Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From The Lives Of Metal Legends- Jon Wiederhorn (Diversion Books)

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   An interesting concept this one, try to round up as many musicians as possible to reveal all that happens behind the curtain. The stuff you can't capture on your cell phone. The stuff they don't want you to know. What goes on tour stays on tour. The tragic, the funny, the drinking, the travelling, the boredom. Says a lot about Jon as a writer that not only has he pulled it off the sheer number of contributors surprised the hell out of me.

   What we have here are over 400 pages of stories from a wide array of hard rock and metal artists ranging from Erik Turner of Warrant to Rob Halford of Judas Priest. There's the old school and the new school and funnily enough a lot of their tales are similar and sometimes there's the rub of the book. The names change but the stories stay the same. There's a chapter on vomiting if that's your thing. It's amazing what musicians get up too out of sheer boredom, ethics aren't the only thing that gets thrown out windows. Some of the behaviour is downright appalling.

   There's a chapter on Spinal Tap moments and another on practical jokes that made me chuckle out loud. There are many Dimebag stories, how could there not be? The lengths a band will go to make a show are also told, some of them tragic and others idiotic. When they get there what about the crowd reception and dealing with them when hostile, well there's a chapter on that too and many many more.

   It's the kind of book you can pick up every now and again and not read strictly in the order it's laid out, there are certain chapters I started with mostly the ones I knew would make me laugh. You think life on the road is fun and the only thing a musician has to worry about are the brown M&Ms in the bowl, well think again. An enjoyable read that should give you new found appreciation for the guys standing in front of you belting out the tunes.


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