Swim Through the Darkness

By Mike Stax,

Book cover of Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali

Book description

A successful young songwriter in 1960s becomes derailed by LSD and resulting madness.
Craig Smith was a 1960s golden boy – good looking, charismatic, outgoing; a preternaturally gifted musician and songwriter whose songs were recorded by some of the biggest names in entertainment – Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, the Monkees.…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Swim Through the Darkness as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book tells the story of Craig Smith, a musician and songwriter who had a brush with fame in the sixties before developing mental health issues while on the hippie trail in Afghanistan. Thereafter, he adopted an unusual alter ego, Maitreya Kali, under which he recorded two bizarre and now excruciatingly rare albums. Through years of research, author Mike Stax tells the story by patching together court and medical records, interviews with associates, and other shreds of data, even trying to track down Smith, who had been homeless for many years.

This is a sad but captivating work that uncovers…

Mike Stax, editor of the magazine Ugly Things, delivers a gripping and disturbing account of Craig Smith (aka Maitreya Kali), another pop music casualty. Smith, a gifted singer, and songwriter was a backup singer on The Andy Williams Show in the mid-1960s; wrote songs for Williams, Glen Campbell, The Monkees, and others; and self-released two solo albums in the early 1970s. Stax’s narrative focuses on what went wrong in Smith’s life. Most tellingly, he takes us along Smith’s shattering adventure in the late 1960s along the Hippie Trail from Afghanistan to India.

Stax interviews dozens of Smith’s friends, work…

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