Rock stars – to the core
Went to the annual book-sale and bought “I am Ozzy“. I know it’s long overdue but I rarely have the time or energy for reading nowadays.
I love biographies, especially rock-bios. They can shed a new light on the artist’s music and make it even more interesting.
Suddenly, you get those subtle little things, you understand bits and pieces in a song that you only interpreted your own way before. When you get somebody’s background, and a clearer idea of their personality, it just kinda changes the interpretation of their music a bit. Well, that’s the way it works for me anyway.
One of the first rock’n’roll biographies I ever read was “And I Don’t Want to Live This Life“, about Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious’ girlfriend. I read that book over and over again, it looked like shit after a while, it was all worn out. Not that she had anything to do with the actual music but she is a part of music history in a way, the more tragic part of it.
The second one I think was “No One Here Gets Out Alive“, about Jim Morrison. He was just… crazy. I’m not even sure I liked the person he was described as in that book, but I think I might have been too young when I read it. Some things are easier to understand when you get older and have a bit more experience… I might read that again someday.
The last book I read was Lemmy’s bio “White Line Fever“. It was funny, definitely different from most biographies and just very… Lemmy. He has a kind of arrogant sarcasm that you associate with the person he is known as, that cool rocker who personifies rock’n’roll. It was a lot more interesting to go back to old Motorhead albums after reading that book. Once you think you understand the person better, you also understand his music better.
A biography that really moved me was Nikki Sixx’ “Heroin Diaries“. It was so naked, so stripped down, so dirty and raw. It is extremely touching because you can clearly see the tormented soul behind all that rockstar-drug-addict-crap.
He was hiding nothing in Heroin Diaries. It must have taken a lot of guts to do it, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have published that book if he hadn’t grown as a person, become more confident and more secure with who he is.
I was bawling my eyes out when I read it, cause a lot of it also reminded me a lot of someone I knew. That book actually helped that friend of mine and I’m eternally grateful to Nikki for writing it.
And now Ozzy. I’ve only just started reading it, but I already get an idea of who he is and the chaos he’s been dealing with his whole life.
He admits to insanity running in the family, but at the same time I can’t help wondering if his insanity is actually more sane in some strange way, than what we call “normal“…
He might be crazy, but there is a lot of logic in his perception of the world and his reality. Most of all, dispite all that madness that he has made his trademark over the years, he comes across as a very warm and caring person, in his own Ozzy-way.
[@ 2:45 approx…]
I immediately thought of a segment in one of the OzTV-episodes when he was praising Gus G for his playing, trying to encourage him to take his rightful place in history as a great guitarplayer in his own right. He is not just Zakk Wylde’s-successor – he is Gus fuckin’ G!
That part moved me to tears. Like a father-figure, Ozzy was trying to teach this young guy how to fly, how to spread his wings and go wherever he wants to go. It was a wonderful moment.
I can’t wait to finish the book.
I started reading Bruce Dickinson’s bio too but never finished it. Same with Rick Springfield’s “Late, late at night“. I will. I find it inspiring to read those books.
What I’m looking for is never the scandal stories, although you usually get those anyway, it kind of comes with the territory, but I’m looking for a portrait of the person behind the music. The person, when he’s stripped down to just being a PERSON instead of being a “rockstar“. That’s when it gets interesting. That’s when I can connect and relate, and understand. I admire those who have the balls to put themselves out there and open up to the whole world without fear.
I respect and admire those who can express their thoughts and emotions, without restrictions, without limits and most of all those who are brave enough to leave the image and the rockstar pesona that they created – or just somehow became victims of.
I would really like to write Gus G’s bio, because he is an interesting person. He is mysterious in the sense that he never talks about himself on a personal, deeper level, or maybe people are just too afraid to ask.It feels like such a waste when the only thing people ever want to know when they’re interviewing Gus, is what strings, amps or pedals he uses. Of course they do, he’s a guitar hero. But he is exactly the kind of artist that I would want to know more about as a person.
I was sitting there one day with tons of questions buzzing through my head. I wrote them down and next thing I knew, I had 3 pages with questions. The path from Thessaloniki, Greece to the world arenas with Ozzy... You tell me there’s not a damn interesting story there already!
Gus felt it was too soon for a bio, he was “just beginning” to build his career. “Maybe in ten years”.
I will be following his career with great interest, not only because he’s an amazing guitarplayer, but because he sticks out as the down-to-earth guy. I hope someday to be able to find out who the man behind the guitar really is.
Even if I don’t get the honor to write the story of his life, but someone else does, I hope it will reveal who this guitar-wiz truly is. That’s something that I’ll be looking forward to.
That might be a future project, to write biographies. It takes a lot of time and and patience to do all that background research and then put it together to something that people will enjoy reading – just the way I love to lose myself in these biographies.
But for now, I’ll leave the PC to go enjoy my copy of “I am Ozzy“….
Got a few rock books but only one of those you mentioned: Lemmy’s one. He was around at the start of rock ‘n’ roll and assures us there was absolutely nothing before that came along! Not something I can imagine, living in a time where there was only jazz or something! I’ve got ‘The Dirt’ and that Nikki Sixx book sounds like it expands further on his persona, it was really only hinted at in The Dirt. One thing in that annoyed me a little was Vince’s account of the Razzle crash, apart from counting him as Finnish (he wasn’t) it didn’t really come over that he was remorseful. Rudy Sarzo’s book ‘Off The Rails’ is good detailing his time with Ozzy and more to the point, his time with Randy Rhoads. But I must be honest, since the 2002 reissue debacle of ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Diary’, I’ve lost a lot of respect for Ozzy. I’m one of many who slagged the 2002 versions (where they replaced Daisley and Kerslake) of ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Diary’ on Amazon and this latest reissue (restoring the original bass/drum parts) doesn’t right a wrong for me, it’s merely an admission that they stuffed up in 2002. I don’t blame Gus G for taking such a high-profile gig and I wish him all the best (he is a great guitarist I agree) but I’d only watch him with Firewind, I just don’t see Ozzy in the same light any more.The other book I’ve got is Paul Di’Anno’s ‘The Beast’ . Great if you want lurid tales of debauchery (on almost every page!) but I dunno, it comes across as too much. There’s only so many times you can read how he walloped someone or over-indulged with booze, drugs, women before you think ‘hasn’t he learned by now?’ The bit where he describes how he nearly killed his own guitarist makes sickening reading.He’s just been convicted of benefit fraud in this country and is going to be sentenced this month, considering he made no secret of his touring on his own website, you wonder what he was thinking!
I absolutely agree with you on the Vince Neil-thing. I always loved Motley Crue but after reading The Dirt I didn’t even think it was cool or funny – any of the shit that they were trying to sell as “the rock’n’roll lifestyle”. They only came across as absolute morons, I couldn’t even listen to their records for a few years because of that book. Luckily, Heroin Diaries is totally different. A LOT different and I love it because Nikki actually gets to a point there where he understands how his behavior had affected other people and tries to make changes in his life. That “detail” makes all the difference. There wasn’t anything like that in “The Dirt”. So I would definitely recommend Heroin Diaries.Paul DiAnno… I guess he didn’t put himself in a particularly positive light with his bio. I wonder if it’s a common misconception to think that if you dig out as much filth as possible it will make it more “rock’n’roll”. I don’t subscribe to that.