I have read a lot of books about bands and rock stars and I am a little tired of the sex, drugs and Rock & Roll aspect of the whole thing. It is the same old, same old. I like to read the fun stories that are interesting, smart and I enjoy the stories behind the songs or even the artists writing style and what motivates them. If you are the same way, then this book is what you need to read. Richard Marx brings us a book about his life and believe it or not, he had a great childhood, loving parents, he doesn’t do drugs and never had the wild sex-filled tours and you know what, that is okay because what he gives us are intelligent stories, tons of humor and a lot of behind the scenes looks at the numerous stars he has worked with and songs he has written.
Before I get to that, let us look at the book itself. The copy I purchased was a bundle. It came with an autographed copy of the book as you can see below. I also paired it with a greatest hits CD which is 1 CD full of his hits and another full of demos, rare tracks and a collection of songs he wrote for other people, but this time with him singing and not the artist he wrote it for…really cool. Oh yeah, and the CD came with a signed booklet as well. Really cool stuff…okay, back to the review.
Richard took the down time with Covid to bring us a detailed telling of his life in music…not his personal life. We do get some of it, but mostly it is about the music. Richard is real private about his family but does give us glimpses, however, this is about the rock star. And let me tell you he has worked with some mega stars and is friends with some as well. We learn how he got started in the business by being a background singer for numerous people but got his break with Lionel Richie. He also works with Kenny Rogers and writes a song for him that gave him his first #1 song in country music. But that is the only tip of the iceberg.
If you follow my site at all, you know I am in the middle of a Judas Priest Review Series where I am reviewing all the albums from the Judas Priest Collection Box Set (and a few more it missed). I thought as I am immersing myself in their catalog, why not find out some information about the band by reading Rob Halford’s book, ‘Confess’. They sum up nicely below who Rob Halford is but it is really a bland description. I think they left out is that Rob is the ‘Metal God’, Rob is a man who waves the Rainbow Flag proudly, Rob is sober for over 30 years, Rob is human, which means Rob is fallible.
The story of Rob Halford, told by Rob Halford, covers a lot of time. It starts off him as a child growing up in the Black Country of the U.K. His stint where he wanted to be an actor, and then his discovery that he could sing. And man can he sing. It spends most of the time talking about his time with Priest, but it really is about Rob, the person. His struggles in life, but not just with being gay. He struggles with that, but it was more about his struggles with hiding it as being the lead singer of a Heavy Metal band and what would be the fall out if it came out. Honestly though, he didn’t really try to hide it because a lot of the early Priest songs actually talk about it, but no one was perceptive enough at the time to figure it out. The story really is about his struggles with finding love and with trying to have sex while on the road while the band had easy pickings of the female groupies, Rob had to go to seedy truck stops and bathrooms to find love. It didn’t always go well as we find out when Rob has his own George Michael moment. Rob was very lonely, for a very long time and that caused a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs and then rehab. He had many bad relationships with guys that were really straight, it was a tough road. Rob, however, found his way sober and finally found love and it all had a happy ending, thank goodness.
I was walking through an Antique Mall as my daughter had found another great place to buy used vinyl. We came to a booth that didn’t have a ton of books, but there was one book there that immediately caught my eye. It was the Gene Simmons’ autobiography called “Kiss and Make-Up”. I had not read yet, so I grabbed it. And at only $5, it was a steal.
And what did I think? It was okay. It was an easy read, but there was really nothing surprising or earth shattering. I did forget he dated Diana Ross, but I knew about Cher so no shocker. I had forgotten about some of the movies he did, but not ‘Runaway’ as I loved that one.
It was interesting to read about his childhood as it did explain a lot about who he is and why he is the way he is. Gene is definitely full of himself and you know what, that is okay. He knows it and I was worried I would like him even less after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually like a little more. I feel I understand him a little more.
As a Guns ‘N Roses fan, this book was a no-brainer when it went on sale on Amazon. You will notice a trend on my book reviews in that I always get the books when they are on sale, dirt cheap. Best way to buy them. Slash has always been this larger than life Guitar God with his trademark black Top Hat, long curly hair covering his face and a cigarette sticking out of his mouth. And of course, that is why that picture is the cover of the book. You instantly know who it is.
The book came out in 2007 and it covers the periods of his childhood, through Guns ‘N Roses rise and fall, Slash’s Snakepit and all the way up to his band at the time Velvet Revolver. It is a journey filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You get to see what influenced him in life and what drove him forward to succeed. I would say you get everything as he lays it all out on the table. He isn’t afraid to paint himself in a negative light either.
After reading this book, I am amazed that Slash is actually still alive. He started doing drugs, drinking and having sex at an extremely young age. His parental supervision was interesting as his parents were very artsy and lived a very bohemian lifestyle. At a young age, he was surrounded by famous people, including the late David Bowie. He started out skateboarding and eventually discovered the Guitar and then his focus changed. School was never important, but even less so when he started playing guitar.