Released: 2008, Independent
My first question is… why? Why would anyone want to read the life story of the ex-bassist of Bonfire of all bands? Why did Carl Begai the respected scribe of BW&BK fame get involved? Why did Joerg Deisinger want to write the book in the first place? I’m not trying to slag Bonfire, I love the band however, I’d ask the same questions if there was an autobiography by the drummer for Fastway or the guitarist of Tyketto, for example.
Well, the answers are simple. Joerg Desinger, the ex-bassist of Bonfire was on holiday in Thailand on Dec 26th, 2004 when the Tsunami that killed 250,000 people hit Asia. He escaped with his life and it made him reevaluate his life and want to share his story. I don’t blame him. I want to write my autobiography, even without a life-changing experience. I would, but no one would read it! Joerg on the other hand has lead an interesting life and it is a great story that fans of Bonfire will want to read. I am a Bonfire fan so I wanted to learn more about this under-rated band. I spoke briefly with Carl about his involvement and the reality is that he lives close to Joerg in Germany and they struck up a friendship. Joerg asked Carl for help and the rest is history.
FIRE AND FAME is an independent publication, a simple, slightly over-sized paperback about 240 pages long, about a dozen black and white photos and a brief discography of things Deisinger has been involved with.
The autobiography, like most follows a simple chronological pattern, starting with Deisingers young life in Germany, early childhood memories, his first job, first band, first gig, first tour and so forth. The vast majority of the book covers the years 1986 to 1996, primarily the glory years of Bonfire. The band was bigger than many realize. They have about 16 albums now and in the late 80’s early 90’s they toured the world and sold hundreds of thousands of copies on a major label. I think only two of those albums were ever released in North America and that was about 20 years ago. Like many autobiographies Joerg focuses on the good times, the friends, the tours, the perks of the rock star lifestyle, visiting LA, cars, girls and so on. It’s all laid out in an easy to read, laid-back and appealing style.
The book ends very abruptly. Deisnger only spend about six pages on the last 15 years! It’s almost as if he said, “I left the band, did some other stuff for the last 15 years, but I’m not going to tell you about it”. It ended too quickly and after reading his life-story up to that point and gaining empathy for him, I wanted more details about his life after the band, and his other accomplishments.
One key area and major point that was covered was the somewhat complicated mid 90’s period for the band. I’m really glad he clarified what went on during that period. At one point it seems there were two versions of Bonfire going on, members coming and going, lawyers, lawsuits, managers, and even album being written by Bonfire but eventually recorded by another band under another name. It all wrapped up in July of 1996 when Joerg sold the rights to the band name to a couple of ex-members (who happened to be original members oddly enough). Those members continue on recording and touring today. If you have a chance to hear the Charade albums or the work Joerg did with Paul Sabu you will not be disappointed as those are some world-class albums that kinda fell through the cracks.
FIRE AND FAME is a decent autobiography, interesting, if a bit sparse in places. A good read by any standard, interesting for fans of rock autobiographies and all fans of Bonfire will want to pick this up.