On stage, Portland, Ore., rock singer Storm Large stands approximately 100-feet-tall and wields a voice that could blow down the walls of Jericho.
It only takes a few pages of her new memoir, Crazy Enough, to realize that, off-stage, she's even bigger and louder.
Though her resume is extensive, including everything from performances at Carnegie Hall to being a hand-model for a dildo company, Large is perhaps best known for her stint on the reality TV show Rock Star Supernova, in which she competed for a vocal slot alongside rock legends Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke.
But for the book--based off her one-woman musical stage show of the same name--Large doesn't focus much on her performing life. It's two-thirds over before she steps on stage for the first time, and as grossly compelling as the following chapter detailing odd tour stories about fans collecting her loogies is, it is far less engaging than Large's life off-stage.
Large was only a few years old when her mother began frequenting mental asylums for a rotating cast of maladies. Large blamed herself and took heartbreaking steps to atone for it. During one hospital visit when she was 9 years old, Large made an awkward comment to her mother's doctor that at least she wouldn't end up like her mother.
"Well, yes. It's hereditary," the doctor told her. "You absolutely will end up like your mother. But not until your 20s."
And so begins Large's story of turning to addictive patterns of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll--in that order--to avoid her mother's fate. She starts new lives as a Boston street punk, a high-school jock, a New York student, a San Francisco junkie and, finally, a battle-scarred rock singer. But no matter how far she runs, her mother and the existential poison of her mental illness are never far behind, something she knows she must eventually look inside to conquer.
Beyond just a compelling--even inspiring--story, Crazy Enough is a great read. Large has a command of language that would make a sailor blush, if he or she could stop laughing. She uses phrases like "acres of weenies" to describe her sexual history and "dick-whisperer" to describe her sexual goals. The language is smooth and bizarre all at the same time, and the story flows like a melody.
If the book has a flaw, it's that some sections share the colloquial style of the stage show, making them feel more like asides than central parts of the narrative. It's also unfortunate that the book doesn't come with the excellent soundtrack.
But asides aside, Crazy Enough is a remarkably raw look at a remarkably raw person's quest for redemption that can inspire tears, laughter and disgust in the space of a single page.