Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict

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9780007161768: Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict

A witty and self-deprecating memoir about headbanging your way through growing up.

Seb Hunter was a Heavy Metal fan and he's not proud. This is the story of his misguided 15-year Heavy Metal mission: from the first guitar (his dad's), to the first gig (conquering Winchester with his riffs), on through groupies and girlfriends and too many drugs to a faltering career in London, where outrageous egos, artistic differences and the dreaded arrival of Grunge (and a much needed haircut) kill the Heavy Metal dream.

Along the way Seb imparts the important distinctions between Thrash Metal and Glam and casts his connoisseur’s eye over the Metal guitar. You’ll learn when to play a drum solo, the correct way to wear Spandex and exactly what to do when you're in the middle of a field at the Donington Festival and you desperately need a piss.

Affectionate, irreverent, and very funny, Hell Bent For Leather is a moving story about growing up, of playing air guitar in your bedroom, of living with parental disapproval and of struggling with the laughter of your friends. It is a memoir about the glorious adolescent obsessions everybody has but no-one will admit to.

Featuring music from: AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Kiss, W.A.S.P., Aerosmith The Scorpians and Guns ‘n’ Roses.

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Review:

What springs to mind when you contemplate the title of Seb Hunter's Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict? Sex, drugs, Spandex trousers; big hair and studded leather mitts? And groups with a devil-may-care approach to spelling when it comes to names and song titles, a preponderance of the letter Z, for instance? Interminable guitar solos. Drum solos. Yep, all feature here. Lyrics about squeezing lemons and taking elevators; double albums about kings and their rings sung by mutant dwarves who appeared to have severed their middle fingers in gardening accidents.

Now, let's add Winchester into the mix. No, really. Not familiar Brit metal metropolises Birmingham (Black Sabbath), Sheffield (Def Leppard), Newcastle (Venom) or, at push, Barnsley (Saxon), but Winchester in Hampshire. Winchester provides much of the backdrop to this coming-of-age cum hard-rock odyssey--a Lost in Music for metallers, ex-metallers and a primer for the Darkness fans and anyone perplexed by the whole metal phenomena. (For neophytes, subsections on the wilder tendrils of this musical genre are included.)

Exposed to the delicate, lyrical nuances of AC/DC's "Let's Get it Up at 10", Hunter sold his soul to the fret-tapping end of rock&roll until his early 20s when sanity and Grunge prevailed ("Kurt Cobain Kills Us" is one subheading). It is, therefore, an "I can laugh about it now" account of a youth spent worshipping, and then emulating, rock gods. Hunter's first metal group achieved the not inconsiderably feat of being bootlegged in the Winchester area, but little else. Decamping to squatney London to hit the big time (or, this being the Glam metal heyday, camping it up in squatney London), Hunter joined a series of combos who remained stubbornly unknown to all but a few hardened, if poodle-haired, drinkers in The Intrepid Fox. Underpinned by a poignant examination of his relationship with his late father, Hunter's memoir, much like the film Spinal Tap, is destined to induce rictus grins among the metal faithful but it reminds us of the ludicrous power of cheap music, and, importantly, shows that the love of a good woman can satiate any would-be rock star's appetite for destruction. --Travis Elborough

Review:

'It's simple to milk laughs from metal, but surely much harder to use the genre to write a book that's simultaneously hilarious, strangely moving and which identifies the very essence of why music is so important to life. So raise a devil's horn salute to Seb Hunter, whose self-depreciating memoir of an adolescence dominated by Kiss and Iron Maiden rivals Giles Smith's Lost In Music as a perceptive and witty study of musical obsession. Anyone who has ever been in a rubbish band will wince with recognition at Hunter's doomed bid to become a rock icon, but metal's loss is writing's gain. Magic.' Q Magazine

'Hunter's memoir manages to be both funny and genuinely touching as he relives the developments that shook the metal world to its stack-heeled foundations.' Guardian

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