Does anyone read about musicians?

I’m reading “Hard to Handle” right now by the Black Crowes and it’s ok so far. I read “Serving the Servant” about Kurt Cobain and really liked it. Just wondered if anyone has read anything interesting about bands or musicians lately or even seen some good videos. I liked “ Slash on the Sunset Strip” off YouTube and “Montage of Heck” about Nirvana.

2 Likes

Reading about musicians has been a mixed bag for me. Have read and watched some fascinating stories, the latest Get Back series on the Beatles was just superb. On the other side, a friend loaned me his book about Motley Crew and I was aghast at how really despicable several of the band members were in the behaviours.

Several autobiographies about famous musicians have left me disillusioned with them so I’m more cautious now. I like to keep the music my main image of them.

2 Likes

@tony I get what you mean. I was reading about Steven Tyler in “ Does the noise in my head bother you? “ and it seemed mostly drugs and sex as subject matter which just wasn’t interesting to me. His childhood memories were more interesting because I didn’t know about that portion of his life at all.

1 Like

Yes, I often watch videos/docs on musicians whose music I’m working on. Gives me some perspective. Recently watched a doco on Peter Green, with interviews by those who worked with and knew him well. Brilliant guitarist obviously, but much sadness and tragedy throughout his life.

1 Like

@sclay There was a pretty good film I watched on Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys called “ Love and mercy”. It was good but sad. Seems like lots of really good musicians have kinda rocky lives.

1 Like

I’ve read Dave Grohls book “the storyteller” and it’s excellent. He’s is a surprisingly low key guy for a rocker. He talks a lot about his love of music, meeting his idols, how close he is with his mother, being a father. Worth a read or a listen (he narrates the audio book)

3 Likes

Not so far as having read any biographies. However I do frequently read backgrounds on Wikipedia and other articles. Just the highlights rather than the details that way.

Seems you quickly find out if someone is normal or a dirt bag.

1 Like

Yikes, I’d better check if there’s a wikipedia page about me.

1 Like

Hi ,

WARNING!!!
…Child alarm…don’t watch under the age of 16 or if you are sensitive to violence…

I watch about 1 music documentary every month for 2.5 years and the years before that a little less, … But as Tony says I had to process a lot of disillusions,… oh my god there are a lot of perverts and xssholes in this business…
But I learned a lot from this documentary…

Just a trailer that doesn’t really cover it as far as I’m concerned…but I think it’s a must see…and as you can see it’s not only fun (the opposite)…But as a person you will grow…
It starts after 1 minute
Greetings,Rogier

1 Like

Other than watching a documentary on the various mysteries revolving around Kurt Cobain’s death some years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever watched/read anything on any musician. It’s their music and the way it makes me think and feel that inspires me, not the person themselves. People are just people, talented or not.

I’ve also experienced what Tony mentioned, becoming totally disillusioned with musicians I did find out more about. I never listen to Metallica as a result, and haven’t done for over a decade. I don’t want any more music ruined for me, so best to keep the people that create it as mysterious as possible.

As the old saying goes, never meet your heroes… you’ll only be disappointed.

1 Like

I’ve also found some books quite hit and miss when it comes to musicians and bands, although Anthony Kiedis autobiography is a good read. However I tend to prefer watching documentaries to be honest, the recent series the BBC did om the Rolling Stones members was really well done.

Being a big Black Crowes fan however I can see myself enjoying Hard to Handle, must check it out!

1 Like

I read about music-related topics on Wikipedia quite a lot. As for the autobios I’ve read, the ones by Miles and Keith Richard are my favourite along with the one written by Hungarian musician Gábor Presser (the latter is quite well-written actually from an aesthetic aspect). They managed to get a good balance of stories and trade talk.

True, some of the stories can be disappointing but I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was disillusioned with any musician. I mean, they are people like everyone else, with their ups and downs and occasionally stupid life choices.

As for documentaries, No Direction Home (about Bob Dylan) is very good. Another favourite of mine is I Called Him Morgan which is about the trumpeter Lee Morgan. It has quite a backstory.

1 Like

That’s true, but I don’t feel disillusioned by people simply because they made a dumb decision or two. Many rock musicians have strong associations with drink and drugs, for example, which is something I would never do or condone. But I still enjoy their music.

However, if they have morals that totally oppose my own, and/or do something that really disgusts me as a human being then it’s different. I will no longer respect them as a person and will not be able to enjoy their music.

1 Like

Fair enough. I may not be so strict on what I can enjoy, e.g. I can still listen to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band or All Things Must Pass with just as much enjoyment despite them having been produced by Phil Spector.

2 Likes

Great topic!

I love books and I love music, so I read a fair number of biographies of my favorite artists. I’m more likely to read about someone whose lyrics have a lot of meaning for me, more than if I love their singing or playing. So, Dylan yes, Sinatra no. Springsteen yes, Mark Knopfler no. I love the Ramones, love 'em, but would not read a book about them. Also love the Clash and I recently read a tome on the life of Joe Strummer and it was awesome.

Oh, I also read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, an artist I didn’t know much about. It’s not particularly focussed on her music, but rather her life from the time she came to New York City when she was 20 or something. An excellent account of the NY scene in the '60s and '70s.

A book that really hit me was “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”, a biography of Warren Zevon, written by Crystal Zevon, his (ex-) wife, after his death. That dude had to live with some real demons.

I also have a few favorite movies about music: Walk the Line (about Johnny Cash) and Ray (Ray Charles) were both great. Also, Amadeus (not much guitar playing, though). And on the fictional side, Spinal Tap and School of Rock are both awesome.

1 Like

@roger_holland Personally I’m very disturbed by the history of our country. George Carlin (the comedian) was right about a lot of things and even after his death his commentary is relevant today.

1 Like

Hi Suzanne,
Yes indeed your country history is shameful in many ways…but “we” Dutch (and many other countries…almost all???..of course) have also done our very best to the people and the world to hurt in a mean ugly and much more way`s…
And then you would think that we now knew better :frowning_face:… well you and me and more here of course we know…, let’s draw hope from that… :unicorn:
Greetings,Rogier

2 Likes

@Goffik I watched a video as well on Kobain’s death. I feel like anyone in a public spotlight has to deal with lots of crazy stuff being said about them. It’s hard to separate the truth from the lies if you don’t know them personally. I was reading Naomi Judd’s book “River of Time” and then Ashley Judd’s book “All that is bitter and sweet” and they tell some of the same story from very different perspectives. So what happened becomes colored by people’s perspective or the person telling the story/incidents.

1 Like

@Notter Thanks for recommending Anthony Kiedis’ book. I don’t know if you know about the NPR tiny desk concerts on YouTube but I love those. They did have the Black Crowes on it.

1 Like

@Jozsef “I Called Him Morgan” looks interesting! Thank you for recommending it and Bob Dylan “No Direction Home”.

Speaking of dumb life choices I watched a YouTube video on The Final 24 hours of Janis Joplin. It was pretty good.

1 Like