PERFORMING ARTS

Nöthin’ but a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ‘80s Hard Rock Explosion

St. Martin’s. Mar. 2021. 560p. ISBN 9781250195753. $29.99. MUSIC
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Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy famously observed in the song “Heavy Metal Drummer” that metal music fans seemed to be having a better time than anyone else. The genre’s lyrical content—largely devoted to parties, drinking, and sex—bears that out. However, though stories of debauchery abound in this oral history by Revolver cofounder Beaujour and Bienstock (coauthor, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck), the book revolves mostly around the drive to make it big—constant touring and performing, mastering instruments, and honing songwriting skills. Artists such as Bret Michaels, Nikki Sixx, Don Dokken, and Sebastian Bach thoughtfully detail the inner workings of the music business, especially getting gigs and signing recording contracts. One entertaining chapter focuses on flyer distribution—a seemingly mundane task that was taken as seriously as rehearsing. Nevertheless, readers looking for sex, drugs, and rock and roll will be satisfied, too. The authors note that many accounts reflect outdated, sexist attitudes and emphasize that those “hoping for an outpouring of regret or a litany of mea culpas” will be disappointed; their objective was “to uncover what really happened from the people who lived it, not to make them apologize for it.”
VERDICT Rock music fans will be banging their heads to this book.

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