WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
It’s that time of year again when you’re trying to find something to get the music lover in your life that they don’t already have, didn’t know they needed and what no one else thought to get them.
It’s not as daunting a task as it may seem, because you’ve got Rock Music Menu to help you out weave through the endless lists of “must haves” and what’s junk.
This week, I’ve got the biographies that any music fan will find captivating.
Joe Perry – ‘Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith’
Forget that old cliché about lawyers, guns and money. In his memoir ‘Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith,’ Joe Perry’s problems revolve around emotionally controlling managers, drugs, and Steven Tyler.
Since Aerosmith formed nearly four-and-a-half decades ago in Boston, the bumpy ride has included gallons of spilled milk that resulted in the guitarist spending five years estranged from group, an unlikely storybook return to form in the late-’80s, and continued strain with Tyler as recently as 2010 where the group publicly expressed a desire to replace him.
Tensions subsided, and on the heels of a successful summer tour, Perry was finally ready to tell his story, and in his words, ‘Rocks’ tells the whole story; “the loner’s story, the band’s story, the recovery story, the cult story, the love story, the success story, the failure story, the rebirth story, the re-destruction story, and the post-destructive rebirth story” of what came to pass over the next five decades and details the perks and perils that go hand-in-hand with an extreme rock and roll lifestyle.
‘Rocks’ landed in the top 10 on the New York Times bestseller list when it was released a couple months back.
Scott Ian – ‘I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax’
‘I’m the Man’ is a fast–paced, humorous, and revealing memoir from the man who co-founded Anthrax, the band that proved to the masses that brutality and fun didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Through various lineup shifts, label snafus, rock ‘n’ roll mayhem and unforeseen circumstances galore, Scott Ian approaches each unique situation with a smile, viewing the band with deadly seriousness while recognizing the ridiculousness of the entertainment industry. Always performing with abundant energy that revealed his passion for his craft, Ian has never let the gravity of being a rock star go to his shaven, goateed head.
Ian tells his life story with a clear-eyed honesty that spares no one, least of all himself, starting with his upbringing as a nerdy Jewish boy in Queens and evolving through his first musical epiphany when he saw KISS live on television and realized what he wanted to do with his life.
He chronicles his adolescence growing up in a dysfunctional home where the records blasting on his stereo failed to drown out the sound of his parents shouting at one another. He sets down the details of his fateful escape into the turbulent world of heavy metal. Of course, he lays bare the complete history of Anthrax — from the band’s formation to their present-day reinvigoration — as they wrote and recorded thrash classics like ‘Spreading the Disease,’ ‘Among the Living,’ and the charting ‘State of Euphoria.’
Along the way, Ian recounts harrowing, hysterical tales from his long tour of duty in the world of hard rock. He witnesses the rise of Metallica, for which he had a front row seat. He parties with the late Dimebag Darrell while touring with Pantera, escapes detection while interviewing Ozzy for “The Rock Show” while dressed as Gene Simmons and avoids arrest after getting detained on suspicion of drugs while riding the tube in England with the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.
‘I’m the Man’ might be about a metal band, but the stories contained within might as well be from a stand-up comedian. Whether you like Anthrax or not, you’ll definitely be enraptured with Ian’s life story.
Billy Idol – ‘Dancing with Myself’
It’s hard to believe given how ageless he looks, but Billy Idol was an early architect of punk rock’s sound, style and fury, whose lip-curling sneer and fist-pumping persona vaulted him into pop’s mainstream as one of MTV’s first megastars. He remains, to this day, a true rock ‘n’ roll icon.
In his long-awaited autobiography, Idol delivers an electric, honest account of his journey to fame -from his early days as front man of the pioneering UK punk band Generation X to the decadent life atop the dance-rock kingdom he ruled, delivered with the same in-your-face attitude and fire his fans have embraced for decades. Beyond adding his uniquely qualified perspective to the story of the evolution of rock, Idol is a brash, lively chronicler of his own career.
A survivor’s tale at its heart, the sometimes chilling and always riveting account of one man’s creative drive joining forces with unbridled human desire is unmistakably literary in its character and brave in its sheer willingness to tell.
To contact Michael Christopher, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out his blog at our sister publication www.delcotimes.com