Shake, Rattle & Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Review Of Martin St John’s Psychedelic Confessions Of A Primal Screamer…

When I first heard about Martin St John’s Psychedelic Confessions Of A Primal Screamer: The Tambourine Years 1984 – 1987 I thought it would purely be for the demographic who once owned a pair of leather trousers, consider Forever Changes by Love as one of the greatest albums ever made, and who have a treasured copy of Sonic Flower Groove in their record collection. That would have been fine by me as it’s a demographic to which I, and our kid, are both proud to belong. This was always going to be a book for me and those like me. What’s perhaps more surprising is that it’s a book for you as well.

Martin St John was on tambourine and psychedelic vibes for the newly formed Primal Scream between 1984 and ’87, and the book relates the story of the group way before Andy Weatherall and Screamadelica brought them world-wide success and infamy. In it St John tells the tale of “six Glaswegian garage heads hell-bent on acid, hard kicks and psychedelia”, and does so with such gusto that you cannot be helped but be carried along in his wake.

The hardest thing for any writer is to get their voice across, but Martin St John’s is loud and proud, clear and irrepressible. Words and phrases are CAPPED UNEXPECTEDLY, exclamation marks regularly make their point, and the end result is all the better for it. I can guarantee that most writing class tutors, or editors, would insist such flourishes were removed, and I’m happy to have an argument about the negative results of that another time, but the way this book is written not only fits the writer, it fits the story he has to tell. Continue reading