can i say; a review

Can I Say: Living Large Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums by Travis Barker and Gavin Edwards.

Can I Say: Living Large Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums by Travis Barker and Gavin Edwards.

Book 58 of 2015

There are so many things I can SAY about Travis Barker’s autobiography, Can I Say. So much, in fact, I could write a novella about the book itself.

Let’s start with the negatives; we’ll get those out of the way first.

  • Is Travis Barker a writer? Definitely not. I even found some grammatical and spelling errors in the book. (Come on, editors! Come on co-author!) In some ways, this negative can also be viewed as a positive, though. I did feel that the book was truly Travis; his language, his inflect and the general way the book was written is very conversational. In fact, I constantly felt as though I was having a discussion with Travis, rather than reading his book.
  • There are a lot of crass and trashy moments revealed. Travis recruited his ex-wives, old friends and coworkers to write excerpts in the book and there are a lot of ‘WTF?!’ stories and anecdotes. He seemed to be a sex addict for a lot of his early life. I rolled my eyes and cringed a few times.
  • This book did not help with my fear of flying. (I fly often, but need to medicate. It has gotten worse over the years, and I don’t let it stop me, but it still isn’t pleasant). Travis has always had a fear of flying, and when he writes about his plane crash, I could picture the scene vividly.

Notwithstanding the above noted considerations, I really enjoyed Can I Say. I was (and still am) a huge Blink 182 fan (I stopped counting how many times I’ve seen them and the band members side project concerts after eight times) and I couldn’t wait to read the inside scoop. I wasn’t disappointed. Tom and Mark (Blink 182’s founders and members) wrote excerpts throughout the book. Barker wrote about his childhood, adolescence, and finally how he met Mark and Tom. He wrote about how some of Blink’s most famous and noteworthy songs and records were created; readers can learn the stories behind some of their favorite songs. All three of the bandmates talk about their creative challenges as the band gained more success, and also what happened the few times the band split up. If you’re a Blink 182 fan, you’ll enjoy Can I Say.

That being said, if you are also a rap or rock music fan, readers will also enjoy Barker’s stories. He is one of the world’s best drummers and has worked with an impressive roster of people. The back of the book actually offers an index of all of the songs Barker has contributed to to-date.

Then, of course, there is the celebrity angle. Barker rubs shoulders with everyone from the members of Rancid, to Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan. He has run-in’s at bars with the most unexpected A, B and C Listers and most of his stories are ones that his kids won’t be exposed to for a while, I would think.

Barker also dealt with addiction for years. He was addicted to pills, mostly, and writes about his battle. His addiction issues were at their peak after the plane crash, when a lot of the drugs in the hospital weren’t strong enough for him, and Barker entered a state of depression.

This state of depression leads me to the plane crash. Barker had a fear of flying his whole life and before making the trip, strange events happened surrounding the event. For example, his daughter Alabama was really upset Barker was leaving and that was unlike her. She actually told him “the roof’s gunna come off, dad,” which foreshadowed the  crash. Barker and his friends were also supposed to return the following day, but decided to fly home early and booked a different plane, with a different crew. One of Barker’s friends also took a picture outside the plane and texted it to his family before taking off.

The plane crash and the aftermath was a huge part of the book, and Barker’s life. Barker and DJ AM were the only two survivors. (Note: DJ AM later passed away due to a drug overdose). Barker’s friends and the crew perished. Barker had burns all over his body and was in the hospital for months. His recovery process, healing and addiction issues, in addition to survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress, were all raw and sometimes difficult to read about. Barker painted very vivid pictures of the crash and his emotional and physical state afterwards, and really gives readers a glimpse into what he went through. To this day, Barker still doesn’t fly.

Overall, I would recommend this book (unless you are easily offended by crass language, sex, drugs and rock and roll). It was a page-turner and kept me intrigued the entire time. Can I Say is definitely an autobiography that will stick with me for a while.



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