I previously did a post about memoirs/autobiographies written by the ladies with the band. For this post, I’m going to recommend awesome books about the rockers in the band, whether memoirs, autobiographies, or biographies.
Read on to find out which books kept me up late at night.
For this post, I’m listing the blurbs instead of yammering on about what I thought of the book. Although I’ve read tons of biographies, memories, and autobiographies, these are the ones I recommend because each book grabbed me in its own special way.
Off the Rails by Rudy Sarzo: A fellow musician’s interesting insight into the beginning of Ozzy Osbourne s solo career and his relationship with Sharon Osbourne. This exciting biography also clears a lot of misinformation and bogus theories circulating around the late, great, guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads’ life and death. Written by journeyman rock bassist Rudy Sarzo, this is a first hand account of Rudy s experience on the road with Ozzy and his Blizzard of Ozz band. This is the book Sharon Osbourne doesn’t want you to read.
Heaven and Hell by Don Felder: Don Felder was just a poor boy from Florida, but when he joined the Eagles he soared into the stratosphere. Alongside former bandmates Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, and Felder’s childhood friend Bernie Leadon, he sold tens of millions of records (Eagles: Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 is the bestselling album of all time), performed before countless adoring fans, and co-wrote the renowned hit ‘Hotel California’. His guitar-playing ability lifted the band from mere popularity to iconic status.
And now Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles’ decades of public silence to take fans behind the scenes – where drugs, greed and endless acrimony threatened to tear the band apart almost daily. Maybe there was too much talent. Maybe the personalities clashed with the egos. Whatever the reason, there were always these explosive arguments going on while I sat silently in a corner. I never expected it to survive. Never once did I feel, ‘Hey, I got it made. This thing’s gonna last for years.’ Felder was wrong about that, but he was also right: the band split up in 1980, only to reunite for 1994’s mega-selling ‘Hell Freezes Over’ album and tour.But tempers continued to flare, and in 2001, after 27 contentious years as an Eagle, Felder was summarily fired by the ‘board of directors’: Frey and Henley. Lawsuits and counter-suits followed. In ‘Heaven and Hell’, Felder takes us inside the pressurised recording studios, the trashed hotel rooms and the tension-filled courtrooms, where he, Frey, and Henley had their ultimate confrontation.
Red by Sammy Hagar: Sammy Hagar—legendary lead singer of Van Halen, founder of the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand, and one of rock music’s most notoriously successful performers—tells his unforgettable story in this one-of-a-kind autobiography of a life at the top of the charts. From his decade-long journey alongside Eddie Van Halen to his raucous solo career with Chickenfoot and everything in between—the drugs, groupies, and excesses of fame, the outrageous stadium tours, and the thrill of musical innovation—Hagar reveals all in this treasure trove of rock-and-roll war stories. Red is a life-changing look at one of music’s biggest talents—an essential read for music fans and anyone dreaming of becoming rock’s next number one star.
Van Halen Rising by Greg Renoff: After years of playing gigs everywhere from suburban backyards to dive bars, Van Halen — led by frontman extraordinaire David Lee Roth and guitar virtuoso Edward Van Halen — had the songs, the swagger, and the talent to turn the rock world on its ear. The quartet’s classic 1978 debut, Van Halen, sold more than a million copies within months of release and rocketed the band to the stratosphere of rock success. On tour, Van Halen’s high-energy show wowed audiences and prompted headlining acts like Black Sabbath to concede that they’d been blown off the stage. By the year’s end, Van Halen had established themselves as superstars and reinvigorated heavy metal in the process.
My Life with Deth by David Ellefson: One of the hardest headbangers of heavy metal shares his uplifting and empowering memoir about overcoming addiction and discovering a life of faith.
In My Life with Deth, cofounder and bassist of Megadeth David Ellefson reveals the behind-the-scenes details of life in one of the world’s most popular heavy metal bands. If you’re looking for eye-opening revelations, they’re here, including the drug habits that brought the band members to their knees.
But My Life with Deth is far more than just another memoir of debauchery. Ellefson also shares the story of his faith journey, which began when he decided his only choice for survival was to get free from his addiction.
The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx: Set against the frenzied world of heavy metal superstardom, the co-founder of Motley Crue offers an unflinching and gripping look at his own descent into drug addiction. It follows him during the year he plunged to rock bottom and his courageous decision to pick himself up and start living again.
The Dirt by Motley Crue: Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend. They nailed the hottest chicks, started the bloodiest fights, partied with the biggest drug dealers, and got to know the inside of every jail cell from California to Japan. They have dedicated an entire career to living life to its extreme, from the greatest fantasies to the darkest tragedies. Tommy married two international sex symbols; Vince killed a man and lost a daughter to cancer; Nikki overdosed, rose from the dead, and then OD’d again the next day; and Mick shot a woman and tried to hang his own brother. But that’s just the beginning. Fueled by every drug they could get their hands on and obscene amounts of alcohol, driven by fury and headed straight for hell, Mötley Crüe raged through two decades, leaving behind a trail of debauched women, trashed hotel rooms, crashed cars, psychotic managers, and broken bones that has left the music industry cringing to this day. All these unspeakable acts, not to mention their dire consequences, are laid bare in The Dirt.
Black Sabbath by Garry Sharpe-Young: For a full decade, Black Sabbath dominated heavy metal. As much as Led Zeppelin scorned the term, Black Sabbath embraced it. Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward conquered the music world, sold 50 million albums, and without compromise, delivered a pure, groundbreaking sound. In 1977, the unthinkable happened: Ozzy Osbourne decamped. He would be lured back for one last album, “Never Say Die,” before going solo; in his place, a succession of vocalists took up the challenge. Harried by the press at every turn, Tony Iommi nevertheless succeeded in breathing new life into the band time and again. With the band’s back catalog still in heavy demand, the albums crafted in these challenging times are now recognized as some of their finest. Here, with exclusive interviews with many of the players, is the definitive account of those years—the auditioning, songwriting, recording, and performances all examined in depth.
Neon Angel by Cherie Currie: The author recounts her teen-aged years as the lead singer of the all-girl rock band, the Runaways, her career as a movie actress, and her battle with drugs and alcohol.
There are also many books I want to read. So here’s a wishlist, although I doubt I’ll get to them because my TBR pile is too big.
Runnin’ with the Devil by Noel Monk (okay, I pre-ordered this and will read it because the book is about Van Halen!)
The Long Hard Road of of Hell by Marilyn Manson
Blacktooth Grin by Zach Cain (biography about Dimebag Darrell)
Not Dead and Not for Sale by Scott Weiland
Get in the Van by Henry Rollins
Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler
Rocks by Joe Perry
No Regrets by Ace Frehely
Autobiography by Morrisey
Iron Man by Tony Iommi
Kicking and Dreaming by Ann Wilson
Don’t Try This at Home by Dave Navarro
On a Cold Road by Dave Bidini
Crazy Enough by Storm Large
18 and Life on Skid Row by Sebastian Bach
Just a Man by Tina Hutchence (biography about Michael Hutchence)
What about you? Got any recs for me? Have you read anything I’ve covered on my list?