Autobiographies are a two-sided coin… They can either be really really interesting and inspiring and mind-changing, or they can be total and utter “Yawn!”
Luckily the autobiographies I have chosen to read this far are great, thanks to my taste in people and their respective industries. Funnily enough all the autobiographies I own belong to icons in the music industry. You’ve got to agree- this industry is something we all loathe and love at the same time. I certainly have a strong opinionated relationship with music.
But let us start!
“Slash” by Slash and Anthony Bozza- the very first autobiography I bought and read. I love Guns n’ Roses, I love Slash and I love a crazy story. My love for the band was planted by my Father (who is a massive rocker and roller underneath his very big, boring and calm body). The book drew me in from the very beginning. It is always interesting to know that a lot of people who do actually make it big have so many horrid flaws. The person’s ability to withstand all-sorts-of-shit to be strong enough to crawl out of it- that’s something else. Musician parents, 70s… Slash would have been your regular teenager drinking, smoking and fucking. Nothing new there. Typically feeling that he was fit for nothing else other than BMX riding, he found a guitar and became one with it! Man, what a union it is! Slash has done so many drugs, drank so many bottles of booze and had so many blow jobs a lot of us couldn’t probably handle it. At the same time I am not jealous of the lifestyle. Living through the motions with the book as my medium did me well and good enough.
It is unreal how an inside story can change your view about the people you thought were wicked cool. Even though I kind of expected it to be this way I was rather stunned how bad things were with Axl at times. I mean a Geordie, or Essex, native drama queen wouldn’t be able to muster up all that drama wearing high heels and crying over a chips and curry. Axl was and is a true diva. Yet- these emotions were what made him. What made the songs. What made everyone fall in love with Guns n’ Roses.
No music celebrity is off the hook when it comes to battling their demons- drink and drugs. You either get swallowed whole by the party scene with mountains of cocaine and rivers of whiskey, or you get your act together and make more music. The best part about getting your act together is probably the fact it would save your life by adding extra 25 years to life expectancy (not always though, for some- poison is lifeblood, as you will read later) Funnily enough, putting aside all the white-nosed, slurred speech moments Slash loves his music and I think it’s the only thing apart from his family that just keeps him going straight.
Slash, after breaking away from Guns, did a few projects in Velvet Revolver and is now touring with his solo-projects with Myles Kennedy as his vocalist. I saw Slash perform at the Download Festival in 2010. One item off the bucket-list.
“The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell” by Marilyn Manson and Neil Strauss – Now, here is a controversial character. Manson is either more of a human than any of us, or he is a total fruitcake. Take it as you want it- I admire him. In the book you’ll read about his experiences in a Catholic school, about his pervy grandfather’s basement and how he came to be who he is. There is definitely a shock-factor there, but, hey- it sells. He pisses people off so badly, they make him rich. Manson, alongside Satan has kept the Church on their toes for sure. You’ll find out that Brian is a shy kid who gets fed up by religion and decides to put his own ideas out there. And boy, does he do it well. It is hard not to know about him. He dresses like a transsexual Dracula, he sings of doom and gloom, he is the Antichrist. Fearsome!
You will also find out that underneath all this show and embarrassing (to some) acting on stage he is more than meets the eye. The way he speaks, the thoughts he thinks- there’s more there than a simple “get famous, do drugs, be rich and die” aspirations. He is intelligent and he could fight you in a debate and win without breaking a sweat.
I like him. He stands out from the masses and he pushes the buttons that need to be pushed. His originality is unique. And if there’s something we need in this world- it’s just that- originality. Something new and fresh. Well, he is old now, but his act will never age. And actually 45 isn’t really old, but… Manson still feels like a fresh stinging offence in the face of the god-fearing. As a contrast to his “evilness” he loves his parents. His father has been supportive and sadly his mother passed away a little while ago. Manson, though blamed in every god awful thing, specially in the States, is still loved by his family. Makes you think…
“I Am Ozzy” by Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres- It almost feels as if I have created a 1 to 3 list of men in music going from bad to worse. I also have to admit that 10 years ago I wasn’t a huge fan of Ozzy’s vocals. But well, naturally as one ages one gets smarter. So did I and now I hate my younger self for not loving Ozzy for longer. From the beginning.
Ozzy’s book will take you through his life of total shitfest. His jobs, his mishaps, his bad habits. It’s unreal this man is still alive. When asked what would be the craziest thing Ozzy has done in his life, I would be unable to give you just one answer.
Ozzy has worked in a slaughterhouse which didn’t fare too well for him. He used to work in a car horn factory. That’s right. A loud bloody profession. Anyway, factory work is factory work- a nuisance. There were these sections in the factory where workers were obliged to carry a mask due to high level of toxicity … whatever it was … Ozzy didn’t mind. He plodded in, no mask, lifted off the lid and took a great aul sniff every day to get his kicks.
Another time himself and Sharon were in Europe, touring. Having a fancy meal in a fancy restaurant. Ozzy got ballsnaked, hopped on the table and pissed in the managers wineglass.
Ozzy has probably done more drugs than Manson and Slash combined. Ozzy has drunk more booze than the 2 combined and I think the poisons are as necessary to Ozzy as breathing air. Scratch that. They are more important.
He is the Prince of Darkness. Glory and awe!
Crazy man who once nearly killed his wife Sharon. The poor woman. When she wrote about it in her own autobio the hairs on my back were standing. How do you even deal with a situation like this? Ozzy had gotten flattened on booze and pills, as one would, and Sharon was reading a book, nicely tucked in on the couch. In walks Ozzy, up from his slumber. Sits in front of Sharon and told her that they had come to a decision. They, who? We’ll never know because next moment Ozzy was on top of her, strangling her.
Once Ozzy got his addictions under a certain control, let’s face it- you could never separate this man from booze and drugs, he was a really nice fella. A father, a husband, a little weird with TV remotes.
Why is it, that underneath all these crazy, terrifying and hated (by some) people always hides a totally different person? Almost from another realm, from another dimension, from another lifetime… These 3 autobios have taken me along to the craziest journeys of my lifetime and have taught me one thing- I will never … never-ever… want to become a rockstar. There is just no way one could be a Slash, or a Manson, or Ozzy and not be totally smacked off on powder and liquid… If it’s not the party dragging you to the bottom of the bottle, it will be the pressure. And I think there is a certain loneliness attached to the “famours-factory”. The almost certain expectation that once you’re a rocker, you’re also an abusive alcoholic? They have done some wicked things that some of us wouldn’t even dream of thinking about. I am not talking about throwing the TV’s out of hotel windows. Much much meaner stuff. But they have also been nice to people. They have also loved and they have created some great music.
“White Line Fever” by Lemmy Kilmeister from Motorhead is also on my shelf, next to Sharon Osbourne’s autobio.
Next to read on the autobio list is Kurt Cobain. His music has always made me feel like Kurt was a deep bottomless mystical persona.
I know there is a lot of booze and drugs and “things of unspoken measure” in this post, but these things have happened. They are good and bad. Some things impossible to ever be proud of and others worth being remembered for decades. These people have put their names down into the history books.
Everything is achievable! Slash didn’t give up when he didn’t have money for nothing- he kept playing and looking for opportunities. Manson didn’t give up when lawsuits kept getting filed- he can’t be blamed for other people’s actions. Ozzy didn’t give up when he was kicked out of Black Sabbath. He had Sharon who believed in him and made him even better by flying solo.
Thing is- no matter how deep down in crap we sometimes are, we will still have supporters by our side to spoonfeed us hope. To lovingly yet hurtfully kick our backside to spring us on our feet again. We all have families that love us. So do the three lads- Manson, Slash and Ozzy. Behind all the madness they are just people.
They are people who have lived through it all, have tried it all, seen it all and been it all. A lesson to take away from this is that in the end we all stop the madness. We stop acting the maggot. We quit the brainless boozing. We all grow up and look back on the mental days and sigh… regret… wish we hadn’t… So why start? Learn from the veterans of Fuck-Ups and don’t go down the road which has never took anyone anywhere. Yes, you might become a legend on somebody’s bookshelf but that’s all… and that doesn’t really matter.