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Johnson, Brian
Rockers And Rollers: A Full Throttle Memoir (Book Review)
December 2013
Released: 2009, It Books
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I flipped through this book when it first came out a couple of years and didn’t like the price. Quite a while later I saw this is the bargain bin and decided to grab it. I’m an AC/DC fan and have lots of books about them, so I thought this would be a nice addition to the collection, but I’m glad I waited.

ROCKERS AND ROLLERS is a small hardcover that is 209 pages long and quite a few pictures on glossy plates in the middle. It is a quick, easy read. The main theme of the book is Brian Johnson’s love-affair with the automobile. The whole framework is based on cars and the various cars he has owned or wanted to own. As a multi-millionaire, singer of one of the world’s biggest Hard Rock bands, he has owned plenty of cars! He has knowledge and passion about cars and tells lots of short tales about his first car, his first motorcycle and so on. He is also a professional racer and has some interesting stories from the track. The book is laced with jokes, some low-brow, humour, and Johnson’s earthy personality shines through in his writing style. It’s entertaining and fun.

The major problem, for me is that I’m not a car guy. I can sense Johnson’s enthusiasm for the various cars he talks about but it is just out of my realm of experience or interest. In Chapter Three, Johnsons speaks of the sense of freedom that some people have when they pass their drivers exam and get their license. He says, “I’ll bet there is not one of you out there reading this who doesn’t remember that day, that feeling of freedom” (p. 6) I knew at that very moment, so early on in the book that ROCKERS AND ROLLERS was not for me, because I don’t remember my drivers exam or when or where I passed and I’ve never owned a car until I was almost 40. I recall a feeling of being burdened with more responsibility, the sense that I had to do more work, drive my little brothers around, do errands for the family. There was no ‘sports car and girl in the back seat’ experience for me, even now the vast majority of driving is a chore, traffic, construction, errands, so this book really doesn’t reflect my experiences and I could not relate to it. I'm not a car guy.

My main complaint is that there is not much substance to the book. The book is a collection of very short stories, not even stories really, just anecdotes…about 90 of them, some of them not even one page long. There are lots of little jokes and stories but again if you are not a car guy you may not appreciate the constant 'car-as-penis-extension’ references. The one thing I do admire is Johnson’s book is different from so many wrote Rock bio’s. ROCKERS AND ROLLERS has a theme and a style that you don’t normally see. I was hoping for more AC/DC related material and less ‘car porn’ as Johnson’s refers to it.

Johnson’s lives a multi-millionaire, car-crazy, rock and roll lifestyle that is hard for me to relate to. Maybe I’m just jealous! Many other red-blooded American males may totally be engrossed by his tales of adventure behind the wheel and his theories about various automotive topics, but I’m standing on the sidelines.
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