July 25, 2005 12:00 PM

by Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman is rock and roll’s Rain Man, a trivia-spewing wit who in his third nonfiction book roams the country investigating the sites of rock’s famous deaths and discovering…well, not much. Of the Macon, Ga., intersection where both Duane Allman and bandmate Berry Oakley died in separate motorcycle accidents, for instance, Klosterman finds, “it’s just a main road…. The power lines are slung low, kind of like the way Cliff Burton of Metallica used to wear his bass.” What makes this tragical history tour such fun is the journey between Klosterman’s ears: the women on his brain (“Nothing makes me love Diane as much as her constant rejection of my heartfelt advances”), his crazily compelling theories (he says the Radiohead album Kid A accidentally predicted 9/11), his intriguing asides (his take on Sid Vicious, who allegedly killed his lover Nancy Spungen at New York City’s Chelsea Hotel before later OD’ing: “He met a terrible person and decided his love for her was so intense that she needed to die”).

Not all of the book’s tales are quite believable (85% of a True Story, as Killing is subtitled, seems a generous estimate), which is one reason why Klosterman is like the new Hunter S. Thompson. Only it’s as if Hunter were obsessed with KISS instead of Nixon.

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