Released: 2011, Foruli
If you are looking for those early Christmas gift ideas, British Author Joel McIver has made shopping easier for the discerning and literate Metalhead. Joel has recently published not one, not two, but three titles sure to delight any Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fan. They are, (in no particular order) the Motorhead biography, the Randy Rhoads biography, and the Glenn Hughes autobiography and we have reviewed them all this month as well as interviewed Joel himself. Enjoy!
A few years back I had the great pleasure of interviewing Joel McIver on my radio show. He told us that he was working on the autobiography of Glenn Hughes and shared an anecdote with us. He told our listeners about a story recently told to him by Glenn for the book. Glenn was about 20 years old, coming off stage after a concert, being handed a massive cheque, jumping in a helicopter, pulling out a bag full of blow and the police officer/hooker proceeds to ‘administer a blowjob’. (Joel’s words, not mine) When Joel told me this story on air, I thought to myself, “This is going to be the greatest Rock autobiography of all time!” And there it is…the story, in all it’s glory on page 82, Chapter Eleven, subtitled ‘Helicopter Blowjobs’, naturally.
After waiting a couple of years, it has arrived! GLENN HUGHES-DEEP PURPLE AND BEYOND:SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF A ROCK STAR, is everything I anticipated and hoped it would be and more…much more. This book is gorgeous. It’s a big square tome, 300 glossy pages of full colour, visual appeal. Most bio’s and autobio’s are a standard book format, black text on white pages and maybe a few colour plates in the center. This book is a marvel to look at in terms of design and layout. It’s as gorgeous to look at as it is to actually read, it’s almost psychedelic! The book also comes in various Signature and Deluxe editions with various special covers, books, and bonus stuff for the ultimate Hughes Fans. The regular edition comes with a discography and Lars Of Metallica does a Foreword.
It seems that Glenn was a bit of a pack-rat because there is an amazing amount of memorabilia he somehow saved over the years, from ancient photos, flyers, ticket stubs to little scraps of paper with hand-written notes, all lovingly reproduced. All the extra visual flair take this book from being ranked as a mere autobiography and closer to an illustrated history, kinda like the Hellhammer book. Hughes was a handsome young man and to look at him now and photos of him during his various stages of drug dependency are quite shocking to see how someone can physically morph into someone else…or the transformation between Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde as Glenn puts it.
Glenn has led an interesting life. It’s amazing what people will put themselves (and others) through when they are an addict. Glenn documents in elaborate detail his 20+ year love affair with cocaine and eventually crack. The stories would make you cringe and it was all in the name of sex, drugs and rock and roll. However as the drug increasingly took a hold of his life the sex and rock and roll got left behind as Glenn was involved with projects, of diminishing musical caliber and historical relevance, which he inevitably would screw up because of his addiction.
Glenn/McIver writes in a witty, self-depreciating style. His sense of humour and honesty make for a revealing and intimate portrait of well…as the title says…a Rock Star. All the classic stories are presented; the fatal Deep Purple gig in Indonesia in late 1975, the Black Sabbath album, the lost weekends with Bowie, the California Jam in 1974, working with Gary Moore, the Hughes/Thrall project, the early days of Trapeze, and it is all immersed in a somewhat seedy, drug fueled haze along with endless affairs, quickie romances and failed marriages. His stories is one of triumph and tragedy underwritten by an immense natural talent that gave him the ability to persevere in a tough, tough business.
The information on his life gets a little thin near the end. I would have liked more detail about 1990-2010. Everything from his birth to about 1990 is covered is amazing detail but we don’t get to much info on his solo career, nor his activities of the past two decades. He has about 15 solo albums now and he pretty much glosses over all of them and only just touching on his latest project, Black Country Communion. However, I feel that McIver did a pretty amazing job trying to pull whatever info he could out from Hughes and make it readable and insightful. This is one of the best rock autobiographies I’ve read in a long time and a fascinating journey into the mind of a Rock Star.