Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us some insight into some of his favorite heavy metal books. Dive into the article below.
Since you’re reading this article I think it’s safe to say you also read things on the Metal Mofos Facebook as well. You may also read other pages news and opinion on metal music as well. By using deductive reasoning I’ve come to the conclusion you like to read about metal. Some of you, like myself, may wish to delve a bit deeper into metal than the typical web article or Facebook post through a more old fashioned media platform called a book.
There are quite a few great books out there about and by heavy metal artists and heavy metal and it’s countless subgenres in general. Let me tell you a bit about a few of my favorites, not ranked in any particular order.
1. The Dirt – Motley Crue
Motley Crue have been one of my favorite bands for a long time so of course I would have to read this book. Each of the four band members take turns writing chapters telling stories of how they grew up, got started in bands, and eventually all synched up to form Motley Crue. They each go through the good times, bad times, high points, and low points of their career as a band. From the music to crazy off stage antics this book was pretty hard to put down. The part of the book that stood out to me the most was a chapter by vocalist Vince Neil. It wasn’t about belting some high note on stage or hooking up with a thousand girls. It was a chapter on when his 4 year old little girl Skylar passed away from cancer. That kind of stuff just gets to me. This happened in 1995, a couple years after he was fired from Motley Crue. Vince noted that not a single one of the other three Crue members even bothered to call him on the phone when his baby girl passed away. That’s some stone cold stuff.
2. Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir – Dave Mustaine
I love Megadeth. I love Dave Mustaine. I think he’s the greatest guitarist of the past 30 years. I really enjoyed reading about his life. This man has come a long way to be the man who he is today. He fended for himself from a pretty young age in a big place like Los Angeles. He’s overcome drug addiction. He’s released some awesome metal albums. My one complaints about this book is that too many pages were spent on his brief tenure in Metallica, and I would have liked a little more in depth talk about Megadeth’s music. Still a most excellent read.
3. Metal Missionary: The Steve Rowe Story – Vic Campbell
This book is about one of my all time favorite people, Steve Rowe of the band Mortification. Here is a man who has overcome great obstacles in life and has held fast to his faith in Jesus. Steve founded the first Christian death metal band Mortification who released their debut album in 1991. The band has an ever evolving sound and are quite innovative in their music whereas many Christian artists at the time were seen as copycats of their mainstream counterparts. At the peak of Mortification’s career, Steve was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. He was not expected to live. His family was notified Steve had about two hours to live, Twice. Through a miracle Steve survived his battle with the deadly disease, but it left a permanent scar in the form of paraplegia. Even with paraplegia Steve was able to carry on with Mortification whose last album was released in 2015.
4. Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground- Michael Moynihan & Didrik Soderland
I really like black metal. I know this book is reviled by those whom the book is about as it is highly sensationalized according to them. The book contains excerpts from many artists of the early black metal scene including members of Burzum and Mayhem who a large chunk of the book is focused on. The book mixes metal, the occult, paganism, and true crime stories. It’s certainly an interesting read down to every brutal detail. Maybe not recommended for the faint of heart.
5. Honestly- Michael Sweet
Stryper frontman Michael Sweet’s autobiography is well… honest. I sincerely think it’s the least sensationalized rock star bio on the market. I really didn’t get a sense of any tall tales here just straight out honest to God truth. Stryper gets made fun of a lot for their yellow and black spandex clothes and also singing songs about Jesus. They’re a band that doesn’t get the respect they deserve. Michael Sweet is a better musician and songwriter than most of his peers from the Sunset Strip scene. He’s currently putting out the best music of his career. I highly recommend reading his story. A really fascinating part is when the MTV rockstar turned into Ranger Mike. Go check this one out.
6. Louder than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal – Jon Wiederhorn & Katherine Turman
This book is awesome. The book’s text is all excerpts from various interviews with metal artists compiled into a historical narrative by the author. Each chapter of the book is about a different sub genre of metal. There’s a chapter on the early beginnings of metal, a thrash chapter, a hair metal chapter, a black metal chapter, a death metal chapter, even an industrial metal chapter. Don’t like a particular sub genre? Skip that chapter and on to next. Not familiar with a certain sub genre that may peak your curiosity? Definitely read that chapter. I never listened to black metal before I read this book. Now I am a huge fan of that style of music. The black metal chapter focuses on the story of Varg Vikernes and Euronymous which I was unfamiliar with until I read it in this book. I was totally like, holy crap, that is guy is dead? And that guy killed him? I listened to Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album the next morning and I’ve been hooked since.
7. I am Ozzy – Ozzy Osbourne
Say what you want about Ozzy and his manipulative wife Sharon. I loved reading this book. Ozzy rose from such humble beginnings to become the biggest metal star of them all. Ozzy is down right hilarious in this book as well. I found myself cracking up quite frequently while reading this. I also went on an Ozzy and Sabbath listening binge for a solid 2 months. A favorite story from this book was from the Black Sabbath days when people thought the band were satanists. A satanic cult were in the hallway outside of his hotel room sitting in a circle with lit candles in the middle chanting. Ozzy comes along and makes his way into the circle, pokes his his head in the middle, blows out the candles, and yells happy birthday!
There you have it. How do some of my favorite metal books rank against yours? Are these now on your reading list?
Here’s a few more that I want to read in the near future:
Mayhem: The Death Archives – Jorn Stubberud
Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal – Ian Christe
Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult – Sayal Patterson
What Does this Button Do?: An Autobiography – Bruce Dickinson
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