Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends

Jon Wiederhorn. Diversion, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-1-63576-649-3
Wiederhorn follows up Louder Than Hell with another oral history of heavy metal, this time focusing on “war stories about danger, volatility, and jaw-dropping chaos.” The chapters are organized by subjects, including booze and drugs, fighting, groupies (Ministry’s Al Jourgensen is one of several musicians who had sex with mothers and their daughters), incidents reminiscent of This Is Spinal Tap (the mockumentary gets an entire chapter), and nausea in all its forms (Mötorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister knows that musicians try to keep up with him when drinking together and says, “That’s madness and a lot of them end up getting sick”). The tales exhibit a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction yet are more fun-seeking than rebellious. The book takes a broad perspective of bands that are not solely metal but are musically extreme comrades in arms, such as Twisted Sister, Judas Priest, Pantera, Warrant, Nine Inch Nails, and Limp Bizkit; Wiederhorn also touches on lesser known bands, including the Sword, Goatwhore, and Kittie (one of the few female groups in this male-dominated gathering). While the book might seem to some like a B-sides anthology, its colorful descriptions of mayhem serve as an astute cultural study. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/08/2019
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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