I dug this review up after logging Lost Joy in LibraryThing. It was originally published by a long-gone webzine out of Milwaukee, WI, Actionman, for which I also reviewed CDs. Thanks to Michael W. of No Karma Music for hooking me up:
Title: Lost Joy
Author: Camden Joy
Published in 2002 by TNI Books
There is the clichéd scene in High Fidelity where Rob goes through his record collection and rearranges it in order of life’s moments. I’m sure I’m not the only music geek to go home after a big break up and think about doing the same thing. And I’m not the only one to shudder at the idea, turn the stereo up, and cry in her beer. Camden Joy understands. Rock and roll isn’t his hobby, or passion, or new love, or even a religion. His records and CDs aren’t collectables over which to get all alpha male. No. It goes deeper than that. Rock and roll, what it means, where it comes from, where it takes you, how it connects is the physical and psychic make up of Camden Joy and his writing.
Lost Joy is a collection of manifestoes, essays, and other prose that until now have not been available in one volume. Unless you consider the walls and hoarding boards of New York City to be a volume. Then walk the walk and read the talk before the latest soft drink sponsored saviour of rock and roll pastes its face across Joy’s musings. No doubt he will organize his thoughts quick enough to foil the designs of the twenty-first century Svengalis. He made a name for himself as a gonzo rock critic in 1995 and his titles include The Last Rock Star, or Liz Phair: A Rant, Boy Island, Hubcap Diamond Star Halo, Palm Tree 13, and Pan that he co-authored with Colin B. Morton.
Joy ably combines the adamant style of Hunter S. Thompson with the enthusiasm of Jack Kerouac. I wouldn’t burden the author with being a voice of Generation X; certainly there are lessers more deserving of that terrible yoke. Joy does speak to those of us who listen to the song or an artist and recognize more. The story “The Greatest Record Album Ever Told”, a tribute to Frank Black’s Teenager of the Year is a good example. The author weaves his life and thoughts into a passionate review of a record. Real simple, but there are always songs and CDs that hearken back to a time dark, or light, or just overcast. Joy sits us down and lets us in to his experience of Black’s discography.
Lost Joy isn’t all glimpses of Joy’s life, or a fictional facsimile thereof. The opening story, “Dum Dum Boys,” sets the tone of the journey upon which the writer takes us. Coming of an age after the zits have been exfoliated away. He undermines studied cynicism evoking a sadness that gives more foundation for jaded wisdom.