Archive for Hard Rock Literature

Women in Metal Book Published

Kirtland Book

In my on-going quest to document all the tons of hard rock and heavy metal related books that are published these days, I thought I’d mention this new one.

Beyond just an attention-grabbing title, Not Just Tits in a Corset: Celebrating Women in Metal by Jill Hughes Kirtland examines Lita Ford, Doro Pesch, Roxy Petrucci and many other female headbangers in their struggle to perform in a male-dominated genre.

Lamb of God Frontman Signs Book Deal

blythe

Add another hard rock memoir to the constantly bulging list of headbanging books

But in this case, there’s definitely a different story to be told, beyond just the usual “banging chicks, doing drugs” story.

Publisher’s Marketplace is reporting that Randy Blythe, lead singer of Lamb of God, has signed a book deal with Ben Schafer at Da Capo. Blythe was incarcerated for slightly more than 1 month (and tied up in criminal wranglings for almost a year) after a fan in the Czech Republic was killed in Prague.

Blythe stood trial and was acquitted, but the legal turmoil took a heavy toll on the band. Drummer Chris Adler recently told The Virginian-Pilot that the court case bankrupted the band.

Expected to be on bookstore shelves in the spring of 2014, Blythe’s memoir will certainly stand out from the rest of the heavy metal bookshelf.

Lita Ford Signs Deal with William Morrow

Add guitarist and singer Lita Ford to the burgeoning list of rockers with book deals. [Here's a round up of hard rock books.] Reports are that the former Runaways member and longtime solo artist has signed a publishing deal with William Morrow for a memoir called Living Like a Runaway. Joel Selvin is flying co-pilot on the book. The book is scheduled for publication in 2013.

Ford (pictured here in a shot I took when she performed with Queensryche in 2009) has been promoting her most recent solo record, with the same name as the book, in recent days. It’s a rocking disc, well worth checking out if you’re a fan of guitar-driven rock. It’s a pleasant return to form, and a very genuine and sincere emotional journey, from someone who went through a few tough years.

The news about the book promises to cover Ford’s trials as “she had to escape a terrifying marriage that cut her off from the rest of the world.” After previous romantic connections with head bangers like Nikki Sixx, Chris Holmes, and Tony Iommi, Ford married former Nitro vocalist Jim Gillette in 1994. The couple divorced in 2011.

I’ve got high hopes for this book, as Ford definitely has a unique perspective on late seventies and eighties hard rock that we haven’t heard before. her former bandmate Cherie Currie’s Neon Angel was a good book and Ford was largely absent from the film version of the stories about the Runaways. But at the same time, I’m cautious because there have been so many disappointing music memoirs lately. And Vince Neil’s atrocious book, which also used the same title as a solo record, sets a bad precedent for repeating monikers. But I’ll definitely check out Ford’s book when it’s released.

Interview: Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, Editor

Power Chord Book Frehley Pearcy

To the outsider, the world of books and publishing is sometimes perceived as a stuffy, stodgy, genteel world of college professors, pipes, and tweed jackets with elbow patches. Now imagine that quiet book reading, with a string quartet playing the corner, being crashed by a bunch of unwashed, drugged out rockers. That clash of cultures is probably what a weekend is like for Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, heavy metal book editor extraordinaire at Gallery Books.

Earlier in his career, Ruby-Strauss cranked up the volume on the bestseller list by working on Marilyn Manson’s book The Long Hard Road Out of Hell and Motley Crue’s The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. More recently, Ruby-Strauss blasted off into orbit to work with the Spaceman himself, Ace Frehley.

Now, obviously, I’ve covered hard rock literature pretty extensively here at Slushpile.net. And my own recently published book, Power Chord: One Man’s Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes deals with hard rock and heavy metal. And I must confess… I’ve grown slightly skeptical of the metal book genre because some of the recent releases seemed to be little more than quick and easy product, as opposed to something of substance. So I wanted to get Ruby-Strauss’ opinion on the trend.

The respected editor spoke about the deluge of hard rock books, about when Ace Frehley met Keith Richards, about Stephen Pearcy’s new book, and about his own personal musical tastes.

Read more

Book Review: It’s So Easy by Duff McKagan

Duff McKagan's It So Easy Book Review

When the house lights go down and the crowd jumps to its feet and the spotlight operators squint through the dry ice, seeking musicians on the stage, the bass player is often the last rocker they highlight. Singers and guitarists generally get most of the attention. So perhaps it’s fitting that Duff McKagan released It’s So Easy (and Other Lies) after a veritable library had been published about his bands. In doing so, he allowed other people to cover the gossip, conflict, and controversy, turning It’s So Easy into a surprisingly sincere and heartfelt memoir.

McKagan is, of course, most well-known for being the bassist for Guns N’ Roses during their reign of the rock world in the eighties and early nineties. More recently, he has manned the bottom end for Velvet Revolver and even did a fill-in stint in Jane’s Addiction while also fronting his own band Loaded. He has also developed an impressive writing resume, penning articles for Playboy, ESPN.com, SeattleWeekly.com, and others.

The first indicator that It’s So Easy is different than so many by-the-numbers hard rock memoirs is the prologue. The default in situations like this is to begin on a grimy bathroom floor with a bloody needle dangling from a skinny forearm and a .12 gauge propped nearby. The narrator usually croacks, “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. But after achieving my dreams, there wasn’t anything left to do. I had everything in the world, but no reason to live.” With that dramatic scene set, the book cuts away, and goes back to the beginning with a bushy haired child strumming a tennis racket in a seventies suburban ranch home to the chronological start of the story.

In contrast, McKagan begins his tale with worries about teenage shenanigans at his daughter’s party. The birthday girl is thirteen and she, like most kids, is embarrassed of her parents, in spite of their rockstar and fashion model backgrounds. The girl begs the old folks to get in the house before her friends arrive. It’s a touching scene of domesticity. Scattered throughout the parental reflections, McKagan manages to weave in enough references to his own edgy past of drugs and larceny to indicate that his is not a “normal” life. But after many decades of addiction, wealth, and wealth lost, It’s So Easy illustrates that McKagan has achieved as close to a normal life as possible for someone in his situation.

Another unique aspect of the book is how McKagan simply avoids huge chunks of Guns N’ Roses history. Generally, a celebrity would be criticized for omitting certain time periods. But in this instance, it’s a blessing to the most hardcore GN’R fans. Sitting on my shelf right now are seven books about the Sunset Strip rockers and we still have the on-again, off-again book from a GN’R mother to look forward to. This band has been exhaustively researched and written about so when McKagan devotes slightly more than a single page to the recording of the seminal Appetite for Destruction record, I for one, cheered. By leaving well-worn topics to the other books, McKagan can focus on more personal recollections and experiences, such as documenting his brother Bruce’s excitement as the record climbed the Billboard charts.

To be sure, It’s So Easy is not the tale of a choir boy. There are plenty of narcotics and liquor scattered throughout these pages. Those vices just aren’t the focus of the book. They’re a bit of spice, not the main dish. And when the musician does turn to those foggy, staggering times, he does so in a poignant manner, as opposed to a chest-pounding, “Look at me! I did sooo many drugs” manner. For example, during a new, shaky attempt at sobriety, McKagan struggles to complete a simple everyday transaction.

One of the first things I did was go to the grocery store to buy food. It was a novel idea at the time — it had been years since I really shopped for food. Now here I was, thirty years old, an adult with a credit card, a checkbook, and an ATM card. I could buy whatever I wanted in the store, but I had no idea where to start. I thought everyone was staring at me — I was sure my shaking was freakishly visible…

I looked at the girl at the cash register.

“I give you this money, right”

My shirt was drenched in sweat and I was having a full-blown panic attack.

She nodded nervously, barely able to disguise her disgust. She gingerly took the money from my hand, trying to avoid actually touching me.

While examining the influence of drugs and decadence, McKagan makes a statement about some fellow Los Angeles rockers that can be equally applied to the hard rock memoir genre as a whole.

Back in the halcyon days of GN’R, when everyone in L.A. thought we were the most badass hard-drinking and hard-drugging motherfuckers around (and maybe we thought so, too), we quickly found out we were in the minor league compared to Motley Crue. After their shows, we often ended up partying together, learning their code names for different drugs, even flying on their private jet a few times. Our peek into their world was a look into an abyss. They’d found a way of skating around the edge of that abyss while perfecting the dark art of drinking and drugging for a while back there in the 1980s.

Later, McKagan reiterates, “But for the second time in my life I realized that nobody — not even me at the time — could hang with the dudes in Motley Crue: within two months of buying the house at Lake Arrowhead, I was throwing up blood at Tommy Lee’s cabin.”

The point here is that the amplifier hum of the Crue’s The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band looms so large over the hard rock memoir genre that most musicians feel they have to live up to those almost unimaginably sleaze-dripped pages. Other rockers strive to surpass the decadence. Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy said in a recent television interview that his book-in-progress will make “The Dirt look like a sandbox.” This attitude towards the Motley text is one of the main reasons why so many hard rock memoirs have been so similar and so disappointing. None of these guys would say, “My goal is to ‘out Zeppelin’ Led Zeppelin” in reference to their music. They would discuss creating their own sound, doing something different, something unique. But when it comes to books, they all seem incapable of escaping that singularly Dirt-y influence.

McKagan goes the opposite route, telling the story he wants to tell as opposed to setting his sights on a previously published book. He also doesn’t go out of his way to “set the record straight” by pointing out errors in other GN’R books, a common trend amongst bands with several literary efforts. This attitude allows him to explore his attempts at sobriety, the shakes, the shady drug dealers, and all that. But it also allows him to discuss investing in Starbucks and Microsoft. It allows him to write emotionally about his beloved pets. It makes it possible to devote as much passion and determination to his attempts at higher education as his attempts to master music. It enables him to begin — and finish — It’s So Easy with scenes of domestic bliss.

Early in the book, Duff McKagan explains how he was an outsider to the Los Angeles glam metal scene. He came from a punk background and rocked short spiky hair and a Sid Vicious-wannabe padlock necklace while most people were teasing their hair and wearing spandex.* All these decades later, McKagan is still taking a slightly different tact. It’s So Easy belongs on any hard rock fan’s bookshelf, amongst all the other required books. But it also stands apart in many very positive ways.

[*Not to perpetuate the flawed concept that punk was somehow more organic, more real, more honest than hard rock and glam metal. Here, I'm simply making the point that McKagan had a different -- not necessarily better -- perspective at that point in his life.]

Good Hard Rock Books

In recent days, we examined the trend towards everyone with a Marshall amp stack releasing a book of some form. And, unfortunately, many of those books haven’t been very fulfilling. So I wanted to close the discussion by mentioning some hard rock and heavy metal books that are interesting and different and worth a read. These titles are either self-published or from small publishers so they might have originally escaped your attention.

Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz by Rudy Sarzo
With a resume full of astounding bands and musicians, Sarzo’s career is the envy of rockers everywhere. He played with Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Oyster Cult, and others. But he originally solidified his reputation while handling the bottom end duties for Ozzy Osbourne in the early eighties. During his time with the Prince of Darkness, he performed with the legendary guitar player Randy Rhoads who tragically perished in a plane crash.

Sarzo said that he wrote Off the Rails because so many people asked “What was Randy like?” as the years have passed. So he sat down at his desk, put the family Yorkie in his lap, and started pouring out the memories of his dear friend. Along the way, we’re treated to the inside scoop on the Ozzy organization as well. In fact, the release of this book initially generated friction between Sarzo and Sharon Osbourne.

Off the Rails benefits from two main strengths: Sarzo’s journals and his heart.

Early in his career, Sarzo was told to keep detailed travel and performance records for financial and tax reasons. And unlike so many of us who struggle to stay organized, Sarzo actually followed through on that advice. So he has extraordinarily detailed journals about every date, every concert, every hotel, and every travel detail. These records allowed him to write a book that feels very concrete, very authoritative. Unfortunately, the passage of time and the detriments of debauchery have dulled many rockers’ memories. As a result, their books feel vague and they only recite the stories you’ve heard a million times before. On the contrary, Off the Rails feels firmly rooted and detailed.

The book also benefits from Rudy Sarzo’s tremendous heart and warmth. I have met the musician and enjoyed my time with him immensely. So treat this paragraph as a disclosure of sorts if you would like. But almost everyone who encounters Sarzo feels calmed and comforted in his presence. In addition to being a tremendous musician, he’s just a fantastic human being. That warmth flows through the pages of Off the Rails and make it feel like more sincere labor, as opposed to simply being a coldly rushed product like some of the heavy metal memoirs.

Click here to learn more about Off the Rails.

Tales of a Ratt: Things You Shouldn’t Know by Bobby Blotzer
Known for keeping time for the hard-partying eighties metal band Ratt, Bobby Blotzer is a hard working man who stays firmly focused on his business. Tales of a Ratt covers Blotzer’s rise to fame, then his stint cleaning carpets during the lean years of the Grunge Era, and back to a measure of success with Ratt’s recent time on the festival circuit.

What makes Tales of a Ratt interesting is Blotzer’s willingness to share all the details of his business endeavors. There is the cliched MTV Cribs image of how a rockstar lives: Bentleys, Hollywood Hills pads, yachts, and Playboy playmates. Many musicians from previous eras want you to believe that they still live that lifestyle. While some of them have handled their money diligently and they do truly walk the halls of their gargantuan mansion, a shocking number of them of them have downsized to homes like where you and I live, but they don’t want fans to know that.

However, Blotzer opens the books and shares exact figures. “Over the course of my career with RATT, I’ve probably made $3 million with them,” he writes in Tales of a Ratt. He then explains the tax percentages, attorneys fees, and other deductions from that pile of money. He also explains the economics of the band. “Our budgets on tours were in the neighborhood of $130,000 per week. Now days, that money would probably be around $250,000 or even $300,000.”

Now, it should be noted that I criticized Vince Neil’s Tattoos & Tequila for feeling too much like a product and that he would prefer to be a big business mogul instead of being a rocker these days. What makes Blotzer’s business discussions different than Neil’s is that, as a reader, you get the sense that Blotzer is willing to do the work himself. He’s diving in and doing the dirty work in his business endeavors.

Blotzer clearly wants to improve his business. He is working on a follow-up book to Tales of a Ratt and has been actively promoting the title on his Facebook page and other outlets. So moving units is on his obviously on his mind. But in Blotzer’s case, it’s an admirable characteristic while Neil just seems mercenary in his book.

Click here to learn more about Tales of a Ratt.

Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rockstar by Stacey Blades
Axeslinger Stacey Blades has built a resume with eighties metal bands like Roxx Gang and L.A. Guns. A kid growing up in Canada idolizing some of the musicians he would later perform with, his book Snake Eyes is an interesting look at rockstars who travel by bus or rental car instead of private planes. From being hit by lightning as a child to encountering numerous career setbacks and relationship challenges over the years, Blades’s book illustrates a hard-driving work ethic and a total refusal to give up.

In the interest of full disclosure, Blades is a friend and I did read early drafts of this book. What kept my interest throughout all the versions was the hard work necessary to keep plugging in and rocking out night after night, regardless of the size of the crowd, venue, or paycheck. Blades just keeps moving forward, ripping off searing leads and crunching riffs.

Click here to learn more about Snake Eyes.

Rock Star 101: A Rock Star’s Guide to Survival in the Music Business by Marc Ferrari
I have praised Rock Star 101 before. In this book, Ferrari a guitar player and businessman shares all the mechanics about the lives and financial interests of rock stars. He explains the difference between synchronization income and mechanical income, what to look for in terms of contracts, licensing, and other aspects of biz. You don’t have to be a working musician to enjoy Rock Star 101. Even if you a simple fan who wonders what it takes for your hero to get on stage each night, this book provides all the answers you need.

Click here to learn more about Rock Star 101.

Add Stephen Pearcy to the List

According to Blabbermouth.net, we can add Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy to the list of hard rock and heavy metal memoirs.

The article states that Pearcy’s management is “entertaining publishers” for Pearcy’s book. The singer says that he is “working on a few rough chapters as we speak!”

Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer released Tales of a Ratt: Things You Shouldn’t Know in 2010. According to the percussionist’s Facebook page, he is currently working on a follow-up book.

Some Good Things Still to Come

While I have been critical of some recent hard rock and heavy metal books, it should be obvious that I am a huge fan of this genre of music. The more opportunities that I have to learn about the musicians I admire, the better. My forthcoming book covers this genre so when I criticize this title or that title, it’s only because I so desperately want the books to be good.

And while the trend seems to be moving more towards quickly produced, slick and unoffensive books, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good rockin’ texts out there for the head banging book lover. Tomorrow, I’ll have a round-up of some lesser-known titles that you might have missed but are well-worth reading.

A Note on Co-Authors

During this weeklong examination of the hard rock and heavy metal memoir trend, it’s impossible to ignore the role of the co-author in these projects. Sometimes the co-authors (or ghostwriters if you prefer that title) can bring a level of literary high art to the proceedings. Other times, co-authors are reduced to mere typists by the celebrities.

In Housekeeping vs. The Dirt, Nick Hornby writes, “Neil Strauss, the Studs Terkel of hair metal, has a good ear for the band’s self-delusions, idiocies, and fuckups. Strauss, one suspects, has class. (Wilkie Collins provides the book’s epigraph, for example, and I’m guessing that this wasn’t Tommy Lee’s idea.)” But while Strauss [disclosure: who is a friend and colleague] clearly influenced the Crue to take more substantive routes in The Dirt, it simply isn’t always possible for the co-author to change a celebrity’s mind.

Celebs are, almost by definition, highly opinionated and accustomed to getting their own way. And frequently, these book projects are just a hassle for the musician who would rather be writing songs, banging chicks, collecting art, racing cars, or whatever their preferred hobby is. Mike Sager alludes to such when he mentions that Vince Neil missed interviews and was more focused on Sunday football. Sager’s too professional to come right out and say it in the media, but God only knows what he had to deal with in order to get Tattoos & Tequila completed. The book pisses me off, but I’ve got a feeling that Sager deserves a medal for simply getting it published. Because that’s not always the case.

Random House sued rapper Sean Combs for never completing a memoir, a case that was ultimately settled. The music mogul also tussled with his co-author Mikal Gilmore, alleging that the journalist failed to meet contractual obligations.

More recently, the piano man Bill Joel cancelled his memoir mere months prior to publication. Media reports said the singer decided he simply wasn’t “interested in talking about the past.”

So the co-author’s job is a perilous task of corralling and wrangling celebrities that aren’t always cooperative. Of the hard rock and heavy metal books that we’ve discussed here at Slushpile.net, I would give mixed results to the ghostwriters.

I’ve never met Sammy Hagar but I’ve heard from people who work with him that he’s a fairly reasonable dude so I’m guessing that Joel Selvin had a decent experience on Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock.

I also haven’t met Dave Mustaine, but friends tell me that sobriety and maturity have settled the rocker down to reasonable levels so my guess would be that Joe Layden got along with the musician while writing Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir.

Steven Adler has always been cool to me and seems a very kind-hearted guy (if still troubled) as opposed to the way he’s portrayed on the rehab shows. So I kind of envy Lawrence J. Spagnola the experience of working on My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N’ Roses.

In short, when we criticize celebrity memoirs, it’s a challenge to know when to point to the finger at the co-authors. Sometimes they can add a great deal of heft, intelligence, and art to the project. But other times, they’re just hoping to avoid a lawsuit or to complete an interview before someone enters rehab. It’s a tough gig.

Something for Nothing: The Cash Grab of a Shitty Book

I’ve seen Motley Crue nine times in the last five years. I’ve purchased plane tickets in order to travel to Crue performances. My love of the band is so well-known that people often come to me with motleyish questions.

“On that first reunion tour in 2005, I could see how Vince Neil might have been out of shape,” a friend said recently. “He didn’t know things would go so well and it could have been a one-time-only event. But now, all these tours later, why is he still only able to sing every third or fourth word of a lyric? Can’t he get it together? That’s just embarrassing.”

“Because,” I replied, “he famously does not give a fuck.”

And that is precisely why I should not have been surprised at level of outright awfulness of Neil’s memoir Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen.

But I was.

This book sets a new standard in offensively cashing in on the hard rock and heavy metal memoir craze. Critics lampoon the money grabs of Gene Simmons and KISS. But even the long-tongued-marketing-master doesn’t rub shit in his fans’ faces to the degree that Tattoos & Tequila does.

The book begins with an introduction from co-author Mike Sager who explains that Neil missed the first appointment to work on Tattoos & Tequila. Later in the introduction, he explains that “Sunday football took precedence over interview time. Occupying his usual reserved table at the sports book at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa was clearly a higher priority than this autobiography.” Clearly, the book buying public isn’t entirely stupid and we recognize that frequently celebrity memoirs are the product of management teams and public relations stunts. However, it’s rare that one of those books actually brags about it.

Sager, it’s worth noting is a talented, highly experienced, and well-published writer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t familiar with Neil and the Crue prior to writing the book. As a result of Sager’s lack of heavy metal knowledge and Neil’s presumed lack of interest in proof-reading, the book features major mistakes that standout like a mis-fretted C chord.

For example, in the early nineties, Neil led a solo outfit that consisted of rockers who weren’t household names but were well-known to fans of the genre. The group consisted of Steve Stevens and Dave Marshall on guitar, Robbie Crane on bass, and Vikki Foxx on drums. “Foxx didn’t last long; she was replaced by my old buddy Randy Castillo,” the book states. Problem is, Vikki (Vik) Foxx is a man, baby. It’s easy to guess how this mistake happened: The singer mentioned the percussionist’s name in an interview, Sager didn’t know the genre enough to realize that Vikki is not a female in this instance, and then Neil never bothered to edit the manuscript.

We don’t have to guess that Neil didn’t pore over the manuscript with a red pencil because he flat out tells us that he ain’t gonna do it. He explains that dyslexia makes reading a challenge, which is certainly understandable. No one expects him to be Harold Bloom. But I might suggest refraining from telling your fans — the very people who paid twenty something bucks for this book — that “I probably won’t read it myself.”

The rocker isn’t the only one who seems to lack a critical gaze. In one section, Neil’s mother, Shirley Ortiz Wharton, makes a concerted effort to correct what she considers a misstatement in The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. She explains that although her son’s earliest rock groups did play at house parties where the parents were present, the singer’s father did not hang out with the kids. “He was a grown man. He did not dance with little girls.” However, a few pages later, Neil himself states, “Dad had a great time dancing with the girls.”

Parts of Tattoos & Tequila are presented as an oral history and parts of it are presented as a memoir. The fact that it can’t really settle on a genre is yet another one of the book’s problems. But if Mom goes out of her way to say one thing and Son goes out of his way to the exact opposite, shouldn’t someone address the discrepancy? In an oral history, where everyone has their own opportunity to speak, contradictions are to be expected. But this book is Neil’s. It’s his story. And to leave the pages littered with contradictions and mistakes reduces the overall quality to the equivalent of a garage band demo recording, not a multiplatinum polished release.

The presence of The Dirt lingers in this book, like the buzz in your ears that lasts for days after a loud concert. While bandmates Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx have tried to cover different territory in their nonfiction projects, Vince Neil basically sticks to the same straightforward biographical plot. He even mentions The Dirt several times, sometimes with affection, other times with criticism. The title of Neil’s solo literary endeavor is even an allusion to the book his band produced years ago.

As this particular book progresses, Neil seems to present himself as more businessman than rocker, discussing his tattoo parlor, tequila business, airline, and other ventures. Tattoos & Tequila is just one more product in the ever-growing Vince Neil mini-empire. “So forgive me if it’s a bit hard for me to slice open a vein and let my blood run red all over this page for you,” he writes. “Somebody thinks it’s a good idea for me to tell my story, so I’m gonna tell it.”

We know these memoirs are products. We know they are opportunities for musicians to make a few bucks and increase their public profile. But you don’t have to flaunt that fact.

Vince Neil has generated mixed emotions among Motley Crue fans for decades. Some of even the most devoted followers have considered him to be immensely unlikeable. Personally, I was always on the fence. I remembered those wonderful tours back during the eighties, around the time of the group’s Shout at the Devil album and how Neil was one of the baddest fucking frontmen in the world. For years, I defended him to friends who laughed at his makeover shows on cable television. Unfortunately, Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen sealed the deal for me. It’s the only book I can remember where I wanted to get a refund.

In the future, I’ll undoubtedly give Motley Crue the band more of my entertainment dollars. But I won’t ever do so for Vince Neil again. Tattoos & Tequila represents the worst of the heavy metal book trend.