Author Topic: Band Biographies  (Read 28685 times)

buzby

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #120 on: May 14, 2019, 12:00:34 AM »
Went to see Stephen Morris' book tour in Liverpool tonight being interviewed by Dave Haslam and then open to questions from the floor. I've said it before, but he really is one of the wittiest and most avuncular people in the music business.

Just started on my (signed) copy of Record Play Pause (I'm about 4 chapters in). It seems to be a book of two halves - the first half covers his family, childhood and growing up in Macclesfield. The second half covers his joining Warsaw and the Joy Division period of his career. It's very much in the storytelling format, rather than the 'trainspotter' gig-by-gig listings and track-by-track analysis of Hook's books (at least some of which I'm sure was crowdsourced), but it's none the worse for it as Morris writes in a very witty, easy-to-read style.

The book features this postcard he sent to Gillian while Joy Division were touring Benelux in January 1980 and Haslam asked him to read it out (Gillian was sat at the back of the room):

"Things are getting a bit silly generally speaking - PA problems, getting out of bed etc. But I am confident things will get worse"

Here's an interview he did with Liverpool listings website Getintothis in advance of the event. There's another recent interview publicising the book where he discusses his gear through the years (and mentions the drumkit that was stolen in New York that was recovered years later).

buzby

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #121 on: May 30, 2019, 11:26:10 PM »
iIve finished Record Play Pause now, and I'd say it's my favourite of the three members books. It does sort of sit right in the middle of the Hook and Sumner books - the first half is mostly concerned with Steve's early life and childhood, growing up in Macclesfield, so it's in a similar vein to Sumner's Chapter and Verse in that respect. The second half concerns his early experiences at drumming in bands, then joining Warsaw as they were then and covers the period up until Ian's death, their morphing into New Order and their 1981 mini-tour of the US (the second volume will presumably cover Gillian joining the band onwards).

The second half is more similar to Hook's Joy Division book, with tales of their gigs, recording sessions, working methods and the Ian that he knew and was friends with (he does point out that it became clear that Ian was a different person to everybody he met, and usually told people what they wanted to hear). It's not an in-depth chronology or history of Joy Division, instead concentrating on certain key events and periods in their careers and lives. When he talks about gear and studio sessions there's none of those awful 'Geek Alert' footnotes that Hook put in his books either (I like technical stuff as much as anyone, but those panels in Hook's book were a little on the patronising side)

The main thing about it is that it's written very clearly in his own voice, which f you have read or seen any interviews with him is laced with a very dry sense of humour (which is usually deployed in a self-deprecating manner) and he's also very honest about his life and things he's done that' he's not particularly proud of (which usually involve drugs of some description - even up to the end of the book in 1981 it's slightly amazing that he's still relatively normal given his adventures with pharmaceuticals starting long before he joined the band). Gillian doesn't feature  that much in this book, but when she is mentioned we get a very touching picture of the early days of their relationship.

He is also very complimentary of both Hook and Sumner's talents (even though a lot of the time he is the victim of their japes or jokes), which makes a refreshing change, particularly from Hook's book. This may be because he seems to have started writing in the hotel during their appearance at the 2005 Fuji Rock Festival, so that may or may not change in the second volume.

For a JD/NO obsessive like me there's ot all that much that's new or revelatory. We do get to hear from the horses mouth about his expulsion from King's Grammar, and one thing I don't remember hearing before is what the numbers mean in their early song Warsaw, where they came from, and how they relate to Bernard's infamous outburst that was captured on the 'Short Circuit' Electric Circus album. There's also the tale of the creation of As You Said (a.k.a. 'The Worst Song Joy Division Ever Wrote') which is prescient of how electronics would play a much more important part in the future incarnation of the band. It's nice to hear another perspective on the events though, and his writing style is very readable and entertaining.  Roll on Volume 2 nest year.

4 out of 5 packets of John Player's No.6.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #122 on: May 31, 2019, 10:58:56 AM »
Went to see Stephen Morris' book tour in Liverpool tonight ...

Ooh, this sounds good.

... being interviewed by Dave Haslam

Oh shit.


Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #123 on: May 31, 2019, 11:02:16 AM »
Steve Morris has always seemed the most amiable member of JD/NO. He did a brief Q/A with Hooky after a screening of the Joy Division documentary* at the Lowry way back in 2007 and came across very well with a decent sense of comic timing too. Good review, Buzby - still kicking myself for missing out on his talk at the Dancehouse in Manchester.

*Due to a protracted series of circumstances, I was sat behind Hooky and his mam, next to Wilson's first wife and in front of Alan Hempsall from Crispy Ambulence. Morris was asked what his favourite fruit was, and replied "I've always been partial to a melon".

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #124 on: May 31, 2019, 11:40:43 AM »
FUN FACT: Pub Landlord Al Murray* makes Morris's drums.


*  's company

imitationleather

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #125 on: May 31, 2019, 04:39:10 PM »
Interesting review buzby. I've always wanted a Morris autobiography as I've found him the funniest and probably cleverest member. The books published so far have probably reflected the personality of those writing them quite well, which hasn't always been a positive thing. While I liked the parts about growing up in Sumner's book, I was just mystified by how superficial it was once he got to actually being in the bands. He surely has a goldmine of stuff to write about, but the entire thing seemed to hang on a few anecdotes about him having stomach complaints. Hooky's books, of course, just get increasingly and suffocatingly bitter.

Shall definitely be picking Morris's up.

Blue Jam

  • From the mind of Ricky Gervais
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #126 on: June 15, 2019, 03:56:27 PM »
I've been meaning to read Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell for ages. Apparently it's all made-up bullshit, but highly entertaining made-up bullshit. Would it be good holiday reading?

iamcoop

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #127 on: July 02, 2019, 12:12:09 PM »
I've been meaning to read Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell for ages. Apparently it's all made-up bullshit, but highly entertaining made-up bullshit. Would it be good holiday reading?

I haven’t read it for years but my overriding memory of it is that the first half of the book where he discusses his upbringing and high school years is excellent. Manson is clearly very intelligent and actually started his career trying to get into journalism so he has decent writing chops. The stuff about the relationship he has with his grandparents in particular is pretty disturbing and bleak.

The second half of the book that chronicles his rockstar days just descends into your typical salacious drug taking and groupie-fucking stuff which I probably enjoyed as a 15 year old but would now find extremely tiresome.

It came out a year before Columbine happened so I would be interested in another volume from him that really goes into detail about how that affected him and all the baggage that came along with it but I’d suggest that’s extremely unlikely.

But yeah, it would probably make a fine holiday book given it’s mostly very entertaining and you can burn through it in a couple of days.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #128 on: July 21, 2019, 11:18:00 AM »
My copy of Spirit of Talk Talk arrived yesterday and while it was lovely to see rare pictures of Mark Hollis smiling, it seemed a bit light.  The new preface by Simon Brenner and the section devoted to James Marsh's artwork were frustrating only because they gave me hope that more wonderful behind-the-scenes details may be unearthed by others, but I may end reading up the bits about the Talk Talk sessions in Phill Brown's book more often than this book.  It is nicely put together and at least it seemed that Hollis was very humble and gracious about the previous editions.

The Lol Tolhurst book mentioned on the last page was fascinating, but only up until 82-83 before becoming an endless scroll of "recorded an album, got fucked up, went on tour, got fucked up."  The chapters about growing up in Crawley, getting some kip in the mental hospital's vegetable patch and all the early years were great.  Despite what someone said about wishing this book was written when Lol and Bob were still enemies, I am glad that Lmao Tolhurst wrote it later because I was cringing throughout the chapters regarding the lawsuit.

My Damage by Keith Morris was the best read out of them all.  He was the best Black Flag vocalist (IMO) and while I'm not keen on listening to the Circle Jerks, the Off! stuff is great and he always struck me as someone who was a natural storyteller.  He admits that he was a coked-up piss artist up until his mid 30s, but he's gained a lot of humility and he's not afraid to combine bleak shit with funny shit throughout.  Recommended.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #129 on: October 08, 2019, 11:50:08 AM »
Mmmmmm yes please

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/new-vu-book-i-met-myself-in-a-dream-thats-the-story-of-the-third-album.888894/

£80 for a book at the moment though might be a bit much for me unfortunately.

Blue Jam

  • From the mind of Ricky Gervais
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #130 on: October 24, 2019, 05:49:13 PM »
Just finished Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell. I had been intending to make it my holiday reading for ages and just ended up being really disappointed. My problem with it is that I find people talking about their drug experiences almost as boring as people talking about their dreams, and this book has two much of both. I may as well have read Simon Amstell's autobiography again.

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #131 on: October 24, 2019, 08:30:40 PM »
Just finished Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell. I had been intending to make it my holiday reading for ages and just ended up being really disappointed. My problem with it is that I find people talking about their drug experiences almost as boring as people talking about their dreams, and this book has two much of both. I may as well have read Simon Amstell's autobiography again.

mmm.
jeff beck, followed by elton john here. the former was a bio by someone clearly a fan, but it persuaded me to drop a ten-spot on a set of five of JB's later albums just out of curiosity & it-would-be-rude-not-to-ness. the latter... I can't decide if I like old reg any more or less than I did before, but he's reasonably honest & reasonably articulate. I'll have to see what I think of the film. I need to dig around in his works beyond the chart-bothering stuff too. some of it was quite good.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #132 on: October 24, 2019, 09:00:13 PM »
Does Alice Cooper's manager count? "They Call Me Supermensch" by Shep Gordon.

It's occasionally interesting, but he credits dumb luck a little too often, for someone who was as successful as he was. Presumably he didn't just accidentally become friends with lots of super-powerful people? "Sell drugs to musicians and you might become incredibly wealthy and famous", seems to be the takeaway.

Even though it was written in 2015, it feels far older in some of its attitudes. He references originating the "no head, no backstage pass" t-shirt, and indicates it was a completely reasonable transaction; then, when he talks about hiring his PA, says that giving him regular head was an important part of the job and it was a normal thing to bring up in an interview. And this is the book after it went through editors, legal people, all that. Lord knows what the first draft was like.




Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #133 on: October 25, 2019, 12:15:33 AM »
Does Alice Cooper's manager count? "They Call Me Supermensch" by Shep Gordon.

It's occasionally interesting, but he credits dumb luck a little too often, for someone who was as successful as he was. Presumably he didn't just accidentally become friends with lots of super-powerful people? "Sell drugs to musicians and you might become incredibly wealthy and famous", seems to be the takeaway.

Even though it was written in 2015, it feels far older in some of its attitudes. He references originating the "no head, no backstage pass" t-shirt, and indicates it was a completely reasonable transaction; then, when he talks about hiring his PA, says that giving him regular head was an important part of the job and it was a normal thing to bring up in an interview. And this is the book after it went through editors, legal people, all that. Lord knows what the first draft was like.

Bloody hell. Have you seen the documentary Mike Myers made about Gordon? There's no mention of any of that stuff, it depicts him as a thoroughly top bloke.

Myers presumably knew all about Gordon's seedier side, but opted to ignore it. His nice little film about a seemingly affable, generous showbiz agent wouldn't really work if it contained the revelation that dear old Shep was an unrepentant sexual predator. What a con.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #134 on: March 30, 2020, 07:59:23 PM »
I've just read a biography of The Beatles (Liverpool band, did quite well).  It's actually managed to find a new perspective on the story.  It's called Riding So High by Joe Goodden and is about the band members' history with drugs.  Pills, LSD, heroin, cannabis, etc: each gets its own chapter which means that the chronology is a little ragged but that doesn't matter: it's certainly not a tome that someone new to the band would check out first.

It is self-published, has no index and seems to contain no primary research: three large red flags.  But for all that it is a thoroughly worthwhile read and leaves you with a more coherent view of the band's history than a lot of more conventional accounts.

I found it odd that the Fabs didn't seem to experiment with psilocybin: just one brief mention of mushrooms in the whole book.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 08:16:01 PM by Keebleman »

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #135 on: March 30, 2020, 08:40:21 PM »
Bloody hell. Have you seen the documentary Mike Myers made about Gordon? There's no mention of any of that stuff, it depicts him as a thoroughly top bloke.

Myers presumably knew all about Gordon's seedier side, but opted to ignore it. His nice little film about a seemingly affable, generous showbiz agent wouldn't really work if it contained the revelation that dear old Shep was an unrepentant sexual predator. What a con.
I was going to watch it when I started reading the book, but by the end I'd sort of lost interest.

I just looked at a few articles and reviews from when the movie came out and you're right, there's not a mention of anything even remotely unsavoury in there. I feel like if the movie had come out a few years later, it would have been pilloried, by the words from the man's own mouth. He got extremely lucky with his timing, I think.

dr beat

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #136 on: April 11, 2020, 02:03:25 PM »
Steve Hanley's 'The Big Midweek' is a treasure trove of stories about touring with The Fall and Mark E Smith's...complicated behaviour.



Cheers for the recommendation, I'm about half way through this and its a great read.  Favourite bit so far is MES and Hanley meeting Marc Riley for a peace meeting after the latter has left the Fall, and Riley intimidating MES with a tarantula and a python like some Mancunian council Bond villain.

Egyptian Feast

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #137 on: April 11, 2020, 09:45:10 PM »
Quite tempted to read 'The Big Midweek' again. One of the very best band books.

I just finished George Clinton's autobiography with the very long title. A very entertaining read, with some nice insights into his relationship with his crack buddy Sly Stone. He focuses more on the music than the sex and drugs, though there are a few spicy anecdotes, like Sly blowing up his bathroom when freebasing or the time Funkadelic took a shortcut and got freaked out driving through what turned out to be the set of Night Of The Living Dead.

I also read a Sly Stone bio 'I Want To Take You Higher', which was an interesting but slight read. It felt that a lot of the story was skimmed over, perhaps through lack of available info. He's a slippery guy, Sly.

Pingers

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #138 on: April 12, 2020, 10:51:30 PM »
Cheers for the recommendation, I'm about half way through this and its a great read.  Favourite bit so far is MES and Hanley meeting Marc Riley for a peace meeting after the latter has left the Fall, and Riley intimidating MES with a tarantula and a python like some Mancunian council Bond villain.

Absolutely spunks all over MES's effort, it must be said. Definitely in the canon of band biogs

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • My head really was bulbous.
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #139 on: April 13, 2020, 10:23:42 AM »
Absolutely spunks all over MES's effort, it must be said. Definitely in the canon of band biogs

Agreed. MES' effort is dire stuff, not helped by him spending a hefty portion of the book at the start slagging off the youth club incarnation of The Fall that'd  left him at that point, and a grand total of about three pages on all other versions of The Fall throughout the entire tome. I can just see him working his way through a big carrier bag full of cans of Holsten Pills, dictating his speed- addled memories to an increasingly weary ghost writer. Steve Hanley's book is a much more compelling read, but It's quite dispiriting to see his antipathy of a man he once looked up to coming through ( amongst his dedications at the end of the book is " To Mark E. Smith, for life lessons taught" , which clearly , from the preceding prose beforehand, means " don't act the cunt, the way he did.")

Artie Fufkin

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #140 on: April 14, 2020, 12:34:38 PM »
I recently finished David Shepard's Brian Eno biography 'On Some Far Away Beach' which was mostly excellent. So well written.
However;
Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. And then he made a couple of albums with U2 and Coldplay. Byeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #141 on: April 14, 2020, 12:43:38 PM »
I recently finished David Shepard's Brian Eno biography 'On Some Far Away Beach' which was mostly excellent. So well written.
However;
Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. Very detailed. And then he made a couple of albums with U2 and Coldplay. Byeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Just the way I'd want it. Must read that.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #142 on: April 14, 2020, 02:10:24 PM »
Just the way I'd want it. Must read that.
Well, quite. Yes, well worth your time. It took me almost 2 months to get through it, not that it was anything like a chore.

dr beat

  • You're dealing with loved ones, I won't have it
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #143 on: April 16, 2020, 12:22:18 AM »
Just found out that Ian Hunters Diary of a Rock and Roll Star, much acclaimed but formerly difficult to track down, was reissued a couple of years ago and there is a Kindle edition too.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 12:50:49 AM by dr beat »

Artie Fufkin

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #144 on: April 16, 2020, 09:07:59 AM »
Just found out that Ian Hunters Diary of a Rock and Roll Star, much acclaimed but formerly difficult to track down, was reissued a couple of years ago and there is a Kindle edition too.
Quite expensive, though. It's on my wish list. I can wait, Amazon. Oh yes. I can wait.

dr beat

  • You're dealing with loved ones, I won't have it
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #145 on: April 16, 2020, 12:45:14 PM »
Blackwells are selling the reprint for £12.99 currently.  I got the Kindle version for £10.55, which is pricey but still better compared to some of the prices for the first edition, which is currently going for £144 (!!)

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #146 on: April 18, 2020, 12:57:26 AM »
Bloody hell. Have you seen the documentary Mike Myers made about Gordon? There's no mention of any of that stuff, it depicts him as a thoroughly top bloke.

Myers presumably knew all about Gordon's seedier side, but opted to ignore it. His nice little film about a seemingly affable, generous showbiz agent wouldn't really work if it contained the revelation that dear old Shep was an unrepentant sexual predator. What a con.

There's a small but memorable moment in the film where Shep is describing what his role was and he lists one of his duties as "getting the underage girls out of the band's dressing rooms quickly so they don't get in trouble with the cops" and Myers interjects with "...and because it's wrong" and they both kind of laugh it off

Captain Crunch

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #147 on: May 09, 2020, 02:33:52 PM »
Yeah I'll throw in my customary +1 to this as it's a great book, and I'll vouch for him being a top geezer as he was my mum's lodger for a few years of my childhood.  I actually have a bow that he made for me when I was a kid upstairs somewhere that's similar to the one he mentions in the book.

I enjoyed very much Will Carruther's Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands.  About him rather than the bands and music, but there's still a lot about Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and J Spaceman and Sonic Boom.  I tore through it in about 4 hours.
Yeah I'll throw in my customary +1 to this as it's a great book, and I'll vouch for him being a top geezer as he was my mum's lodger for a few years of my childhood.  I actually have a bow that he made for me when I was a kid upstairs somewhere that's similar to the one he mentions in the book.
 

Thirded there.  I went to see him talk about the book and then it turned up in the library.  More like an interesting bloke talking about his life than a music biography. 

I recently read Viv Albertine’s Clothes, Music, Boys.  The first half quite interesting, overly namedropping and she does come across as a very selfish and flaky person but interesting and funny in parts.  The second half is not really worth bothering with, you might as well read mumsnet. 

A better bet is Drugs Are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir by Lisa Crystal Carver.  It’s much more self-aware, it has the frankness and openness Viv Albertine failed to achieve and better attention to detail. 



Jockice

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #148 on: May 09, 2020, 03:17:53 PM »
Yeah I'll throw in my customary +1 to this as it's a great book, and I'll vouch for him being a top geezer as he was my mum's lodger for a few years of my childhood.  I actually have a bow that he made for me when I was a kid upstairs somewhere that's similar to the one he mentions in the book.


I recently read Viv Albertine’s Clothes, Music, Boys.  The first half quite interesting, overly namedropping and she does come across as a very selfish and flaky person but interesting and funny in parts.  The second half is not really worth bothering with, you might as well read mumsnet. 


I'm glad someone agrees with me about this one. I don't think I even finished it. Like The Slits in general I suppose, I prefer the idea to the reality.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #149 on: May 19, 2020, 11:35:59 PM »
How about Simon Price’s Everything about the Manics. It’s interesting about their upbringing in Blackwood amid the miner strikes, and has some fascinating chapters about poor, clever Richey Edwards. It’s a passionate, overly ideological, somewhat pretentious book (which is, you know, fitting).

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