Page 1 of 1

Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:25 am
by Garth Cartwright
Peckham library is not just a magnificent structure but full of great books. And not so great books: in the last fortnight I've picked up Rocks and Anger Is An Energy there and skim read both. I know, I should stay away from music biographies but they're like crisps - not healthy but so moreish...

Rocks is Joe Perry's story. He's the guitarist in Aerosmith. Yes, I'm the only forumista who has a liking for 70s Aerosmith - dudes, they rocked! - so this is of no interest to anyone else here. Tho' David Ritz is the ghost. Ritz churns out so many of these books, he's such a slick hack, he really knows how to keep readers turning pages, yet he's often indifferent to the music being discussed. Perry has obviously participated more with this book than many other of Ritz's clients as it's quite detailed about songwriting and studio sessions and such.Well, he's a guitarist and a rather stoic individual so not given to blabbering. As far as a tale of a suburban boy who falls in love with Beatles/Stones/ Fleetwood Mac and learns guitar and forms a band and after years of struggle they make it really big in the US. Then the drugs kick in and egos and bad management and all manner of rock star excess and he can't stand the singer so quits and goes out on his own but he finds himself playing to ever shrinking audiences so has to rejoin the band but this time brings along a manager who has got him into rehab and has a vision of the band becoming much bigger than they were in the mid-70s. And it happens. Even if he still can't stand the singer. And the music becomes dull corporate rock. Not that he admits as such. Anyway, Rocks is - like Perry's playing - direct and unadorned and lacking surprise. But what a ride in the music industry - from bottom to top to near bottom and then back to the very top.

Anger Is An Energy is John Lydon's second autobiography. I never read the first so can't compare but I imagine its the same, just padded out with 20 years more stories. His hack is Andrew Perry of Mojo. Lydon's obviously an intelligent man with the occasional gift for words so why doesn't he write his own book? Lack of attention span, I imagine. He certainly repeats himself a lot here - speaking into tapes I imagine that Perry has transcribed (he's no Ritz). Lydon never mentions reading anything - beyond what the papers have to say about him - so i guess he's not interested in books. If he was he might of thought about participating in a more interesting book as this is dull stuff with him spending much of the time settling scores with band members and managers and others he feels have wronged him. Even his late father's last girlfriend gets a lashing. John likes to dislike. Then he does the corny stuff of saying how much he loves his fellow ex-Pistols. Then he slams them again - for not saying goodbye or obeying him or saying what he wanted in an interview etc etc. Same for Wobble/Levine. No thanks given. No gratitude for the good fortune this non-musician had in working with capable rock musicians - you'd believe he created all the Pistols/Pil music. This often reads like Morrissey's autobiography - just the sheer pettiness and relentless self praise - but it's better than that awful tome as Lydon occasionally has some insights and a turn of phrase. One thing's for sure: being raised poor, sickly, Irish and weak in tough Finsbury Park has given him plenty of issues. He never dares tackle these although when discussing his month in Jamaica in 1978 - the most interesting bit in the book - he mentions body issues that mean he can't walk around in the sunshine in shorts and T-shirt, so insecure is he. The other interesting bit is when Ari Up dumps her 3 teenage sons on Lydon and his wife (her mum) as she can't be bothered raising them any longer. They've been bought up without discipline or education as faux Rastas - she comes across as your worst case trustafarian, still living off mummy well into her thirties - and he has to engage with getting them educated and socialised. It's a pity he doesn't dwell longer on this as it gets beneath the perpetual sneer he wears throughout.

What do Lydon and Perry share? Beyond both being successful rock musicians whose careers have lasted some forty years they are both very dedicated to their wives and the discipline of keeping on going out there and making music. Oh, and both have very little to say on anything else beyond themselves. Fame allowing them to exist in rooms full of mirrors. Perry is the more honest narrator while Lydon - who is a major property owner in LA yet always tries to make himself appear hard done by (he only has a 32 foot boat...). And he hates Britain. Which is ironic considering it's the only place in the world where anyone still takes him vaguely seriously. A most unpleasant man. But still more likeable than Morrissey. Considering how cutting he was in the late 70s towards Mick Jagger it's ironic how he has turned into an even worse parody of the spoilt lead singer who relies on old hits to hold an audience. Enough!

I read these so you folk don't have too. Time, I think, for me to get a job...

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:12 pm
by alister prince
Thanks Garth, You're right about Mr Perry, his twangs not my thang. I'm unsurprised by Lydon. The title says it all, 'anger' or self regarding whinger? The title implies creativity, when did that dry up, long ago? Like The appalling Morrisey, Mr Rotten has become sucked into his own myth, and it sucks! Perhaps his vitriol about Blighty is based on the reality it's where he can make a few bob advertising butter substitutes and touring nostalgia music rather than continuing to create, or be part of a creative process. A bit like an adolescent sneering at his parents as he pockets his unearned allowance.
Aly

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:48 pm
by Adam Blake
Yeah, I wonder if his whingeing about Ari Up was maybe just after her husband was murdered by gangsters and perhaps she felt that her kids might be safer with her mum for a bit. Mind you, you know these trustafarians: no gumption when it comes to dealing with armed murderers.

I am not going to get into yet another spat with you about Ari Up, Garth. Suffice it to say she was a friend of mine and I would really appreciate it if you would refrain from slagging her off anymore - at least on forums where I am likely to read it. She's dead, and can't answer back. I never met the twins but I met her third child Wilton, with whom she seemed joined at the hip, and I have rarely if ever met a more polite and charming child. Lydon is a miserable, complaining old curmudgeon. He married a rich woman and has done nothing but moan for as long as I can remember. His last halfway decent record was over 30 years ago. Since then he has turned himself into a ludicrous caricature halfway between Old Man Steptoe and Kenneth Williams, without the wit or charm of either. He can shove his memoirs up his fat arse and fuck off while he's about it. I hope I make my position on the subject clear.

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:47 pm
by Garth Cartwright
So sensitive, Adam! Listen, this is a forum and I'll write what I want. You're welcome not to read what I write in case it somehow upsets you, OK? But don't ever tell me what to write. Just as I won't tell you what to write.

Ally, the rock singer as overgrown adolescent - yes, this sadly seems too often true. Morrissey and Lydon being obvious examples. Most dislikable men.

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:41 pm
by Adam Blake
I said I would appreciate it if you would refrain from slagging off a dead friend of mine in public forums where I'm likely to read it. That is not telling you what to write. That is asking politely. If you can't tell the difference then maybe you ought to develop a little sensitivity.

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:56 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Calm down, dear. I suggest you pick up Lydon's book, glance at what he wrote and then comment. Better that than shouting at the messenger. By the by, he does not mention murdered husbands and says very nice things about her kids.

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:06 pm
by Chris P
it's always easy to survey the perceived or actual monstrosities that afflict so-called music stars. In the case of Lydon and Morrissey, I continue to enjoy & applaud what they've done in the past. For all their spoilt ugliness and barricades that they've put up, I still find something to like in Morrissey and Lydon's continued contrariness & (perhaps faux) almost heart-on-sleeve (but rehearsed beforehand) utterances.

Here are 3 minutes of Lydon which vouch for his love of writing as a youngster & continuing. (If you/us sceptics can believe him)

https://soundcloud.com/dave-8-2/john-lydon-at-albert-hall-manchester-9th-oct-2014-short-extract

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:46 pm
by AndyM
I'd still bet on Lydon being more likely to do something extraordinary than Morrissey, who looks more and more like a clapped-out one-trick-pony as time dribbles on.

Re: Anger Is An Energy/Rocks

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:03 pm
by Chris P
have edited my earlier post because it was a bit silly to say the least! And yes, agree with your comment Andy, on current form