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New Music Books To Watch Out For (Sex, drugs & rock n’ roll edition!)

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Article by Derek Flynn © 17 July 2017.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

This edition of “New Music Books” is a sex, drugs and rock n’ roll extravaganza. From unknowns to rock legends, the next few months sees a slew of tell-all tales of excess.

A History of Heavy Metal – Andrew O’Neill

The history of heavy metal brings brings us extraordinary stories of larger-than-life characters living to excess, from the household names of Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Iron Maiden and Metallica, to the brutal notoriety of the underground Norwegian black metal scene and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. It is the story of a worldwide network of rabid fans escaping everyday mundanity through music, of cut-throat corporate arseholes ripping off those fans and the bands they worship to line their pockets. The expansive pantheon of heavy metal musicians includes junkies, Satanists and murderers, born-again Christians and teetotallers, stadium-touring billionaires and toilet-circuit journeymen.

Award-winning comedian and life-long heavy metal obsessive Andrew O’Neill takes us on his own very personal and hilarious journey through the history of the music, the subculture, and the characters who shaped this most misunderstood genre of music.

Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen – Noel Monk & Joe Layden

The manager who shepherded Van Halen from obscurity to rock stardom goes behind the scenes to tell the complete, unadulterated story of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, and the legendary band that changed rock music.

Van Halen’s rise in the 1980s was one of the most thrilling the music world had ever seen—their mythos an epic party, a sweaty, sexy, never-ending rock extravaganza. During this unparalleled run of success, debauchery, and drama, no one was closer to the band than Noel Monk. A man who’d worked with some of rock’s biggest and most notorious names, Monk spent seven years with Van Halen, serving first as their tour manger then as their personal manager until 1985, when both he and David Lee Roth exited as controversy, backstabbing, and disappointment consumed the band.

Throughout Van Halen’s meteoric rise and abrupt halt, this confidant, fixer, friend, and promoter saw it all and lived to tell. Now, for the first time, he shares the most outrageous escapades—from their coming of age to their most shocking behavior on the road; from Eddie’s courtship and high profile wedding to Valerie Bertinelli to the incredible drug use which would ultimately lead to everyone’s demise. Sharing never-before-told stories, Monk paints a compelling portrait of Eddie Van Halen, bringing into focus the unique combination of talent, vision, hardship, and naiveté that shaped one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time—and made him and his brother vulnerable to the trappings and failings of fame.

I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie – Pamela Des Barres

Pamela Des Barres was a regular on the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars’ backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s.

Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Jim Morrison, among others. As a member of the GTO’s, a girl group masterminded by Frank Zappa, she was in the thick of the most revolutionary renaissance in the history of modern popular music.

Warm, witty, and sexy, this kiss-and-tell-all stands out as the perfect chronicle of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most thrilling eras, I’m with the Band is widely regarded as a feminist classic and becomes more iconic with every passing year.

Adios, Motherfucker: A Gentleman’s Progress Through Rock and Roll – Michael Ruffino

The Unband emerged from the suburbs of late ’80’s New England and drank, drugged, crashed, and burned their way across the United States until, on the brink of the new century and with the help of their dominatrix manager, a drug-dealing patron bent on revolution, and a willful record executive or two, the band got their Big Break, in a collapsing music industry where boy-band pop ruled and rock music had been declared dead.

In this epic, intoxicated memoir, Unband bassist Michael Ruffino takes readers along on a raucous tear across a surrealistic landscape populated with crack-smoking Girl Scouts, beer-drinking chimps, two-fisted femmes fatales, and murderous headbangers by the horde, while on tour with giants of heavy metal including Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister, Def Leppard, Anthrax, and a veritable Who Was Who of reunited ’80’s hair bands. Adios, Motherfucker is a reader’s all-access pass, a comic odyssey through the netherworld of heavy rock.

High Voltage: The Life of Angus Young – ACDC’s Last Man Standing – Jeff Apter

Angus Young, the co-founder and the last remaining original member of AC/DC, has for more than 40 years been the face, sound and sometimes the exposed backside of the trailblazing rock band.

High Voltage is the first biography to focus exclusively on Angus. It tells of his remarkable rise from working-class Glasgow and Sydney to the biggest stages in the world. The youngest of eight kids, Angus always seemed destined for a life in music, and it was his passion and determination that saw AC/DC become hard rock’s greatest act. Over the years, Angus has endured the devastating death of iconic vocalist Bon Scott, the forced retirement of his brother in arms, Malcolm Young, and more recently the loss from the band of singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd. Yet somehow the little guitar maestro has kept AC/DC not just on the rails, but at the top of the rock pile.


Follow Derek online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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