Riffs: Five things we learned from reading rock star autobiographies
Rock stars have much to teach us. At least, according to rock stars. It's never been a better year for musical autobios: Patti Smith's National Book Award winner "Just Kids" and Keith Richards' "Life" are among the best the genre may have ever produced, and that's just for starters.
Click Track compiled a list of some of our favorite musical autobiographies of the season, and some of our favorite life lessons contained therein:
1. If you tell people you snorted your father's ashes, they'll freak out for some reason
Keith Richards says that he was accused of cannibalism after a rumor went around that he snorted his father's ashes mixed in with a line of cocaine.
"The truth of the matter is that after having Dad’s ashes in a black box for six years, because I really couldn’t bring myself to scatter him to the winds, I finally planted a sturdy English oak to spread him around. And as I took the lid off of the box, a fine spray of his ashes blew out on to the table," Richards writes. "I couldn’t just brush him off so I wiped my finger over it and snorted the residue. Ashes to ashes, father to son. He is now growing oak trees and would love me for it."
2. Dave Mustaine and Christine O'Donnell have something in common
In his recent, entirely awesome "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir," the Megadeth frontman details a teenage flirtation with witchcraft, and recalls using a spell to smite his mortal enemy, Wilbur. Mustaine crafted a doll out of bread dough, and broke the doll's leg.
"Did it work? I can't say for sure but I do know that a short time later Wilbur was involved in a car accident; his leg was broken," Mustaine writes. "Given...that Wilbur was an imbecilic jerk, I suppose some sort of crippling episode was inevitable. Then again..."
(When Obama met Hova and more, after the jump.)
3. Obama becoming President? Jay-Z totally called that.
In his high-toned essay collection, "Decoded,," Hova recounts meeting Bill Clinton at the Spotted Pig (Bono introduced them, naturally), his reluctance to support Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and his emerging mancrush on candidate Obama, whom the rapper met through a mutual acquaintance. Barack (Jay-Z calls him Barack) asked him a lot of questions about himself. Being famous, Jay-Z appreciated this.
"People always asked me what we talked about, and I wish I could remember some specific moment when it hit me that this guy was special," Jay-Z writes. "But it wasn't like that....He was my peer, or close to it, like a young uncle or an older brother." Hova, turning the shiv a little bit, also liked that Obama "wasn't going to be one of those guys who burned hip-hop in effigy to get a few votes." Zing! Take that, Sister Souljah-shaming former President Clinton!
4. Susan Boyle had a boyfriend one time
Boyle may have famously stated that she'd never been kissed, but according to her sadder-than-she-probably-meant-it-to-be new autobio, "Susan Boyle: The Woman I Was Born to Be," she had a boyfriend when she was in her late 20s. Nothing happened, though.
"I met him at a wedding and it was the first time I was involved with anyone, because I was always frightened of guys, but he was very kind. It was a chaste relationship that never went further than holding hands and a peck on the cheek." Boyle's father ended it. She turned to singing to ease the pain. "The only way I could find to fill the emptiness was singing upstairs in my room. I learned to express my pain through song." We told you it was depressing.
5. Vince Neil is even more screwed up than you thought
Motley Crue's early '00s band autobio "The Dirt" had previously set the gold standard for tales of rock and roll debauchery (unless...have you ever read "12 Days on the Road With the Sex Pistols"? Whatever you do, do not read it. Ever. It's like the book version of "Saw").
Anyway, in his new "Tattoos & Tequila," Neil recounts the death of his daughter, his numerous divorces, car-crashes and facelifts (there have been three). He seems like a sad, vaguely interesting and almost entirely horrible person. If you don't believe him, ask his ex-wives. According to wife number three: "He would cheat on you like a dog, but he would never break up with someone. He would never leave. He can't be alone....There would be some big thing -- like when I found him in a hotel with two hookers, you know? Then he'd go into rehab."
| December 8, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories: Riffs | Tags: Dave Mustaine, Jay-Z, Keith Richards, Susan Boyle, Vince Neil
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