In April 2016 I’m off to sit on a panel at the inaugural Rock and Roll Writers Festival in Brisbane. What a shazam of an idea, hey? Bringing rock and writing into the same conversation.
Today I’m looking back at the rocking books that made an impact. First up there’s mine, One Way or Another (see the link above)….my little groupie romp through the eighties with bad hair, fluorescent make-up and shoulder pads….oh and a few boys from the band as notches on the bed post. Being published made a huge impact on me so I had to start there.
Some rock memoirs are just self-indulgent dribble. The plots tend to run the predictable track of wannabe muso….slugging it out in seedy dives…..makes it big….drugs and groupies and more drugs and groupies…..disease, addiction, shady managers ripping them off….sobriety, spiritual enlightenment….and then it’s all about the music again.
While often predictable, some stories do manage to dig out more emotion and shine the torch a little brighter on more unusual aspects of the tired old journey. Some even sparkle.
HIGH FIDELITY by Nick Hornby
“In Bruce Springsteen songs, you can either stay and rot, or you can escape and burn … but nobody ever writes about how it is possible to escape and rot … That’s what happened to me; that’s what happens to most people,” says loser record store owner, Rob.
CHERRY BOMB by Jenny Valentish
“There will be more photographs of me in existence than the prime minister, the leader of the opposition and any visiting dignitaries put together….” says Nina Dall, the narcissistic founder of girl band The Dolls.
NON FICTION FAVES
ROTTEN: NO IRISH, NO BLACK, NO DOGS by John Lydon
“A lot of people feel the Sex Pistols were just negative,” he says. “I agree, and what the fuck is wrong with that? Sometimes the absolute most positive thing you can be in a boring society is completely negative.”
CRAZY FROM THE HEAT by David Lee Roth
”What I represent is attitude, point of view. What I represent is some sort of spiritual neighborhood. If you hate me then you hate your most favorite parts about yourself. Ozzy is the Prince of Darkness and I’m the Patron Saint of Larceny. Who would you rather be?” says the king of crazy. Neither thanks, Dave.
So looking forward to the festival, the festival, the festival. Buy a ticket, go along and I’ll see you there.