This part of his story could’ve been straight out of Susan Orlean’s The Library Book:
Beck stopped attending school when it grew too dangerous….. He started taking the bus downtown each day, to the Central Library. There was an entire room of musical scores, so he taught himself how to read music…. In 1986, when Beck was fifteen, the Central Library caught fire. “Probably the saddest day of my childhood was watching the downtown library burn down,” he said. “That was the moment I thought, I have to leave L.A.—I have nothing here. It was the only place that I could go. I didn’t even have money to go to a coffee shop. I was supposed to be in school.”
Interesting to compare Beck’s childhood to a much younger musician who grew up in Los Angeles outside of school: At home with Finneas.