Rocker Lenny Kravitz looks back to when he found his voice
NEW YORK (AP) - Lenny Kravitz is a man of extremes - as he readily admits.
"I am deeply two-sided: black and white, Jewish and Christian, Manhattan and Brooklynite," he writes about the first 25 years of his life in his new memoir "Let Love Rule," published last week and named after his 1989 debut album.
“The book is about finding my voice and finding my way and going into my destiny whatever that is,” he tells The Associated Press.
The 270-page book, co-written with David Ritz, explores his very special childhood and ends with Kravitz on the brink of fame and deeply in love with actress Lisa Bonet.
“I had such a childhood and experience growing up. That's what I want to spend my time on, ”he says. "So let's stop there. And then we'll see if they'll be a second book in the future."
He's not exaggerating about this childhood. He switched between the then tough neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and a sophisticated building with carved angels on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He ate chopped liver on matzo and fried fish coated with cornmeal.
The extremes continued throughout his life. For his sixth birthday, he was serenaded by Duke Ellington and his band in the famous Rainbow Room. Years later, his home was a Ford Pinto, which he rented for $ 4.99 a day.
“The extremes really work for me. I felt it. I live comfortably in a car or a box or a tent or a trailer and I feel comfortable in a villa, "he says." The middle - of course that's fine too. But what I'm saying is I don't feel it It doesn't feed me that way. I like to balance extremes. "
Kravitz, 56, dedicated the book to his mother, actress Roxie Roker, best known for her role in "The Jeffersons" as Helen Willis, half of one of the first interracial couples on television. The television producer Sy Kravitz, his father and former soldier, was strict with the younger Kravitz.
Father and son often collided, culminating in an outbreak that changed their lives. The younger Kravitz says writing about his father healed.
"Every judgment that I began to resolve when I looked at him with those fresh eyes and open heart," he says. "Each of these harsh feelings that I had and I began to love my father in a different way than I was allowed to love during his lifetime."
Kravitz has the look and sound of a rock god with a pared-down rock and roll style that earned him Grammy Awards four years in a row from 1999 to 2002.
But he's not afraid to show a sillier page in the book, like the first and last time he got drunk with a bottle of Manischewitz or was blown up from five KISS tapes for shoplifting. There's even a crazy sequence in which a young Kravitz rescues a teenage prostitute from a pimp and hides her in his bedroom.
Ritz, the co-author, praised Kravitz for being so handy over the years until the book was finished. He says his co-writer was open and willing to explore anything.
“He has a lot of courage. The thing with Lenny, artistically and personally, is just a man of great courage, ”says Ritz. The joint writing was "like jamming in a studio".
Kravitz's musical influences appear as Prince, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, and David Bowie, who inspired Kravitz to create color-changing contact lenses. The book also examines Kravitz's spirituality and experience of being born again.
His first band was Wave - "The Gap Band Meets The Jacksons Meets Rick James Meets Shalamar Meets Time." They had fog machines and sound effects, an elaborate light show and an incredible 15 members.
Among some interesting business decisions: Kennedy Gordy, son of legendary producer Berry Gordy, presented "Somebody is watching me". But Kravitz refused. So the younger Gordy recorded the hit under the name Rockwell.
In terms of romance, he dated Tisha Campbell of "Martin" and met his ex-wife Bonet at a New Edition concert. "I like your hair," he told her. In the book he admitted, "It was a lame line."
Their flourishing relationship ends the book. "It was like she was the feminine version of me, and when I saw her I could see myself," he writes.
Kravitz writes that his first 25 years were a mission to find your true, authentic self. He turned down record deals that put him in a box, and he even created an alter ego - Romeo Blue - because he didn't think he was cool enough at the time.
"Part of this book is about accepting myself as Lenny Kravitz, that half-black, half-Jewish kid who had that experience," he says. "One of the wonderful gifts you can give yourself in this life is to accept yourself."
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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