Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review: Tommy Chong's New Book, Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Tuesday, August 12th, marks the release date of Tommy Chong's second book, Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography. It's called "Unauthorized" because Cheech Marin was not involved in it's writing. However, Tommy spoke to Cheech's ex-wives, Patti and Rikki, to learn stories and gain insight about Cheech.

This was actually supposed to be Tommy's first book, but he wrote The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint (released 2006) during the nine months he spent in prison in 2003 for "conspiracy to manufacture and distribute drug paraphernalia." Simon and Schuster decided The I Chong would be first, followed by the autobiography.

In the introduction, Chong writes "I know some of you will thumb through the book and go directly to the end to find out what happens. Well, don't waste your time. Because that is not the way I write. I write, as Cheech used to say, "Chinese style," which means all over the place."

The book has an excellent flow to it. You won't want to put the book down until you're finished because the stories Tommy tells are that good, that interesting.

The book discusses what Tommy and Cheech were doing before they met, how they met, drug usage, touring, their family life, lighting up with celebs, what it was like going from broke to wealthy and why they broke up (keep in mind this was written before they reunited).

There's one story about how broke ($$) they were in the beginning. Cheech was living at his girlfriend's house. He wrote to various product manufacturers saying he had problems with their products. The manufacturers would then send him coupons for free items. Cheech also pretended he was a record reviewer. Record labels would send him free albums which he'd turn around and sell because he needed the money.

There are stories about Tommy hanging out with Jack Nicholson, John Lennon (Lennon couldn't smoke up because of immigration issues), John Belushi, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Sam Kinison wanting to tour with Tommy (Screech and Chong) . There's also a story about jamming with Hendrix.

In addition, the book discusses the origin of many of their sketches and songs. For instance, we learn how Earache My Eye, Ralph and Herbie, Blind Melon Chitlin' and others were written. You should pick up Rhino's double CD Where's There's Smoke, There's Cheech & Chong if you haven't heard them before.

We don't want to give away too many of the stories because that would be like telling someone the end of a good movie before they've had a chance to see it.

Cheech & Chong fans, as well as people not very familiar with Cheech & Chong will enjoy this book.

Tommy will be doing book signings and lots of TV and radio this week. See the schedule on the right.

Purchase the book today.

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