If the batch of recently published music bios had to be summed up in a word, it would arguably be "loud."
Along with Monday's release of the Journey bio "Don't Stop Believin'," the last few months have seen tell–alls by the hard-rocking likes of Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar and Scott Weiland hitting the shelves.
Listed below are looks at a few of the notable rock and roll bios available for optimum summer reading. All prices listed below are non–sale costs from AMAZON.COM. All of the books below are also available via Kindle.
"Does The Noise in my Head Bother You? A Rock and Roll Memoir" by Stephen Tyler (Ecco, 400 pages, $27.99)
It was no surprise to many when Tyler's tales skyrocketed into the upper echelons of the New York Times' best-seller list in May. The Aerosmith front man–turned "American Idol" judge is brutally honest in chronicling his highs and lows, musical, chemical and otherwise, and taking responsibility for his past misadventures but also calling out everyone -- including his longtime bandmates -- as he sees fit. Tyler, though, has already covered a lot of this ground with his band mates in the early 00s rock "Rashomon" "Walk this Way." Despite finding a unique voice in spinning his tales and waxing philosophical, there's nothing here that couldn't have been better presented by updating "Walk" with an additional chapter or two.
"Not Dead and Not for Sale" by Scott Weiland with David Ritz (Scribner, 288 pages, $24)
Mocked in many corners at the height of the alt–rock takeover of the early 90s, Weiland and his Stone Temple Pilots continue to have had the last laugh on the charts and onstage. Given the lead singer's battles with drugs, alcohol, the law and love, he should be grateful to be alive. With "Dead," Weiland's crafted a quick, concise read and, as a whole, one heck of a cautionary tale.
"Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock," by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin (It Books, 256 pages, $26.99)
A degree of discipline may be needed for many readers to bypass the pre Van Halen chapters of Hagar's bio on the first read of "Red" and dive straight into the glorious and grizzly "Van Hagar" era. Digested fully, "Red" reveals a rocker whose success centers around honest, hard work and, despite no shortage of conflict, a genuine love for what he does.
"Is This the Real Life? The Untold Story of Queen," by Mark Blake, (Da Capo, 432 pages, $25)
Queen -- most notably its late, great front man Freddie Mercury -- may very well experience a pop culture renaissance in the next couple years; a big screen Mercury bio starring Sasha Baron Cohen is said to be in the works. As to be expected, "Life" puts Mercury under a microscope, but British author Blake reveals complexities in the lives of guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon individually and amongst each other. Unless the surviving members decide to put their story to print, this is as complete a picture of Queen as we're going to get.
"See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody," by Bob Mould with Michael Azzarad (Little Brown and Company, 416 Pages $24.99)
Being one third of Husker Du, the pioneering 80s pre–alt rock outfit, is enough on its own to warrant a tome. Yet Mould's tails and trials in "Rage" transcends the rock autobio norm in its potential to appeal to readers who wouldn't usually gravitate to the music section of the book store; his creative journey may be relatable to artists of any form, and sexual self–discovery and growth may prove inspiring to those in the same boat. Hands down, this is the best rock bio to hit the shelves this year thus far.