Seven rock 'n' roll tell-alls from Keith Richards to Vince Neil
A year ago, the "just published" rock 'n' roll memoirs shelf was looking a bit thin. Don Felder's falling out with the Eagles and the separate tales of decadence in Aerosmith from Joey Kramer and Steven Tyler were the new arrivals, while Nikki Sixx's chronicles of heroin addiction were a year old and still a top seller.
That changed nine months ago with Ozzy Osbourne sharing his story. It was followed by a litany of hair bands, girl singers and weathered rock stars telling their side of an oft-told saga. Disenfranchised youth finds like-minded souls in a band. They do drugs and get a few hit records, then do more drugs. Everything comes easy and they stop believing in "the power of rock 'n' roll." The drug use rises, the desire to live dips. The world caves in. They muddle about and through music or a soulmate to rediscover a passion for living and prepare for the next chapter in their life. Every once in awhile -- Tommy James, Rosanne Cash and Patti Smith, to cite recent examples -- the stories are different.
Belinda Carlile of the Go-Go's and Karen Carpenter are among the latest lives to unfold in book form. Here's a look at seven current and upcoming rock 'n' roll tell-alls -- with sample lines from their press releases touting the reasons why their story is different.
1. Keith Richards, "Life" (Little, Brown; Oct. 26)
With an "enduring image as an outlaw folk hero," Richards brings "the story of a life we have all longed to know more of, unfettered, fearless, and true."
2. Howard Sounes, "Fab: The Life of Paul McCartney" (Da Capo; Oct. 26)
The "first exhaustive biography" of McCartney, the book shows him as "a man of contradictions and a consummate musician far more ruthless, ambitious and moody than his relaxed public image implies."
3. " Vince Neil: Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock's Most Notorious Frontmen" (Grand Central Publishing; Sept. 23)
"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. ... We are all very lucky we didn't kill ourselves. ... These days I've got businesses to run. I like the action. Something to get your heart pumping. Healthier than a syringe full of cocaine powder like I was doing back in '81 with my girlfriend Lovey, that's for sure."
4. Kristin Hersh, "Rat Girl" (Penguin; Aug. 31)
In 1985, Kristin Hersh was in college while her band Throwing Muses was getting signed. "Then, everything changed." She was diagnosed as bipolar, then discovered she was pregnant. "Suddenly, she found herself wondering whether antidepressants could be mixed with prenatal vitamins, how to balance a guitar on her swollen stomach, and whether a rock band could tour with an infant."
5. Dave Mustaine, "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir" (It Books; Aug. 3)
"Mustaine has battled through it all to achieve dizzying heights. From the early, heady days of Metallica, being unceremoniously let go only to become a world-famous rock star -- founder, front man, singer, songwriter and guitarist (and de facto CEO) for Megadeth. ... Mustaine's is a story that will inspire, stun and terrify."
6. Steven Adler, "My Appetite for Destruction: Sex and Drugs and Guns N' Roses" (Harper Collins; July 27)
"After 40 years, 28 ODs, three botched suicides, two heart attacks, a couple of jail stints and a debilitating stroke, Steven Adler, the most self-destructive rock star ever, is ready to share the shattering untold truth. ... With Adler's newfound clarity comes a fierce determination to tell it all."
7. Harry Shapiro, " Jack Bruce Composing Himself: The Authorized Biography" (Jawbone Press; March 1)
First published -- and well-received -- in the U.K., this book apparently was barely noticed upon arrival in the States. The former Cream bassist has led "an often troubled life -- heroin addiction, management rip-offs, family tragedy, and a failed liver transplant -- all of which he speaks about frankly in this authorized biography, telling a story that is sometimes inspirational, sometimes bleak, but always honest."