"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)






Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll The Lisa Marie Presley Story

by Katherine Cummings

America Media, Inc., 2004, Softcover, 219 pages, Illustrated, ISBN: 1-932270-26-4

Published earlier this year, the second biography about Lisa Marie Presley mirrors its predecessor (Elvis My Dad) in that it is a lightweight release, at times superficial, at times sensational. Its only redeeming feature (if you can call it that) is its publication date.

Unlike the now out-of-date book, Elvis My Dad, published in 1990, Sex Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll offers an up-to-date biography of Lisa Marie Presley including discussion of the Church of Scientology, motherhood, her three marriages, health problems (apparently caused largely by mercury poisoning) and more recently, Lisa's burgeoning musical career and her battle with stage fright.

The give-away on this book is the cover note: "from the files of THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER".

Not renowned for its balanced coverage of any topic, the National Enquirer's stories must be viewed with more than a little scepticism (even after its ballyhooed new journalistic direction).

Drawing on Lisa's various media interviews, other books about Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa and quotes from third parties, Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll is typical fare from The National Enquirer: full of sensational claims, broad conjecture and superficial inquiry. Michael Edwards' well publicised 'more than infatuation' with his partner's daughter is taken directly from his own absorbing book, Priscilla, Elvis & Me , while Ms Cummings also borrows heavily from Suzanne Finstad's sensational release, Child Bride and the first biography about Lisa, Elvis My Dad.

The narrative is straightforward and conjours up nice imagery: (on Lisa's marriage to Nic Cage): 'In fitting pirate fashion, it was a marriage that was alternately smooth sailing and rough waters.' Readers will find some of the material interesting although many may have lingering doubts about the veracity of some passages:

'After watching the program E! True Hollywood Story: The Last Days of Elvis she [Lisa] found herself thinking (about members of the Memphis Mafia): "You slithering motherf***ers have no right. None. You were responsible for this just as much as he was. She does not hide her fury. "It's disgusting. I hope they rot in hell."'

There is for instance a blow-by-blow account of what transpired when Lisa admitted to Priscilla that she had married Michael Jackson, a discourse that apparently included Priscilla calling her daughter "stupid". I guess it's not too far fetched given how many other people viewed the unlikely union. The claim that, during their marriage, Michael Jackson referred to Lisa (behind her back) as a "heiffer" will raise more than one eyebrow.

One theme I enjoyed concerned the similarities between Elvis and Michael Jackson, in particular how MJ emulated Elvis. Other passages about the eccentric Jackson raise a smile but on reflection arguably symbolise a quite serious personality disorder. Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll touches of what could be a telling theme, Lisa Marie Presley's insecurity as a person and had the theme been explored in-depth a much more revealing portrait of Lisa may have been presented.

So who is the real Lisa Marie Presley? Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll does not adequately answer this question although its closing passage is instructive: 'But Lisa Marie is up for the challenge. "Look," she has said, "my whole life has been a constant battle of trying to find my own way."'

Verdict: The definitive Lisa Presley bio is yet to be written. So far two superfivial bios about Lisa - both lacking the rigour and analysis needed to make a solid, reliable biography. Lisa Marie Presley deserves better as her story undoubtedly has substantial merit as a biography. If Lisa ever reads Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll she would probably say (in her own inimitable style), "What a f***in' load of garbage!"

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