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Your Summer Reading List: Musician Autobiographies

Andi Harriman Update on 29-05-2017
Your Summer Reading List: Musician Autobiographies

It's always great to settle down with a good book - but nothing really beats getting buried deep in the pages of a new read while you're on vacation, or simply outside enjoying the sunshine. That's why we've compiled some of the best books we know and love into our very own RebelsMarket summer reading series. This week - we're taking a look at some of the top alternative musician autobiographies that should totally make your summer reading list: 

Rockstars aren’t like most of us. They’ve got hoards of groupies, piles of the finest drugs and endless supplies money to spend on their every (drunken) whim—which is why we all want to be like them. Their autobiographical tales of endless tours and arrests, near death experiences and bouts with rehab seem to be the norm with fame and popularity in the music business. And, when considering that, maybe all the sex, drugs and rock n roll isn’t as charming as it might seem from the outside.

The following musician autobiographies—from punk, to new wave, to metal—prove that rockstars are more like us than it may seem: they loved and lost, tried and failed, succeeded and found themselves at rock bottom (with lots of sex and drugs in between).

 

Cosey Fanni Tutti, Art Sex Music

book cover of cosey fanni tutti's autobiography Art, Sex, Music

Source: Amazon

If there was ever a musician autobiography to be written, it would be Cosey’s. From pornographic model to pioneering electronic musician, her four-decade-long artistic tale of pushing boundaries for women in music is an inspiring one (including getting arrested for indecent exposure). As a member of industrial greats, Throbbing Gristle and later Chris & Cosey, she’s got more than enough stories to tell.

 

Peter Hook, Substance: Inside New Order

Alternative music autobiograpgy classic cover of Peter Hook's Substance: Inside New Order

Source: Amazon

This book is a hefty one and is quite thorough, but that’s everything you want in an autobiography, right? Hook’s 3rd book, after his Joy Division and Haçienda ones, is an energetic tale of his life in one of the most popular bands of the 1980s; New Order. The book recalls Hook’s drug taking (mainly coke and ecstasy) with a little bit of music in between—you’ll laugh through his stories of bandmate feuds and his drunken bouts with celebrities. Hook includes timelines and track-by-track analyses of every New Order album. A must-read for any fan.

 

Lita Ford, Living Like a Runaway

Book cover for rock sensation Lita Ford's alt music autobiography Living Like a Runaway

Source: Amazon

As the badass guitarist of the 1970s punk band The Runaways (where Joan Jett got her start as well) to her hard rock solo career, Lita Ford has broken all the rules. Ford was the metal queen of the 1980s as she collaborated and shared the stage with everyone from Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi (to whom she was engaged), Jon Bon Jovi and Eddie Van Halen. Her tale is a tragic one, full of heartbreak and isolation, but a journey that is unlike anyone else’s—a true story of a survivor.

 

David J Haskins, Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction

Book cover for David J Haskins Autobiography Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction

Source: Amazon

Haskins’ take on his time as bassist in Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and Love & Rockets is a beautifully written composition that is impossible to put down—his voice and intelligence manifests through the pages. How did the seminal goth song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” come to fruition? He covers this and much more, including almost unbelievable stories about William Burroughs and Genesis P. Orridge.  

 

Lol Tolhurst, Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Summer reading list autobiography of Lol Tolhurst, called Cured: The tale of two imaginary boys

Source: Amazon

As one of the founding members of The Cure, Tolhurst recounts his journey with one of the most well-loved bands of the 1980s. From bar fights to police feuds, Cured is about the adventures and deep friendship Tolhurst had with Cure frontman, Robert Smith. The book also speaks about Tolhurt’s crippling alcoholism, his journey to become sober and, most of all, forgiveness—it will certainly bring a tear (or two) to your eye. 

 

Al Jourgensen, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen

Alternative musician autobiography of Al Jourgensen, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen

Source: Amazon

From poppy synthwave to thrashing metal industrial, Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen has seen and been through everything. This book is a (somewhat) true account of the hard drugs, alcohol and sex that you’d think would likely kill someone. But Jourgensen, despite it all, has survived—and lived to tell about it. Some of the stories Jourgensen recalls are almost so unbelievable—such as his time in the insane asylum and his rendezvous with the patients in the women’s ward—that you might think he even dreamt it up himself. Fictional or not, the book is hilarious and terrifying all at the same time.

 

John Lydon, Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

Book cover for Jonny Rotten's autobiography Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

Source: Amazon

Sex Pistols frontman, John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, is undoubtedly a legend—his band created punk, after all. Their music and attitude sparked a subculture that exploded into the mainstream, pissed off the rich and changed the way music was made. His post-Pistols band Public Image Ltd (PiL) maintained status as an 80s alternative mainstay with the hit “Rise” while his song “World Destruction” with Afrika Bambaataa merged genres and continued to push boundaries of music. Lydon’s recount of his life is one of controversy and excitement, a story of a true pioneer. 

 

Johnny Marr, Set the Boy Free

Alternative musician autobiography book cover for Johnny Marr, Set the Boy Free

Source: Amazon

The Smiths iconic and seminal guitarist, Johnny Marr, is one of the 1980s most important musicians. His distinct guitar playing and musicianship is instantly recognizable and has helped The Smiths become one of the most well-loved bands of all time. As the sidekick to the theatrical Morrissey, Marr’s book tells about his personal struggles and feuds with the frontman. It was the tension between the two that eventually led to the demise of the band—a rivalry that still lingers on today. Marr’s book provides a much needed and new perspective on the infamous Smiths story. 

What are some of your favorite musician autobiographies? Comment below!

Title Image: Manchester Evening News