Rock memoirs make reading seem like cheating. Essentially, they are episodes of Behind The Music bound in paperback form and packed with sordid details that you could never get away with on cable. Sure, they're not all easy to read due to the fact that many musicians are so burned out by the time they're book-worthy that the details of their lives are admittedly hazy (or in the case of Nikki Sixx's The Heroin Diaries, the font itself is illegible.)
But when done correctly, rock memoirs are some of the most captivating collections of stories you can find anywhere on Amazon. While everyone from Keith Richards to Duff McKagan to, yes, Fieldy from Korn have penned their tales in recent years there are still a handful of artists who are still going strong that we wish had manuscripts at our local library in order to inspire (and corrupt) young minds everywhere.
Last year, Pantera bassist Rex Brown released his memoir Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera and while that's still on our reading list, we'd really love to hear the story from the point of view of Pantera's frontman Phil Anselmo, who is one of the most interesting guys in metal. From singing for the Texas metal band to overdosing on heroin and his obsession with horror films, there seems to be no dull moment or lack of opinions when it comes to Anselmo's life. In fact, aside from Pantera's Vulgar Display Of Power and Far Beyond Driven, one of our favorite things Anselmo has ever done is his 2009 talk at Loyola University which is available in seven parts on YouTube and should be required viewing for anyone who wants a glimpse into the dangers of drug use. Anselmo is also still creating vital and respectable music as evidenced by the promo we just received of Down's Down IV — Part Two, which comes out on May 13 and was aptly recorded at Anselmo's own studio, Nodferatu's Lair.
Suggested title: Cow-book from Hell
Like their peers in Pantera, the Guns N' Roses camp has spurred its share of memoirs including Slash's Slash and Duff McKagan's incredibly well-written take on the GN'R years titled It's So Easy: And Other Lies. However we would love to know what the band's enigmatic frontman has been doing over the past few decades since the details into his personal life have been so rare and unexpected. For example, how did his look evolve from a kilt-wearing shirtless scrapper to a dreaded out dude in a hockey jersey? What was the recording process of Chinese Democracy really like and what exactly was his creative vision? And finally, what is Axl's personal life like, a debaucherous den of sin or a pity party that involves lots of Bugles and Boy Meets World? Our friend Brian Diaz recently wrote a book about his time as a tech for GN'R called 1800 Miles To Nowhere that will hopefully tide you over until Rose decides to take control of his legacy himself. Just have a little "patience," people.
Suggested title: Paradise City: A Roadmap
NOFX frontman Fat Mike may be 47 years old but the dude parties like he just got his first fake ID—and NOFX songs like "Drugs Are Good" and "Cokie The Clown" are far from fictional. However, not a ton is known about Mike's personal life that can be gathered outside of material from his band such as "My Orphan Year," which chronicles the death of both his mother and father during the same block of time. For that reason, we'd love to see a tell-all book about the genesis of NOFX, what it's like being in a punk band for 30 years, and more of the insane stories which we got to see firsthand in the band's excellent television series Backstage Passport. Think about it, now that Mike is engaged to self-described "Lifestyle Domestic Abuser and Professional Ass-Kicking Rubber Fetishist, Sex Anarchist" Soma Snakeoil, we're imaging his daily routine is probably more fantastic than anything a science fiction writer could ever dream up.
Suggested title: Reading in Drublic
You think the toughguys in your town's local hardcore band are intimidating? We bet that they're nothing compared to Deicide's Glen Benton who has repeatedly branded an inverted cross into his forehead. For starters, we'd love to hear about the story behind Benton's previous claims that he would kill himself at age 33 (we can't blame him for changing his mind as we wouldn't go through with this either) and his relationship with the dark lord. But really, we'd just like to get into the mindset of a guy who could write death metal anthems like "Sacrificial Suicide" and "Dead By Dawn" to find out what inspired this type of darkness and find out how cathartic it is to tap into this side of himself. Say what you will about him, but people have clearly connected to his message as evidenced by the fact that that Deicide have been releasing death metal masterpieces since 1990. Finally, we'd also love to know what his favorite Pixar film is. OK, we'll go first, Finding Nemo. Your move, Benton.
Suggested title: In Torment In Hell and Other Anecdotes
Wayne Coyne is an interesting guy and not only because he has figured out some Benjamin Button-esque way to age in reverse. That said, we're sure he's amassed plenty of stories over the past 53 years on this planet. From being held at gunpoint as a teenager working at Long John Silver's in Oklahoma to dreaming up iconic albums like The Soft Bulletin, landing in Dell commercials and releasing albums inside of chocolate skulls, Coyne has had one of the most unique and creative careers in music history. While the 2005 documentary The Fearless Freaks tells the group's tale to an extent, we'd love to hear a full life story from the point of view of this psychedelic songwriter himself. Hell, this is something that we wish Hollywood would make into a movie instead of the latest remaining of Arthur or whatever other incredibly original idea executives are working on right now.
Suggested title: Clouds Taste Metallic but This Book Doesn't
Glenn Danzig is an enigma wrapped in a Devilock. He fronted the Misfits, one of the most legendary punk acts of all-time, yet refuses to get back together with them preferring to indulge in his love of Japanese animations, classical composers, and conspiracy theories. We could start out by learning about how the Misfits started out in the late 70s in Lodi, New Jersey; hear about his stylistic progression through Samhaim and Danzig; and, maybe most of all, just know what a typical day in the life of Danzig is like. (For some reason, we bet it involves a lot of protein powder.) And if there's space, sure, we'd like to know about the beefs he's had from everyone to his ex-bandmates to that dude in the North Side Kings who knocked him out on tape and went on to write a book about it. Oh, finally, it would be cool to hear him spit some apocalyptic shit about how the gods kill or whatever.
Suggested title: America's Dark Sweetheart
Jonah Bayer currently owes $3476.25 to the New York Public Library. Make a citizen's arrest on Twitter - @mynameisjonah