An Inspirational Read
Published on September 1, 2008 By Larry Kuperman In Non-Fiction

Last week I went on a business trip to Seattle. Flying time is 5 1/2 hours each way. I am not much for watching movies on a plane, so I always take a book or two for the flight. My son, Jon, was good enough to lend me "On Lower Frequencies, A Secret History of The City" by Erick Lyle. I finished it with time to spare, time that I spent re-reading selected parts on the return flight. It was that good!

I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. I met unforgettable people, like Jorge the homeless guy, who was wont to leave....shall we say biological reminders of his presence behind. I met evil cops and clueless politicians, completely removed from the people that they are supposed to serve. And yes, I learned about the closed but not forgotten Hunt's Donut shop that was "OPEN 25 HOURS."

I met artist Zara Thrusta, musician Matty Luv, Gay Shame organizer Matthilda and bands like Hickey and 50 Million.

The book deals with the plight of the homeless on the streets of San Francisco (from 1998 to 2003, Erick worked for the Coalition on Homelessness), the war in Iraq and protests to end the war (and one remarkable protest to support the war!), the Punk scene, living in squats, illegal graffiti (which I learned if you make big enough becomes legal!,) holding concerts in laundromats and train short, useful life skills.

Most of all, I met Erick, a great-souled man and wonderful writer. If fo no other reason, I would recommend this book for the prose.

"On the Lower Frequencies" Cover


The stories for "On the Lower Frequencies" are collected from Erick's zine Scam, his street newspaper Turd-Filled Donut and other publications including Nosedive, Rice Harvester, Full Gallop and more. Since I can't seem to get these on home delivery......I do appreciate the collection.

If Hunter Thompson were alive today, he'd be reading this book. Go out and get it, it'll make you want to start the Revolution.

on Sep 02, 2008

Sounds very interesting.  I guess a perspective from the "street" is a good thing to read, probably for everyone.  Maybe it will give people another view that they didn't previously have. 

I'm going to have to pick this up, and maybe a copy for a gift as well. 

Thanks for the review!

on Sep 03, 2008

Being who I am, I dropped Erick Lyle an email and received this response bacK:

"Thanks for the kind words about the book! I appreciate it. Yes, I remember Jon, too, of course.  Its funny that several times on tour lately I found myself reading to parents and their teenage children together. It has been a shock to me that I fins that I tend to identify more these days with the folks! Guess I'm getting up there! If I make it back to A2 any time soon, I'll drop a line!"

"Jon" in the above is my son, sometimes the bass player for the Ann Arbor Punk rock group Boxcars. When Erick came to town (Ann Arbor of A2 for short) he was playing in the band Hickey. Boxcars opened for Hickey at a show. The funny thing is that I didn't know about that connection until after I had read the book.

The word "nice" doesn't begin to describe Erick, but it was really "nice" of him to answer my email.