein. Writerman.
The young man. The Myth.
Michael Stein is obsessed with sex. Writerman too; only for Writerman the sex is more than sex. Sex is the door to intimacy, and transcendence. And women, especially one woman, his Visions of Johanna, is the only door he knows to escape into ecstasy, and free himself from himself.
For Michael Stein, the Sixties ended in the nut house. His parents blamed his erratic behavior on drugs. Michael Stein blames himself. After all, he broke his Sweet Sarah’s heart.
Aware. Both Michael Stein and Writerman are aware they are living through one of the biggest social changes America has experienced. Trouble is, Michael Stein isn’t aware that the Sixties are over. Writerman, though, always The Warrior, always The Seeker, Writerman has a clue: The love is gone and all that’s left is the drugs.
Michael Stein, on that sunny day on the quad, well something extraordinary happens. He meets a fellow traveler, Lord Jim, an uninhibited freakster bro who’s going to turn Michael Stein on to more than the drugs. Michael Stein doesn’t know it yet but he is about to set forth on the wildest ride of his life.
“True Love Scars” is book one of the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy. These three books are one long deep breath. The exhale is obsessive, transgressive. How macho meets feminism. How second chakra rises up to third. Through all the women: Sweet Sarah, Beat-Chick Elise, Jaded, Simone, Harper, Eve. A puff, a party, a tragedy —from marijuana to angel dust, teenage heartbreak to addiction, from “All You Need is Love” to the junked-out punk of the New York Dolls.
How the dream died and what there is left after.
How you cope.
How you find love.
“True Love Scars.” Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll like you’ve never experienced them.
If you liked Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” or J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” or Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity,” this book, which some might call “Literary Fiction” and others might call “New Adult,” is for you.
“Michael Goldberg is comparable to Kerouac in a 21st century way...”
MARK MORDUE, author of “Dastgah: Diary of a Head Trip”
“True Love Scars reads like a fever dream from the dying days of the Summer of Love. Writerman pitches headlong into a haze of drugs, sex and confusion in search of what no high can bring: his own redemption. Read it and be transformed.”
ALINA SIMONE, author of “Note to Self” and “You Must Go and Win”
“So who is this protagonist anyway? Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?”
PAUL KRASSNER, founder of The Realist, author of “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture”
“Radioactive as Godzilla.”
RICHARD MELTZER, author of "The Aesthetics of Rock"
“It’s a terrific read.”
TOM SPANBAUER, author of “Now Is the Hour” and “I Loved You More”
“Michael Goldberg paints crazy intimate portraits of the excesses and eccentricities of the sexual revolution. He speaks to us in the voice and language of the brave microculture of his youth. All the dreams and wishes and bright energy buried therein is still brawling for a release. To hear a voice from this realm is a blessing.
JOLIE HOLLAND, musician, whose albums include Catalpa and Wine Dark Sea
“His prose is hallucinogenic in all the best ways.”
DAVID BROWNE, Rolling Stone Contributing Editor, author of "Fire and Rain"
About the Author
So what do you wanna know?
When I was a kid, rock ’n’ roll and literature made life worth living.
Or rather, it was literature that rocked my world—“Treasure Island,” “Crime and Punishment,” the Hardy Boys books, the Oz books, all those sexy 007 novels—until I turned 12, and then rock ’n’ roll—The Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, The Yardbirds—blew my mind.
Well girls trumped both, but that’s another story.
I started writing stories in sixth grade and by high school I was certain that writing was my vocation. And I did have one of those “Almost Famous” moments, writing Creem editor Lester Bangs and getting an encouraging letter back asking me to send him some record reviews (which he didn’t use).
Fast-forward to 1975, and I was in the thick of the punk scene, interviewing Patti Smith and The Ramones and the Talking Heads for stories that ran in the Berkeley Barb and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
I had some close calls. The Clash nearly threw me out of a San Francisco recording studio, the Sex Pistols tried to break my tape recorder, and Frank Zappa said if I was one of his fans he was in big trouble.
The life of a rock journalist.
Things did work out, and I spent 10 crazy years talking to everyone from George Harrison and George Clinton to Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder for Rolling Stone where I was an Associate Editor and a Senior Writer. My writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and many more.
In 1994 I’d founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. Newsweek magazine called me an “Internet visionary.”
I joined forces with SonicNet in 1997. I was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won a Webby award for best music site, and a Yahoo Internet Life! award. While I was at SonicNet the site won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
You can expect the second book of the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy, “Days of the Crazy-Wild,” to be available by August 2015. I write a monthly music column, The Drama You’ve Been Craving, for the Australian version of Addicted To Noise.
Any other questions?
Praise for True Love Scars…
“Michael Goldberg is comparable to Kerouac in a 21st century way, someone trying to use that language and energy and find a new way of doing it.” MARK MORDUE, author of “Dastgah: Diary of a Head Trip”
“True Love Scars reads like a fever dream from the dying days of the Summer of Love. Keyed to a soundtrack of love and apocalypse, Writerman pitches headlong into a haze of drugs, sex and confusion in search of what no high can bring: his own redemption. Read it and be transformed.” ALINA SIMONE, musician, author of “Note to Self” and “You Must Go and Win”
"Michael Goldberg reminds us of the difficulties of remaining true to our own visions amidst the powerful exigencies of young adulthood. He paints crazy intimate portraits of the excesses and eccentricities of the sexual revolution. And he speaks to us in the voice and language of the brave microculture of his youth. In this, he opens a door to the rough adolescence of our own ‘grown up’ disillusioned macroculture. All the dreams and wishes and bright energy buried therein is still brawling for a release. Our inner teenager still wonders what the fuck we think we are doing. To hear a voice from this realm is a blessing. Goldberg makes of himself a channel from that forbidden country. Through his recounting, we remember how we learned to love, how we learned to listen, and how we learned to do whatever it is we do best.” JOLIE HOLLAND, recording artist, whose albums include Catalpa, Escondida and The Living and the Dead
“So who is this protagonist anyway? Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley? Speaking in a crazy-assed, hell-fucked jargon, yet choosing his words so carefully it seems like his words are choosing him? And exactly what’s happening here? Coming of age in the era between the Beats and the Punks? Licking the combination plate of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll? Balancing on the tightrope between horniness and empathy? Carrying a torch along the route of Teenage Heartbreak Olympics. Revealing a threesome among guilt, blame and accountability? Tripping on the power of shared musical obsession? Naïveté serving as a gradual learning experience morphing into sophistication, layer by layer. Caught between Dylan’s suggestion, ‘Take what you have gathered from coincidence,’ and Freud’s observation, ‘Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.’ Excuse me, what was the question again?” PAUL KRASSNER, founder of The Realist, author of “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture”
“Michael’s written quite a series of novels about the early Seventies and the death of the Sixties and the rock ’n’ roll dream. I think they’re very good. I've never seen a novel talk about Feminism and the Seventies like his Freak Scene Dream Trilogy does. Plus he's a total rock ’n’ roll geek. He knows everything about everybody. Believe me, every detail from Captain Beefheart to the New York Dolls. Bob Dylan is God. And a straight guy with a raging sexual agenda searching for his ‘Visions of Johanna chick.’ It’s a terrific read.” TOM SPANBAUER, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “Now Is the Hour” and “I Loved You More”
“Everyone knows the dizzying Sixties gave way to the sobering Seventies, but few writers have captured that wild ride and its consequences—the road from folk Dylan to 'Sister Morphine'—the way Michael Goldberg does in his debut novel. His prose is hallucinogenic in all the best ways.” DAVID BROWNE, author of “Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley,” “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970” and “Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth”