Rock’s Best Beach Reads: Rod, Neil, Heart, Clive, Cyndi, and the Entire History Of Metal
There might be a noise ordinance at your favorite relaxing vacation spot, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking a rock book to the beach and cranking up the noise in your head amid the summer tranquility.
Our list of music-based summer beach reads includes some of the top memoirs that have come out over the last six months--by the likes of Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Heart, Pete Townshend, Cyndi Lauper, and Clive Davis--along with treatises on heavy metal and prog-rock that might have you banging your sunburned head against the back of the recliner.
by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman
If you want some debauchery and demonology to go with your gentle summer breezes, Louder Than Hell is the tome for you. It’s as easy to dip in and out of this epic compilation of rock-star anecdotes as it is to slip in and out of the pool, even though you might feel like you’re dripping blood on your beach towel after some of the hairier passages. The earliest chapters will have the greatest crossover appeal for non-metalheads, as the authors interview the members of seminal bands like Black Sabbath and AC/DC about both their serious and Spinal Tap sides. Later chapters get a bit more specific about subgenres ranging from ‘80s hair-metal to ‘90s thrash and industrial.
Sample passage #1 Gene Simmons of KISS: “At some point, I began to keep Polaroid snapshots of my liaisons to remember them. In a certain way, I loved every one of them. But when it was over, it was over. No fuss, no muss. No agony. To date, I have had over 4,600 liaisons. And I have to say that they were all wonderful, that they all enhanced my life.”
Sample passage #2 Sebastian Bach on his feelings when Skid Row’s brand of hard rock was rendered obsolete in the early ‘90s by grunge: “Yes, it definitely sucked and it was a bummer. But between 1989 and 1991 Skid Row sold 20 million records. We were all wealthy as f***, so it really didn’t suck that bad. It sucked, but I bought a five-acre estate and I could walk around in the woods and ride on a boat. So my attitude was, ‘F*** it, who cares?’ It gave us a chance to buy some s*** and have some fun.”
Sample passage #3 Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, on how he found out Judas Priest’s lead singer was gay: At a party, McGrath was wearing “heavy metal jean shorts, rolled up...Then I see Rob Halford, and I’ve never met him before, so I am over the moon. I went to him with such enthusiasm--I looked like Play the Gameera Freddie Mercury, I go, ‘Rob, I’m such a big fan.’ I’m overly friendly, touching him…I gave Rob my number, told him if he ever wanted to hang out. He took it that I was cruising him, so he started calling my number...First message was [in British accent] ‘Hello Mark, it’s Rob here…I’d like to fly you out to Phoenix so we could see each other.’ The way he said ‘so we could see each other,’ I went, ‘He’s gay!’…I was too freaked out. He left a few messages, but he speaks so eloquently, I almost turned gay. I wish I had a gay inclination, ’cause it would have been Rob Halford if I was going to get down with a dude. Believe me. I felt bad if I misled him in any way. I was like, ‘Why would he think I’m gay? Oh, the shorts and the touching and the phone number.’”