Author Topic: Band Biographies  (Read 15744 times)

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #90 on: November 27, 2018, 01:43:57 AM »
Costello one I worry he'll skip past all the interesting bits (ie when he was making brilliant music whilst acting like a complete twat for large periods of time) and just babble on about making albums with Burt Bacharach and how wonderful his current wife is.

It bounces around quite a bit chronologically, and there are some cards he chooses to play close to his vest still, but no worries - brilliant music and self-admitted twattery feature quite heavily throughout. (What interests me is that he comes off quite bitter and dismissive of Cait O'Riordan and barely mentions her more than he does, say, Bebe Buell - surely an interesting tale to be told there, but not, I guess, by him.)

Rolf Lundgren

  • Remember you're a Womble
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #91 on: November 28, 2018, 12:08:14 AM »
I've just made it past the Caroline Ahern period in Substance and will probably finish it soon. Had to have two goes at this book, not least because it's absolutely gigantic, but the bitterness (and downright moaning) is just too much at times. He's unkind to Gillian which I didn't like, but his constant sniping over Bernard is tiresome.

I loved all the detail in Hook's book, especially the song-by-song review for each album as I'd love all my musical heroes to do this. The jabs at Bernard are frustrating, we get it you don't like him, but it's still a terrific book for the comprehensiveness of it.

Bernard's book felt very lightweight afterwards, barely mentioning some albums and going into too much detail about his childhood. The emphasis on the childhood stuff would have been fine if he also went into his career in great detail but as it is the book feels like it has large, gaping holes in it. To be fair I don't think Bernard is into introspection and definitely has less interest in focusing on the past than Hook does.

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #92 on: November 28, 2018, 01:08:09 PM »
and how wonderful his current wife is.

Ah so just like the Clapton book then?

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #93 on: November 28, 2018, 03:37:12 PM »
I loved all the detail in Hook's book, especially the song-by-song review for each album as I'd love all my musical heroes to do this. The jabs at Bernard are frustrating, we get it you don't like him, but it's still a terrific book for the comprehensiveness of it.

Bernard's book felt very lightweight afterwards, barely mentioning some albums and going into too much detail about his childhood. The emphasis on the childhood stuff would have been fine if he also went into his career in great detail but as it is the book feels like it has large, gaping holes in it. To be fair I don't think Bernard is into introspection and definitely has less interest in focusing on the past than Hook does.

Oh definitely, the analysis of each song on each album is the highlight for me, along with the little extra anecdotes given after events mentioned in the timeline at the end of each year. Him being able to call on distinct memories from random NO gigs from all over the world over decades shows how introspective he is to me. It's just a shame they often relate back to "Twatto" somehow.

Finished it the other night and actually found the final 100 or so pages to be the most scathing of the lot. After 600-odd pages of softening up he really goes for it at the end!

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #94 on: November 29, 2018, 08:32:34 PM »
Hook and Sumner don't seem to do self-criticism. Hook is rather crass about the women he has slept with, as if infidelity is no big deal. Sumner is far more discreet about sex and drugs but also implies they are par for the course on rock tours. The stuff on Gillian seems sexist, like of course women can't play.

Costello's book is beautiful about his dad but not really forthcoming about which songs are about which relationships. Too much name dropping but that is part of his schtick.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #95 on: November 29, 2018, 08:37:58 PM »
I'm coming to Costello's book after reading, many years ago, the "Complicated Shadows" biog and Bruce Thomas' "Big Wheel".

Read the first 70 odd pages and, yeah, the stuff about his dad is great, alongside having a pop at Sinead O'Connor for ruining an intimate moment with his close showbiz chum Paul McCartney. Arf.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #96 on: November 29, 2018, 09:09:52 PM »
A bit late to the party, but I'll also recommend the Lemmy, Luke Haines, Julian Cope, Bill Bruford and Steve Hanley books, as well Miles' autobiog and Please Kill Me.

I would like to recommend Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull (sweet and saucy at times), Phill Brown's Are We Still Rolling? (a mixture of the joyously technical alongside stories of Talk Talk and John Martyn sessions as well as plenty of Robert Palmer and Angie Bowie debauchery) plus Rich Deakin's Keep It Together (the dirty drug-fuelled history of The Pink Fairies).

I'd also like to throw in a wild card: Star Man - The Right Hand Man of Rock & Roll by Michael Francis. For some reason, my mum bought me this for Christmas.  No idea why. After scratching my head for a bit, I started reading it and it was wonderful. Essentially, he was a bodyguard for the likes of Gary Numan, Sheena Easton, Bon Jovi and Cher. Fascinating stuff and unintentionally funny (ie. Cher's new found love for curries and vouchers, Gary Numan's dad protecting him from rednecks while his mam ironed the band's stage outifts on the bus, and a nice touch of patriotic pride due to Bon Jovi's steamiest story taking place in Ipswich - my manor, innit). I recommended it to the Chart Music mob as this book is right up their street is packed full of the hilarious, the odious and some borderline surreal tableauxs.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #97 on: November 29, 2018, 09:49:28 PM »
"Head On" and "Repossessed" by Cope are essential, of course. Paul Simpson - original Teardrops keyboard player and later Wild Swan - told me he was writing his own memoirs, which I thought would have been an interesting counterpoint to "Head On", but I guess he couldn't find a publisher. He did say Cope's account of events were a tad on the "it was all me" side of things, but I guess every rock biography does that.

chveik

  • who's gonna feed them hogs?
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #98 on: November 29, 2018, 10:15:38 PM »
Beneath the Underdog by Charlie Mingus

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #99 on: November 30, 2018, 07:51:01 AM »
Gary Numan's dad protecting him from rednecks while his mam ironed the band's stage outifts on the bus.

Beryl used to do his press stuff too. She was lovely.

Shameless Custard

  • PAUSE FOR THE JET
    • My RUBBISH
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #100 on: January 26, 2019, 09:13:41 PM »
Just read Bee Gees: Tales Of The Brothers Gibb, and at 700 pages it was big enough to choke an elephant

Good though. Not really big on gossip or sleazy tales, more a straight up look at their career and their difficult relationships with each other. The stuff about Andy Gibb is quite sad too

Shameless Custard

  • PAUSE FOR THE JET
    • My RUBBISH
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #101 on: January 26, 2019, 10:47:13 PM »
Also, I'd recommend Allan Jones' Can't Stand Up For Falling Down. It's a compilation of his Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before stories from Uncut magazine, and it's great. Even if most anecdotes involve him getting pissed up with rock stars, getting told off by his editor at the Melody Maker, or getting threatened and/or punched. There's a fantastic story involving Bowie and Lou Reed falling out in public

Nick Kent's collected writings, The Dark Stuff, is also brilliant. Fascinating stuff
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 10:58:11 PM by Shameless Custard »

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #102 on: January 26, 2019, 10:55:08 PM »

Just finished War and Peace about the Stone Roses, as recommended by someone in this thread.

I enjoyed it, and loved the detail on the band's ability to show how hard and outlandish they were by seemingly purposely making terrible business decision after business decision.  I did feel that the author is far too kind to Ian Brown and far too hard on John Squire though, and overstates the band's importance somewhat.  I was also disappointed because I wanted far more info on the recording of Second Coming; I'm obsessed by that album.

MiddleRabbit

  • Whatever it is you're selling, I don't want it.
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #103 on: January 27, 2019, 12:56:17 PM »
Just finished War and Peace about the Stone Roses, as recommended by someone in this thread.

I enjoyed it, and loved the detail on the band's ability to show how hard and outlandish they were by seemingly purposely making terrible business decision after business decision.  I did feel that the author is far too kind to Ian Brown and far too hard on John Squire though, and overstates the band's importance somewhat.  I was also disappointed because I wanted far more info on the recording of Second Coming; I'm obsessed by that album.

They've kept pretty quiet about that debacle, although the impression I get is that they didn't really do much recording.  A lot of pissing about, from what I can gather hence Leckie giving up on it.

Have you heard the Schroeder (early) mix?  What I gathered from that was that Squire spent a lot of time redoing a lot of his parts.  Simon Dawson's production seemed to consist of putting a lot of reverb all over everything.

Personally, I think it's crap in almost every way but then I was one of those idiots who pored through The NME and Melody Maker every week in the hope of some small tidbit of news about it.  The closest I got to finding anything out was through a girl I went out with in my last year of university (92-93) whose friend visited (they were from Morecambe) whose aunty knew Ian's mum, who told her he'd already blown all the money.


Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #104 on: January 27, 2019, 01:08:43 PM »
Nick Kent's collected writings, The Dark Stuff, is also brilliant. Fascinating stuff
Less so the stuff he (apparently) made up about Tony Wilson.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #105 on: January 27, 2019, 04:18:40 PM »
They've kept pretty quiet about that debacle, although the impression I get is that they didn't really do much recording.  A lot of pissing about, from what I can gather hence Leckie giving up on it.

Have you heard the Schroeder (early) mix?  What I gathered from that was that Squire spent a lot of time redoing a lot of his parts.  Simon Dawson's production seemed to consist of putting a lot of reverb all over everything.

Personally, I think it's crap in almost every way but then I was one of those idiots who pored through The NME and Melody Maker every week in the hope of some small tidbit of news about it.  The closest I got to finding anything out was through a girl I went out with in my last year of university (92-93) whose friend visited (they were from Morecambe) whose aunty knew Ian's mum, who told her he'd already blown all the money.

When Second Coming came out, as an NME and MM poring twat too, I remember feeling very angry and cheated. The first time I heard Daybreak I staggered at how careless and shit it was.  These days I only feel like that about half the record, and the other half has got better. Even though it’s both an astonishingly misjudged and flawed record and it is in no way anywhere near my favourites, it’s a fascinating document and I’ve somehow listened to it more than probably any other record. Songs like Tears, I just never tire of. I wasn’t surprised to hear that Brown did only one take of the vocal before telling Squire to fuck off - and I’d often wondered why the vocal mix dives down and is slaked in reverb during my the chorus. My most guilty pleasure. I do need to dig out the Schroeder mixes.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #106 on: January 27, 2019, 11:34:58 PM »
Less so the stuff he (apparently) made up about Tony Wilson.

Speaking of the Roses, his piece on them and the Mondays in that book is "fookin" dreadful.

MiddleRabbit

  • Whatever it is you're selling, I don't want it.
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #107 on: January 27, 2019, 11:51:02 PM »
Speaking of the Roses, his piece on them and the Mondays in that book is "fookin" dreadful.

He got quite a lot of flak for making up a quote from Tony Wilson about Ian Curtis' death being a good thing during that piece, which originally appeared in The Face as well.  Bloody awful stuff really. 

Shameless Custard

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #108 on: January 28, 2019, 02:21:39 PM »
Didn't know about Kent making stuff up. Ahhht of order!

Another book I've read recently is George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door, by Graeme Thomson

Felt a bit rushed in places, but lad did have quite the eventful life. The description of the time Harrison was stabbed in his home is properly gruesome and wince inducing. Wish there'd been a bit more on The Traveling Wilburys. The story of Harrison recieving oral whilst playing the ukulele made me laff.

Btw, do check out Thomson's book on Kate Bush, Under The Ivy, as it's superb.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #109 on: January 29, 2019, 03:03:26 AM »
I recently read Mark Blake's Bring It On Home, a biography of Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin.  It's not a great book, but Blake does manage to keep the focus on Grant throughout, so we get the familiar story of Led Zep's career from a fresh vantage point.  The degree to which it was Page's band is heavily emphasised, as that's how Grant saw it.  On a couple of occasions, even quite late in the band's lifetime, Grant would seem to regard Robert Plant as potentially dispensable.

Grant's aggressiveness and his readiness to use violence is not ignored, but Blake does take pains to portray him as more bark than bite.  Paul Rogers, though, is depicted as close to 100% prick. Also, Grant's son Warren comes across as a pretty obnoxious little brat, a bit like AJ from The Sopranos.

Grant was very secretive about his childhood, to the extent that some documents were literally buried with him, and in the book his early life is frustratingly thinly sketched.  Even his twenties when he had several jobs which you would think would be replete with anecdotes and insights into the times - wrestler, enforcer for slum landlord Peter Rachman, movie extra and bit-part actor - are passed over too swiftly, but it's a pretty good read on the whole.

easytarget

  • five gas lighters for a pound
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #110 on: January 29, 2019, 03:53:21 AM »
A less obvious one is 'Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible and Fried - My Life As a Revolting Cock' by Chris Connelly, who details his time as an industrial rock icon in a seemingly hyper-caffienated ranting way with bursts of CAPITALS and dangling clauses...., bitches about Al Jourgensen like an ageing theatrical type, and consumes more drugs and drink than an entire planetful of Shane MacGowan clones.

Thanks for that. The audiobook is magnificent.

ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #111 on: March 24, 2019, 10:07:58 AM »
I am looking forward to Jon Savage's new oral history (I love oral histories!) on Joy Division

This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: The Oral History

The Graun have an extract up
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/24/joy-division-this-searing-light-extract-ian-curtis-jon-savage

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #112 on: March 28, 2019, 04:19:18 PM »
Nirvana: the True Story: Everett True's highly personal, highly partial, account of said band and the grunge era in general. Long. Your enjoyment rests entirely on your opinion of the author, which the author clearly knows and exploits to great effect, as with everything he writes. I loved it.

Different for Girls: Louise Wener from out of Sleeper gives her account of the Britpoppin mid-90s. Has the feel of the outsider looking in, and is great.

Things the Grandchildren Should Know I don't know if this is more memoir than biography, or somewhere in between. Mark 'Eels' Everett talks about his life and work. It is candid, sad, and funny. I am indifferent to his musical work, but I found it engaging.

Has anyone read the John Drumbo French Beefheart book, and would they recommend it?

Drumbo’s book needs editing, but is a fascinating insight into the mind of DVV

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #113 on: March 28, 2019, 04:21:49 PM »
I've been meaning to buy this for ages but keep forgetting so thanks for the reminder - you are one of a number of people to recommend it to me so I'll get on the case.

The other one that always gets put forward as a classic tale of drug fuelled rock'n'roll excess that I still haven't read is "Fucked By Rock" by Mark Manning. I've no interest in Zodiac Mindwarp but that's apparently not a requisite in the slightest. It was out of print for ages and going for crazy money but it was reprinted by Cherry Red a few years back and is currently half price on their site at £6.50, had anyone read it that can confirm it's worth buying?

I've just finished "Man behind the mask" by Mark Archer of Altern-8 which wasn't bad, and there's some good tales of their various rave pranks in there. It's obviously a one-sided account of things as him as the other half of Altern-8, Chris Peat, had a very bitter falling out and there's absolutely no love lost between them to this day (in fact there's a "Trouble at the Top" David Van Day's Bucks Fizz type situation at the moment with Mark having the rights to use the Altern-8 name and Chris just having released a new single as Altern8-ive), so it would be interesting to hear the other side of things.

Manning’s books are hilarious, and very naughty. I’ve got three, the second two can only be loosely based on reality. The stuff about gonzo p@rn is fucked-up

the ouch cube

  • you've got moomins on yr breath
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #114 on: March 29, 2019, 07:33:29 PM »
Zodiac's actual proper autobiography, Crucify Me Again, is the one to go for and goes to some very very dark places indeed. He even seems to have a conscience, and hates himself for having one even more than he hates the things he's done.

Out of print, though.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #115 on: April 30, 2019, 08:03:41 AM »
Just finished Brett Anderson's Coal Black Mornings which despite overusing the title throughout is a nice concise tale of his upbringing through to getting Suede off the ground. There is a sequel due out if the end of the year that most likely takes us through the fame/heroin years.

non capisco

  • Don't wanna hear those vile trumpets anymore
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #116 on: April 30, 2019, 11:02:17 AM »
Just finished Brett Anderson's Coal Black Mornings which despite overusing the title throughout is a nice concise tale of his upbringing through to getting Suede off the ground. There is a sequel due out if the end of the year that most likely takes us through the fame/heroin years.

The highlight of this for most CaB readers will probably be where he reveals Ricky Gervais used to sing in a post -Seona Dancing band that was basically his David Brent songs but played for real with a straight face.

timebug

  • Serges Dad
Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #117 on: May 06, 2019, 09:42:56 AM »
My all time favourite book by a musician, has to be 'All The Rage' by Ian 'Mac' McLagen who played keyboards in the Small Faces & The Faces, and worked with Dylan, The Stones etc. Told as it was, no frills, no excuses, just a decent bloke telling how he found wealth and fame, then lost most of it and started again! Some good stuff on what a prick Rod Stewart became as the Faces found fame,and the lead singer also started his own solo career. Good stuff about the loon Keith Moon too, as Mac basically stole Moons wife from him, and rescued her from a violently abusive relationship.
Must have read it four or five times over the years, and its the most satisfyingly 'real' book on the world of music that I have ever read.And believe me, I have read virtually everything going in this area! (Amateur muso myself, so have a vested interest!)

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #118 on: May 06, 2019, 11:12:14 AM »
Zodiac's actual proper autobiography, Crucify Me Again, is the one to go for and goes to some very very dark places indeed. He even seems to have a conscience, and hates himself for having one even more than he hates the things he's done.

Out of print, though.

I found this for a few quid in a charity shop, also ordered Fucked By Rock from the cherry red website. Definitely fits the remit of this thread, my God. Some truly horrible stuff in them. Very readable though, and some of it is darkly, wrongly funny. He's got a way with words, Mark Manning. I've never heard his music, I assume it's shit, but the books have got nothing to do with that side of things anyway. Much much better than The Dirt.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #119 on: May 06, 2019, 11:27:05 AM »
My all time favourite book by a musician, has to be 'All The Rage' by Ian 'Mac' McLagen who played keyboards in the Small Faces & The Faces, and worked with Dylan, The Stones etc. Told as it was, no frills, no excuses, just a decent bloke telling how he found wealth and fame, then lost most of it and started again! Some good stuff on what a prick Rod Stewart became as the Faces found fame,and the lead singer also started his own solo career. Good stuff about the loon Keith Moon too, as Mac basically stole Moons wife from him, and rescued her from a violently abusive relationship.
Must have read it four or five times over the years, and its the most satisfyingly 'real' book on the world of music that I have ever read.And believe me, I have read virtually everything going in this area! (Amateur muso myself, so have a vested interest!)

Sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation.