Music Books to Look Out for in Oct 2016
Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt – Kristin Hersh
First up is a book that’s released this month but somehow passed me by in my last round-up.
“‘Friend, asshole, angel, mutant,’ singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt ‘came along and made us gross and broken people seem … I dunno, cooler, I guess.’ A quadriplegic who could play only simple chords on his guitar, Chesnutt recorded seventeen critically acclaimed albums before his death in 2009 … Kristin Hersh toured with Chesnutt for nearly a decade and they became close friends, bonding over a love of songwriting and mutual struggles with mental health. In Don’t Suck, Don’t Die, she describes many seemingly small moments they shared, their free-ranging conversations, and his tragic death … This intimate memoir is essential reading for anyone interested in the music or the artist.”
I Am Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson
Stories of rock star excess are ten-a-penny, but when it comes to being through the mill, Brian Wilson’s story is hard to top. This should be a fascinating read.
“As co-founder member of the Beach Boys in the 1960s, Wilson created some of the most groundbreaking and timeless popular music ever recorded … Derailed in the 1970s by mental illness, drug use, and the shifting fortunes of the band, Wilson came back again and again over the next few decades, surviving and – finally – thriving. Now, for the first time, he weighs in on the sources of his creative inspiration and on his struggles, the exhilarating highs and the debilitating lows.”
18 and Life on Skid Row – Sebastian Bach
And, speaking of rock star excess …
“In his memoir, Bach recounts lurid tales of excess and debauchery as he toured the world with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Soundgarden, Pantera, Nine Inch Nails and Guns N’ Roses. Filled with backstage photos from his own personal collection, 18 And Life on Skid Row is the story of hitting it big at a young age, and of a band that broke up in its prime. It is the story of a man who achieved his wildest dreams, only to lose his family, and then his home. It is a story of perseverance, of wine, women and song and a man who has made his life on the road and always will. 18 And Life on Skid Row is not your ordinary rock memoir, because Sebastian Bach is not your ordinary rock star.”
Substance: Inside New Order – Peter Hook
Peter Hook – bassist with New Order – has never been one to shy away from voicing his opinions. And given that his relationship with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner has often been a fractious one, this should make for an interesting read.
“Despite their success, [New Order] has always been a collision between the visionary and the volatile, and relationships have often been fraught with tensions. Peter Hook has written a no-holds-barred, comprehensive account of the band’s entire history, packed with outrageous anecdotes and including every set list and tour itinerary and interspersed with ‘geek facts’ of every piece of electronic equipment used to forge the sound that changed the direction of popular music.”
Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark – Tamara Saviano
Guy Clark may not be a name familiar to everyone, but for many fans of folk and country singer-songwriters, he is an icon. His death in May, 2016 makes this a timely release.
“Guy Clark’s poetic mastery has given voice to a vision of life, love, and trouble that has resonated not only with fans of Americana music, but also with the prominent artists – including Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others – who have recorded and performed Clark’s music … Part memoir, part biography, Saviano’s skillfully constructed narrative weaves together the extraordinary songs, larger-than-life characters, previously untold stories, and riveting emotions that make up the life of this modern-day poet and troubadour.”
Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03