Wonderland Avenue
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Wonderland Avenue

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,286 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Wonderland Avenue: Tales of Glamour and Excess is the personal memoir of late author and Doors manager Danny Sugerman. In the book, Sugerman recounts his life beginning with his privileged but troubled childhood in Beverly Hills, which he asserts set the stage for his later self-destructive addictions and behavior.

Wonderland Avenue covers the first eight years of Sugerman'...more
Published August 25th 1995 by Abacus (first published February 1989)
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I owe this book some fanmail. It is a wonderland of uncut emotion. Did it make me want to take drugs? Maybe. Right up until the point where it didn't. It made me want to stick to my guns. It made me want to live for something bigger than me. There is nothing abstract about this book. There is no compromise. And that's who Danny is. We get to know and love him through his singleminded pursuit of his rock 'n' roll dream. For him, there just never was another option. How cool is that? How vintage i...more
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After reading Neil Strauss' book "The Dirt" on Motley Crue (terrible band, great book, also set in LA), I thought those guys won the award for excess. However, they were close to 30 before they hit rock bottom (after one particularly nasty incident where Vince Neil drove a motorcycle into a nightclub and had no recollection of it). That incident seems trivial, after all Danny Sugerman was given a week to live at age twenty-one. I would hope that no one would seek to emulate him even if certain p...more
May 28, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 70s glam rock fans
Shelves: rock-sleaze
Danny Sugerman’s book will probably attract Jim Morrison fans for its juicy gossip on the legendary singer, and they won’t be disappointed. Sugerman worked at The Doors business office when the band was at the peak of their career.

Personally I enjoyed the book more when a drugged-out Sugerman managed an even more drugged-out Iggy Pop (if such a task was possible!) during the glitter-era early Seventies. His accounts of the Sunset Strip scene back then are absolutely truthful. I was there and the...more
RB Love
While interesting and chock full of some delicious rock and roll excess stories, not to mention Sugarman's Cameron Crowe-like rise as a publicist as a teenager - Sugarman is also a little annoying and it is all about him. Highlights about Iggy Pop. Ultimately, I remember tossing the hardcover out of the second story window of my bedroom directly into the trash cans in the alleyway when I was done with it.
Danny Sugerman definitely had a very unique writing style. I wouldn't say it's great writing but it feels personal and has a strong voice. This book is Danny Sugerman's memoirs about his drug addiction, which occurred while he worked for The Doors, later becoming their second manager. He was also Iggy Pop's manager. Danny's love for music comes across in his writing but you can see how the drug addiction took over his life. (view spoiler)...more
Danny Sugarman quite simply wrote one of the best books ever about drug addiction. He had a friendship with Jim Morrison in his formative years (and claims to have later had sex with Morrison's widow-which, kind of freaky that.) He also managed the career of Iggy Pop during some of his worst excesses and was friends with people ranging from Ray Manzarek to Mackenzie Phillips. You'll have more sympathy for Mackenzie and her troubles of late, if you don't already, when you read the story of Sugarm...more
An eerie unsettling read. If Brett Easton Ellis' Less than Zero was rewritten as non-fiction, it would come out like this account by the former road manager of The Doors. This book picks it up from Sugerman's earlier biography of Jim Morrison with Jerry Hopkins entitled "No One Gets Out of Here Alive". Sugerman's hero worship of the Lizard King was so intense that he finished his earlier book with a rant about how Morrison might have been some higher kind of divine or diabolical power. Wonderlan...more
Although he is a big part of the Doors' story, it's Sugerman's side of the story that I find more interesting. He started working for the Doors when he was a teenager and ended up as a manager of sorts.

What you get through his eyes is the music and the music business via his eyes. He sucked in the drugs as one sucks in air before they go underwater. Which means he got into drugs way too much, but nevertheless he has one thing that helps - he could write really well. Some parts I just want to hid...more
Bob Schnell
Wow! How is it I have never read this book before? Classic memoir of life in the fast lane with Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop and the whole Hollywood rock & roll scene as major players. Danny Sugerman should not have lived to tell this tale, but he did and it's a whopper of excess in all areas. I laughed out loud in public so often during some chapters I had to stop reading or wet myself. There are painful, sickening chapters as well because a like lived in this manner has to have some consequences...more
I'm giving this book five stars, not because I bonded with the narrator, but because he made me think about drug addiction in a very intense, real way. In truth, I didn't care much for Danny Sugarman, himself--he was wildly self-destructive and selfish--but it was still fascinating to read about his travails, and it was also interesting to learn about the crazy music scene that existed in L.A. in the sixties and seventies. Also, the book has some laugh-out-loud funny moments, and is filled with...more
Mindy Bridgeman
Sep 03, 2012 Mindy Bridgeman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Mindy by: My Husband
This book served to educate me about the perils of excess in the world of showbiz and Hollywood. I have always been a fan of the music from the 60's and 70's so I felt compelled to read this. Sugarmen makes you feel like you were there witnessing this tragic downfall of people who rose to fame quickly. The excessive subtance abuse, makes you feel dirty and scared for the characters in this book. Much like taking drugs, the ride is up and down, but well worth the experience. This is a story that...more
This is certainly a fast-paced memoir. After a while I was getting tired of reading about how doped up the author was and just wanted him to break down and get some help. I felt like the memoir was big on the lead in and light on the aftermath. I understand that not taking junk is probably less interesting to write or read about than taking it was, but it sort of makes the book read more like a glamorization of drugs, even though he vehemently writes about how terrible they are.
I found the writer's bouts of self-aggrandisement in this book irritating, and found myself wondering what the rock stars that he liked to associate himself with honestly thought of him. To summarise, kid gets into drugs, meets rock stars, takes more drugs, goes downhill, meets more rock stars, takes more drugs, nearly dies, cleans up his act, finds a sympathetic publisher. I did enjoy the sections that documented the excesses of Iggy Pop in the 70s though (hence the three stars).
This is by far the best book I have ever read, Once I was done with it, I felt empty because I wanted to keep reading, I felt like I knew Danny, I felt like he was next to me telling me detail by detail, it felt like a movie running through my mind, every word was an image. This book is brilliant, and I have read it more than twice, a must have for everyone who loves the 60's and the 70's. Shine on you,crazy diamonds.
Having been obsessed with Jim Morrison in my high school years, this was a must-read. And even though Morrison is only seldom seen in this memoir, it doesn't matter. The main character is heroin and the journey it takes Mr. Sugerman on. So damn good. Have probably read this 6 times. And have searched the Laurel Canyon area for the specific house on Wonderland Avenue that he writes about.

Just brilliant.
Marlene Thompson
one of my favorites. reads like an action book filled with sex and drugs and rock and roll.. couldnt put it down. read it 3 times..
Rob Dunford
Probably the best book I've ever read
Jim Cherry
Danny Sugerman was your typical precocious twelve year old filled with the enthusiasms and natural extremes of exuberance that comes with youth. His first was wrestling, the second was reptiles, which grew in greater proportions from his bedroom to the backyard; and when there was a flood his menagerie became a neighborhood collection with turtles and snakes being captured blocks away. Then came his parent’s divorce and life took a turn for the worse in the form of his step-father, Clarence, a m...more
The author's purpose for writing this book was to tell people about how certain people/professions can be extremely dangerous. I believe Danny Sugerman wanted to tell people his life story so that others wouldn't go down the exact same path. The theme of the novel was somewhat of a hard thing to pinpoint. Since this book is non fiction, actually it's an autobiography, so that makes finding fictional literary elements somewhat hard. None the less, in my opinion, the theme of "Wonderland Avenue: T...more
In high school, I used to do two things that I simply do not do anymore; listen to the Doors, and drop acid. I dropped acid in high school (during class) a great number of times. I was obsessed. I wanted to soak up every single piece of cheap, 60's counterculture that I could get my hands on that seemed to represent what acid apparently signified to my adolescent, intellectual development. It didn't mean much. Drugs, to this day merely alter what I consider a rather consistent mental state, maki...more
Mislead by the title and by some of the reviews, I bought this book expecting to read about Sugerman getting mixed up with the excesses of The Doors and Iggy Pop while working as their manager. Instead, I got an autobiographic, tedious tale about a junkie who used to know famous musicians.

Readers should be warned that in this sloppily written book, rock'n'roll is relegated to the background. The story is strictly autobiographical about Sugerman, a rich teenager with daddy issues who got obsessed...more
*Back-dating reviews based on snips I find*

While scrolling through Amazon with a gift voucher in tow, this was one of the books I found myself immediately drawn to upon reading its description. Tales of glamour and excess based in Hollywood – that tends to be the kind of thing I go for. I’ve always been relatively interested in the early LA music scene as I’ve always heard so many things about it and, in turn, have always been drawn to the era of true indulgence: the epitome of the cliché sex, d...more
Take Trainspotting and set it in Beverley Hills and you have the descent of a young rich kid into oblivion with a soundtrack by the Doors. It was difficult to feel sympathy for the author. He had it all, and increasingly it all seemed to land in his lap while, for reasons that are still difficult to understand after five hundred pages, he snorted, injected and swallowed his way to the bottom. How low can you go when on drugs? The book paints a pretty horrific picture of how it looks, feels and l...more
The writing style of Sugerman's WONDERLAND AVENUE is dramatically different, and dramatically better, than his co-production NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE. Clearly, OUT ALIVE contains little of Danny's writing. WONDERLAND AVENUE is where we learn about Jim Morrison the mentor. He may not have been a very good mentor, due to his fascination with death and testing the boundaries; but when he takes charge and gently, understandingly guides Danny through a bad acid trip, we see that Danny had good reas...more
This is one of my favorite tales of the excesses & tribulations of working in the rock n roll industry back in the late 60's & 70's. I read this in my teens and became instantly fascinated of Mr. Sugarmen. I've read this book time and time again over the last 20 something years. If you're especially a Doors fan you'll love this book.
It's written from the hip, talky, autobiography, edgy (for the early 90's), and if you've just read Scar Tissue, then you gotta read this.

In a way its very cliche. Another book about being a junkie in the rock biz. At times, I had to shake my head in disgust at its excess. But it's par for the course when you're dealing with the excesses of the 1970's. I had read Daniel Sugarmen's biography of Jim Morrrison in No One Here Gets Out Alive, when I was 17 and into that, so I had always wondered who...more
It's incredible to realize Danny went through as much as he did by age 21; so much so that every few times he drops his current age into the narrative, you sort of balk at it. Been meaning to read this one for ages, and I'm glad I finally made the time for it. It gets incredibly depressing in the final chapters, in the worst of his downward spiral, but it ends on an appropriately hopeful note.
Giovanna Paglino
I don't know why I am stuck at the end of the "second" book. Since Jim Morrison died I find it hard to keep reading. The story is almost boring and repetitive without him because Denny lost that spark that kept him going. I could see myself in him and now that interest is fading. Hope I can make it through the end of the book....
I don't know if I buy that Danny Sugarman became The Doors' inside man at 17 after hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but - hey - that's how I got my job as Jay-Z's on site horticulturalist, so you never know. I've got a Rocawear apron for my clippers and everything. But that's beside the point. 'Wonderland Avenue' does everything a good rock and roll autobiography ought to do and then some by scaring the reader away from extreme behavior with one hand and beckoning the...more
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Daniel Stephen Sugerman (aka Danny) was the second manager of the Los Angeles based rock band The Doors, and wrote several books about Jim Morrison and The Doors.
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