Jaguar Ride: Memoir of an Electric Eel | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Brian McMahon

Jaguar Ride: Memoir of an Electric Eel

Published by HoZac Books

Apr 06, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The electric eels (purposefully written in all lower case) came from Cleveland, predated The Sex Pistols, and foreshadowed the punk movement, all the while reportedly playing only five or six gigs and releasing zero music in its lifetime. The band’s short history is a complicated one, but nonetheless the electric eels left a legacy.

With Jaguar Ride, eels guitarist Brian McMahon puts his story to paper. But it’s not what you might think. Jaguar Ride is not a history of the electric eels. Precious little information (or at least little that’s not inscrutable) on the eels’ rehearsals, live performance, inter-band tension, and incendiary antics is detailed herein. Instead, McMahon chooses to weave his story from the gutters of Cleveland and surrounding parts, detailing his youth.

McMahon’s narrative is often abstract, punctuated by more easily discernible asides from a narrator called Dogman, whose purpose seems to be to make sense of the madness of McMahon’s text. McMahon’s youth finds him aimless and traveling, and his tale is related in loose anecdotal form. As such, Jaguar Ride reads something like a cross between William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Kerouac’s On the Road. He runs away from home, skips school, heads west to California. Somewhere in the craziness, the electric eels is born.

McMahon’s memoir is unconventional. Those expecting a traditional electric eels history will be sorely disappointed. However, Jaguar Ride is engaging and fascinating in a bizarre, can’t-look-away sort of fashion. Which perhaps is perfectly apropos, given the kind of band the electric eels was. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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