Author Topic: Band Biographies  (Read 9398 times)

smudge1971

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2017, 10:07:08 AM »
Meet Me In The Bathroom, an oral history of the NY scene either side of the millenium, is a good story if only for proving what an absolute piece of shitty sweetcorn Ryan Adams is.

I love a good oral history. John Robb's ones on Punk and the Manchester scene are really interesting as are Simon Reynolds' ones on Post-Punk

Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2017, 11:13:12 AM »
Yeah, Meet Me In The Bathroom is a great read - I started a thread about it a few months back here.

I'm another who likes a good oral history. Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me is an excellent read, though the subtitle should be 'The Uncensored Oral History Of American Punk', as anyone hoping for stories about the Pistols and The Clash is going to be underwhelmed - I mean, they feature in there, but only as an offshoot of the American scene.

Paul Gorman's In Their Own Write is worth tracking down, an oral history of music journalism from the '50s onwards, concentrating heavily on the glory days of the NME and Melody Maker in the '70s and the explosion of monthlies in the '80s. Most of the big names are interviewed, though I have a feeling that Nick Kent might not be (though his own Apathy For The Devil is a cracking read.)

Another great one came out towards the end of last year, Walls Come Tumbling Down by Daniel Rachel, on the Rock Against Racism/Two-Tone/Red Wedge stories. I started yet another thread on that one here!

And not strictly music, though it does feature heavily, Jonathan Green's Days In The Life is a fantastic oral history of the underground scenes of the late sixties and seventies. Was originally published about 25 years ago, but is still in print!

smudge1971

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2017, 11:33:14 AM »
Good stuff, Serge. I have In Their Own Write somewhere but can't locate it. I thought I'd have a look on Amazon and get another cheap copy. £50 or so!

Walls Come Tumbling Down is on my Christmas list. I did enjoy Please Kill Me for the most part. I'll look into the others. Thanks for recommending them 👍🏼

Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2017, 12:58:19 PM »
There do seem to be two listings for In Their Own Write on Amazon - though you're still looking at upwards of a tenner for the other one. Weirdly, I think it was a book that ended up being remaindered - I'm pretty sure I picked it up cheap in my days working in remainder bookshops.

Rizla

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2017, 01:15:10 PM »
A great Band biography (!) is This Wheel's On Fire by Levon Helm, particularly the stuff about touring america and canada in the 50s/early 60s with Ronnie Hawkins in a couple of big caddilacs.

Black Monk Time by Eddie Shaw is superb too, if you can find a copy - I'm assuming it's out of print cos I can't see a copy for sale online for less than 30 quid.

newbridge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2017, 05:58:12 PM »
Yeah, Meet Me In The Bathroom is a great read - I started a thread about it a few months back here.

I read the Vulture excerpt linked in there. What a pile of twats (except for Beck and Jack White). Real art/underground/the Clash? Sirs, you were a less musically competent, less commercially viable version of The Killers (who, by the way, still have a certain level of cultural relevance fifteen years later)

manticore

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2017, 04:59:29 PM »
Yeah, Meet Me In The Bathroom is a great read - I started a thread about it a few months back here.
And not strictly music, though it does feature heavily, Jonathan Green's Days In The Life is a fantastic oral history of the underground scenes of the late sixties and seventies. Was originally published about 25 years ago, but is still in print!

I'm reading this at the moment, and it is absolutely fascinating - a view into a whole other world. On the music side I had no idea about Paul McCartney's involvement in the 'underground' from 1966 - he supported and helped the setting up of a radical bookshop and IT magazine for instance. Marc Bolan doesn't appear in a good light, but Syd Barrett and Hendrix seem lovely. The amound of spiking that went on on the hippie scene! I would have been terrified to be a part of it. There's a good story about Graham Chapman buying six nun's habits for Gay Liberation Front saboteurs at a Festival of Light meeting. The accounts of Paris May '68 are particularly interesting.

Ray Travez

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2017, 08:44:02 PM »
I suspect he meant 'out of date', as in, Ryder has sone a lot of stuff since 'Hallelujah' that would make it into a biography. It's possible it even predates his 'I'm A Celebrity' appearance, but don't quote me on that.

Yeah, I googled it, and it’s from 2003… and that is what I meant, yes! It’s not so much a biography as an extended interview if I recall, so obviously relates mostly to that time. Fun though.

Seconding Please Kill Me. A great read if you’re into that scene.

Black Ship

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2017, 12:37:37 AM »
Mark Sturdy's Pulp biography Truth and Beauty is really thorough, and not one to blow my own trumpet but I do get an small mention on the acknowledgement page. We had hoped he'd do an amendment after the reunion, but nothing really came of that.

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #39 on: December 08, 2017, 01:37:23 AM »
Anything by Mick Wall.

Superb writer, diligent researcher and painstaking marshaller of information that has never come to light before. His books may be a helluva long time in the writing, but are so worth the wait.

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #40 on: December 08, 2017, 01:56:57 AM »
But seriously... the hookers-and-overdoses rock biographies can make good reading, but at the end of them I'm often left wondering how much of it is misremembered or simply invented bullshit, and wouldn't I have saved time by reading a similar 10-page feature about the band in Classic Rock magazine?

The aforementioned Jonathon Green book is very good. I seem to remember finding out about it via a Word Magazine podcast on which he was a guest, when I only knew him as the author of dictionaries of slang. If you enjoyed that, it's worth checking out Barry Miles's books on the 1960s and 70s too.

Jockice

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2017, 01:15:43 PM »
Mark Sturdy's Pulp biography Truth and Beauty is really thorough, and not one to blow my own trumpet but I do get an small mention on the acknowledgement page. We had hoped he'd do an amendment after the reunion, but nothing really came of that.

Never heard of him. Or them.

imitationleather

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2017, 10:47:15 AM »
Both Peter Hook's and Bernard Sumner's books about New Order are disappointing in their own way. Maybe when they're very old and have buried the hatchet a bit (if that ever happens) there will be a decent tome about their time in the band to come out, but their hatred for each other completely takes over both and makes them quite unpleasant and exhausting to read.

Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2017, 11:48:47 AM »
They should have done what Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 did - a combined book with separate ghostwriters. Actually, it would have been great if they'd done it that way - have Hooky write a chapter and let Bernard see it and spend his next chapter refuting it, and so on and so forth. Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert seem a lot more level-headed, I'd almost certainly rather read their take on it.

smudge1971

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2017, 12:15:01 PM »
I preferred them both when they didn't do interviews and maintained some mystery. It was Rob Gretton who told them to not speak to the media because he knew full well they were arseholes. Since he died the music has been devalued by that mardy arsed prick Hooky papping off and Barney doesn't do himself favours.

Memoirs I'd Like To Forage (MILFs)

Howard Devoto
Andy Partridge
Mani
Will Sergeant (a life with McCulloch)
Paul Heaton
Jon Langford
The Reynolds Girls

Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2017, 02:46:28 PM »
Memoirs I'd Like To Forage (MILFs)

Andy Partridge

I presume you've read Complicated Game, the book of interviews with Partridge? Sadly, I suspect that may be as close as you're going to get.

I wish David Byrne had written a proper memoir about Talking Heads - the snippets about them in How Music Works were by far the best parts of an otherwise dull book.


smudge1971

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2017, 11:06:29 AM »
I have, yes and suspect you are correct. Piecing that together with the Song Stories book, his chapter in Isle Of Noises, Chalkhills and Children and that Sky Arts doc is probably enough for us, but I just think that he is hilarious and a true genius.

buzby

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2017, 02:04:44 PM »
They should have done what Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 did - a combined book with separate ghostwriters. Actually, it would have been great if they'd done it that way - have Hooky write a chapter and let Bernard see it and spend his next chapter refuting it, and so on and so forth. Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert seem a lot more level-headed, I'd almost certainly rather read their take on it.
Stephen's working on his book with Andreas Campomar. It's due out sometime next year. It's not going to be a straightforward rock biography style book though.

David Nolan wrote a semi-unauthorised biography of Sumner (Bernard Sumner: Confusion - Joy Division, Electronic and New Order Versus the World), and then sent it to him for comments, which were then included inline. Nolan had interviewed Terry Mason (an old school friend of Sumner and Hook who went on to be Warsaw/Stiff Kittens' first drummer, then their manager and eventually road manager until he was fired in 1989). A lot of his contributions drew Bernard's ire in particular.

As for Bernard's own autobiography, I don't recall him spending that much time dissing Hook, other than some mentions in the last couple of chapters where he describes the period before and after Hook flounced. It mostly features on his early life growing up in Salford (while still maintaining a degree of privacy about his private life that he's renowned for). A lot of people didn't like it due to the lack of historical detail about the recording process, gigs and so on, but that's missing the point I think as he wrote about himself, not as a history of Joy Division and New Order.

Hooks' books are better on those aspects (the bits he can remember, anyway) though there is the constant sniping at Sumner (and Gilbert in the New Order tome) throughout and a general impression of "which was my idea"/"of course, I had the last laugh" about them.

Mike Butterworth's Blue Monday diaries is a decent contemporary account of the Britannia Row sessions for Power Corruption & Lies (based on a rare occasion an outser was let in to observe them at work). though even at only 192 pages it does suffer from some padding.



Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2017, 09:33:26 PM »
Stephen Morris is one of the nicest men I've ever met. Though to be fair, Hooky was fairly pleasant when I met him, which was a shame, as I don't have any 'Hooky is an arsehole' stories.

The Bernard Sumner autobiography has one of the lamest quotes of all time on the cover - Irvine Welsh saying, "A must for all Joy Division and New Order fans." No shit, Irv.

manticore

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2017, 10:52:34 PM »
Stephen Morris is one of the nicest men I've ever met. Though to be fair, Hooky was fairly pleasant when I met him, which was a shame, as I don't have any 'Hooky is an arsehole' stories.

That's interesting, because his odd smile when talking about very sad things always put me off him. Maybe that's just the way his face goes.

gilbertharding

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2017, 04:39:03 PM »
It was a bit rum, the way all the stuff about him and Caroline Aherne came out, and was then condemned.

stunted

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2017, 07:42:19 PM »
Has anyone read Cosey Fanni Tutti's Art Sex Music? Was thinking of getting it but it's over 500 pages long

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2017, 09:25:07 PM »
Has anyone read Cosey Fanni Tutti's Art Sex Music? Was thinking of getting it but it's over 500 pages long

Haven't read it, but hope to sometime next year. It got a very good review in The Times, which also noted that Genesis P-Orridge emerges from it "extremely badly".

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #53 on: December 20, 2017, 12:25:52 PM »
I really enjoyed Dream Theater's biography, probably because they're mostly a bunch of nice chaps and don't go in for all that debauchery business that sometimes spoils discussions about successful musicians.

The main thing I remember about it, though, is a paragraph where a chap named Derek recounts a story about two other Dereks.

Imagine a world of only Dereks. Such an uncommon name.

Bobby Treetops

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2017, 05:27:01 PM »
Haven't read it, but hope to sometime next year. It got a very good review in The Times, which also noted that Genesis P-Orridge emerges from it "extremely badly".

Half way though this now and although this may not have the best prose, it really is a fascinating and absorbing read. I can recommend this to any anyone with a passing interest with COUM Transmissions/Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey.

I can confirm Genesis P-Orridge comes across as a utter cunt.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2018, 06:28:54 PM »
Here Comes Everybody: The Story Of The Pogues by Pogues accordionist James Fearnley is absolutely blinding. Fearnley fancied himself a novelist in his younger years, maybe still does, and he knows how to spin a say that'll slap you silly where you're stood. I've seen some reviewers complain that he maybe shows off just a wee bit too much at times, and maybe he does, maybe he's trying to prove that Shane MacGowan and Philip Chevron weren't the only poets in the room, but to hell with it, it's a brilliant book regardless, full of any God's amount of hair raising tales. It's the definitive Pogues book, much better even than Ann Scanlon's wonderful The Lost Decade.


I read this and was rather disappointed by it, having had my expectations ratcheted high by your rave.  Fearnley clearly fancies himself as a stylist but falls way short.  He's not that good at reportage either.

Best thing about it, as with a lot of books of this type, is the dissing.  Although Fearnley says he came to hate him, MacGowan comes across as mentally ill rather than malicious.  Not so Cait O'Riordon, who sounds the archetypal teenager with a too-high opinion of herself, and certainly not Ali Campbell of UB40, who in his two-page cameo is twice referred to as a thug, and once as a brute.

But Andrew Matheson's Sick on You, also recommended on this thread, was magnificent.  Brilliantly written with a superb grasp of narrative (another thing Fearnley lacks) and very, very funny.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2018, 10:53:39 AM »
I've just finished The Dirt, the Motley Crue autobiography which I've not read since I was a teenager. In fact, I think the last time I read it, they were still broken up, like they are at the end of the book.

Doesn't hold up so well, really. There's next to no detail about the actual recording of the music, which there ought to be because the music did so well. And there's far too much detail about the various sexual exploits, although I suppose it's churlish of me to dismiss this as that's the whole pitch for the book I guess.

A few things that stick out are that Mick Mars' chapters number the fewest but are easily the most interesting because he's by far the most normal man out of the bunch. Found it quite touching when he states that he wished he paid more attention in English at school because now he worries about using the wrong words in adult conversation.

Also, Vince Neil bitching about Tommy Lee being a trend follower, saying something to the effect of "if he'd a pair of fucking tits he'd be a Spice Girl".

Hard to reccomend re-reading, but maybe worth a first-time read. I don't know, the world of entertainment has become so fucking slimy since it was published that it's not even shocking anymore. Like if you want to see celebrities or young girls desperate for a ride ITV2 and Channel 5 are full of programs for you.

Hobo With A Shit Pun

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2018, 02:57:42 PM »
Half way though this now and although this may not have the best prose, it really is a fascinating and absorbing read. I can recommend this to any anyone with a passing interest with COUM Transmissions/Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey.

I can confirm Genesis P-Orridge comes across as a utter cunt.

I bought it based on the above, and can confirm every point.

SteveDave

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #58 on: March 08, 2018, 02:29:12 PM »
I've just finished "David Bowie- A Life" by Dylan Jones and it's partly infuriating in the way the quotes (it's an oral history) have been ordered in some cases (Peter Frampton asking his dad who's cool to hang around with in school and then two pages later letting us know that Owen, Peter's dad, was a teacher at Bowie's school) and badly edited (the same quote about seeing mods on the trains within a page of each other). There are also no dates on the Bowie quotes so you don't know if they're contemporary or him looking back.

There's a few things I didn't know in there though. For example he was a borderline alcoholic in the late 80s. This might be how Tin Machine got their name.

The ending (he dies) suffers from the same bad editing as the first few chapters.

Dylan Jones doesn't shoehorn him knowing Dave (as a lot of people call him in the book) into it too much.

Serge

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2018, 04:45:46 PM »
Mainly because Jones didn't really know him at all. He probably interviewed him a couple of times, and would bump into him at industry bashes - hence the fact that whenever he writes a book about Bowie, he reuses the same pic of him standing next to him at some awards ceremony as if to imply 'look what great mates we are!' as opposed to 'look who I once got a photo of myself standing next to.' But it's not like they hung out, or as if Bowie had him on speed-dial whenever he felt the need to talk to a bald-headed tory cunt.