The Rice Room - Ben Fong-Torres
The Rice Room - Updated and Expanded
By Ben Fong-Torres
University of California Press
This autobiography was first published in 1994, Fong-Torres has updated it and added pictures of the astounding ride he’s had as the son of Chinese immigrants; growing up in the back room of a restaurant to the pinnacle of rock journalism. Fong-Torres was there in 1968 as Rolling Stone took off in its quest to chronicle the rising youth movement. Through days spent as a deejay at Cal State, we see him through a fog of pot smoke freelancing at RS and chatting up Janis Joplin on the phone. There is also his heartbreaking take on the still unsolved murder of his brother Barry, in Chinatown. Those looking for debauchery or dirt on Jann Wenner are directed to Robert Draper’s Rolling Stone Magazine- The Uncensored History, you won’t find it here. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot of rock and roll involved, more a clear-eyed glance back at the former RS Senior Editor’s life. As such, Fong-Torres’ story of his battles with tradition and a (seemingly endless) search for love amidst the turbulence of the late sixties and early seventies, are the very human struggles the rest of us can relate to.