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The Rock N' Roll Memoir
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keith a
keith a
9123 posts

Re: The Rock N' Roll Memoir
Jan 08, 2017, 23:16
thesweetcheat wrote:
Head On/Repossessed is probably the best one I've read.

Also Viv Albertine's Clothes, Music Boys, which captures the rush of punk as well as the extra difficulties faced by women trying to get somewhere in the music industry.



Yes, those two take some beating. The sections on the early punk scene and The Slits in Albertine's book were obviously going to appeal to me, but there's much more to her story than that. There are times when her openness makes makes for fairly uncomfortable reading, but nonetheless I couldn't put it down. It reallyt is up there with Julian Cope's Head On in the great music autobiographies - it's that good. For those of you into this kind of thing...if you haven't read it yet then you must.

Here are some others I've read in recent years...

Bedsit Disco Queen - Tracy Thorn. This is enjoyable too and I say that as someone who's not a major fan of the music. Obviously, an altogether less rock'n'roll book, but well worth a read.

Life - Keith Richard. This was pretty good once it got to the Stones. The childhood years I found quite annoying. He seemed desperate to make his childhood sound more exciting than it really was.

The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall by former bassist Steve Hanley. Very good it was, too, as Steve outlines the, er, difficulties involved in working with MES for the best part of twenty years. "There's four of us sat here, we're all bigger than him and the only reason we're not fighting back is because we love being in the band. Not because of him. In spite of him" says Steve halfway through the book... Smith's book is obviously well worth reading, too.

New York Rocker: My Life In The Blank Generation by former Blondie bassist, Gary Valentine. Well worth checking out if you're into the New York punk scene or you want to know what it's like to go on tour with a certain Iggy Pop!

Read & Burn (A Book About Wire) - Wilson Neate. It's such a lovely looking book it almost seemed a shame to read it! Anyway, after a shaky start - anyone who says punk was over by the summer of '77 is a trendy revisionist trying too hard IMO (It can't be over before Never Mind The Bollocks has been released!!), but once it got going it was an excellent read. It makes you wonder how they've managed to stay together so long seeing as they (Newman and Gilbert in particular when Bruce was still there) were singing from such different hymnbooks. So if you like Wire and you haven't read this then I can definitely recommend it.

The Thing Is - Dave Fanning. I used to listen to Dave Fanning back in his early days on Irish radio station, RTE, and even though the reception here in North Wales was pretty dire I'd still tune in to hear his mix of old, new and local acts. I'm not saying he was the first person to play Nick Drake on the radio because he clearly wasn't but he was the first I heard play him, because back then no-one else was doing it. Anyway, I've just finished his book, which was pretty good. Admittedly too much of the last part consisted of name-dropping people he'd met which would have been OK if there were interesting anecdotes to accompany this, but too often that wasn't necessarily the case. All the same there was still much else to enjoy from a bloke I've got a lot of time for.

Anger Is An Energy - John Lydon. It might just be me but the photo on the cover of the latest Lydon autobiography looks like a bloke who is trying too hard! And there's numerous occasions in the book where you think this is a man who has long since started to believe his own publicity - a man who will contradict himself sometimes within the space of a few paragraphs. However, for all that, he's a fascinating fella and if you like a good music biog then there's much to entertain you here.

And finally for now...

Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins - Grace Collins
A very moving account of Edwyn's illness and subsequent health battle.
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