Permanent Damage: Memoirs of an Outrageous Girl

Jun 17, 2021

By Frank Valish


Mercy Fontenot, otherwise known as Miss Mercy, began her rise to infamy as a member of the GTO’s. Standing for Girls Together Outrageously, the GTO’s were the brainchild of Frank Zappa and released one album on Zappa’s Straight Records in 1969. But Miss Mercy’s story was much more than a one-off.

In this autobiography, written with Lyndsey Parker and finished by Parker after Mercy’s death in 2020, the outrageous girl herself details her time snuggling up to famous musicians in the ’60s, her marriage to Shuggie Otis, her travels to Memphis to spend time with The Bar-Kays and Al Green, a stint as a punk rock hairdresser…and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

Permanent Damage reads like something of a police blotter. Mercy’s life seems to have been one drug-fueled nightmare after another, and to run through it here in a briskly-paced 200 pages, seems to somehow only scratch the surface. At times feeling like a stream of consciousness screed, Permanent Damage feels dangerous. After spending time homeless and addicted to crack in the ’90s, Mercy pulled her life together and spent her final years working at Goodwill and clinging to her best friend and former GTO’s bandmate Pamela Des Barres. By then it feels she lived a hundred lifetimes, all of them on a razor’s edge.

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Author rating: 7.5/10

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