Albert, John 1964–
Albert, John 1964–
PERSONAL: Born 1964. Hobbies and other interests: Baseball.
CAREER: Writer, screenwriter, and musician. Christian Death (band), cofounder; Bad Religion (band), former drummer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best of the West Journalism Best Sports Writing Award, 2000, for L.A. Weekly article.
Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.
Also contributor to LA Weekly, Hustler, and BlackBook,
SIDELIGHTS: John Albert was once a musician in Los Angeles, California, playing in the cross-dressing band Christian Death and the punk band Bad Religion. He entered drug rehabilitation in 1985 and left the music business, working instead as a writer and screenwriter. While waiting for his screenwriting career to take off, he joined a recreational baseball team founded by a friend who was also in recovery from drug addiction. The team consisted of numerous former rock musicians, cross-dressers, and even a murderer, most of them tattooed.
Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates, Albert's memoir, describes how the team came together and how baseball proved to be a kind of salvation for team members. The book began as a two-paragraph story about the team that Albert sent to L.A. Weekly magazine. In the book Albert introduces team members one by one, relating anecdotes about their out-of-control drug use, sexual deviancy, and experiences in rehab. Baseball ties all the stories together.
Reviewers praised Wrecking Crew for its honest depiction of addiction and recovery. Vince Darcangelo, writing for the Boulder Weekly, stated that the book "is not another gratuitous, self-serving jaunt into glorified drug use and self-centered awakenings." Darcangelo concluded: "Addiction bats cleanup in this lineup, and Albert's portrayal is as accurate a depiction as you'll find outside of clinical journals." Reviewers also appreciated Albert's skill, noting that the memoir is entertaining and funny without being self-indulgent. John Wilkens, reviewing the book for the San Diego Union-Tribune, observed, "Albert has a straightforward, deadpan style that serves his material well."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albert, John, Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.
Austin Chronicle, August 12, 2005, Mark Fagan, review of Wrecking Crew.
Boulder Weekly, August 11, 2005, Vince Darcangelo, "Punks in the Outfield," review of Wrecking Crew.
San Diego Union-Tribune, August 21, 2005, John Wilkens, "Almost Famous," review of Wrecking Crew.