You’ve probably heard of the 27 Club—that exclusive group of musicians who died at the age of 27, after a short life of wild excess. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse all joined the club, leaving their fans bereft and guaranteeing themselves a place in rock legend.
That rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, huh? You wouldn’t read about it…and if you did, you wouldn’t believe it. That’s the trick with fiction. People want a page-turner. But if you put in something really extraordinary, they say ‘pfft, that would never happen!’ Well, I’m here to tell you that it would. Here are just a few things I discovered while researching for my book All Over the Place…
Jim Morrison is in the club—he died when he was 27. Well, that’s what they WANT us to believe. Actually, he’s alive and living in the Seychelles. No, he’s really a cowboy in Oregon. And he also has a regular gig playing a small club in Anaheim. Seriously though, he’s in the Lone Star state: Stephen King reports picking up a hitchhiker in Texas he swears was Jim Morrison.
There’s no disagreement about the fact that Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones was 27 when he died. He drowned in the swimming pool at his English country house, the former home of Pooh Bear and the real Christopher Robin. Murder was suspected, but never proven. Later, the swimming pool was re-tiled. And in 2001—not wanting to let an opportunity go to waste—the Brian Jones Fan Club offered the old tiles to souvenir hunters for £130 each, every one numbered, with a certificate of authenticity. Classy.
And don’t people love to blame their mothers for their problems? Try this one. Everyone knows the story of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. When she was found dead in their hotel bathroom with a single stab wound, Sid claimed to know nothing about it. He overdosed not long afterwards, having only made it to 21. It’s rumoured that his mother confessed to giving him a lethal injection of heroin, so he wouldn’t have to face a jail term for Nancy’s murder. No one knows where his ashes are—some say his mother scattered them on Nancy’s grave in Philadelphia. But witnesses claim to have seen her accidentally spill them at London’s Heathrow airport, where they were blown around by the airport ventilation system. Thanks mum.
“There’s nothing glorious in dying,” wrote Johnny Rotten later, in his autobiography. “Anyone can do it.”
Watching the VMAs this year made me wonder what stories we’re yet to hear about today’s stars, up there collecting their awards. Some of them have made it to 28 and beyond already. Others are still waiting to discover what 27 holds. Whatever happens, we’re sure to read about it—and somewhere, a writer will probably use it for inspiration. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction…but turning it into fiction can be a lot of fun!
To see where fact meets fiction in All Over the Place, head to your favourite retailer:
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