Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cheech and Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Biography is the rags to riches story of the beloved comedy duo, Cheech & Chong. Even if you are not a die-hard Cheech & Chong fan, you will like this book. I recommended it to my mom, and I will probably end up reading it a second time.

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Tommy Chong has led a fascinating life. He started his career as a guitar player, and was a founding member of the Motown Records band, The Vancouvers. Chong wrote the popular song, Does Your Mama Know About Me which became a minor hit for Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers.

Tommy Chong also wrote the catchy rock/comedy song, Earache My Eye which has been covered by numerous bands including KORN and Soundgarden.

Since he and Cheech have had a couple of bad rifts, it's not surprising that Chong chooses to focus on himself in this book. What little bits we learn about Cheech Marin are that when he was a teenager he burned his draft card and moved to Canada where he honed his pottery, writing, music, and acting skills.

Johnson, Don, Cheech Marin, Jeff Perry, and Jaimé P. Gomez. Nash Bridges. The first season.
CBS DVD. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Pictures, 2008.

These days, Marin prefers acting roles that don't promote drug usage, and this is a major reason for the disintegration of his friendship with Chong. He has also been devoting more time to his love of art collecting. In 2007, The Smithsonian Latino Center honored Cheech with a Legacy Award for his dedication to Chicano artists.

ps. I haven't heard much about it, but Cheech & Chong are back together and on tour.

pps. I didn't mention Tommy Chong's first book, The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint. I found it to be a bit didactic. It did, however, make it onto the New York Times bestseller list.

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