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Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict [Paperback]

Seb Hunter
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Mar 2005

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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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (7 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000716176X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007161768
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Bryan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A book about Heavy metal would not have been on my immediate 'to read' list but when I started to read Chapter 1, I was plunged back into my past and was glad I had chosen the book. This is a book where the reader can relate to the teen years - playing your favourite album to the family at Christmas and wondering why they don't feel the same elation; finding like-minded friends into the same bands; discarding the school uniform in favour of denim, leather, pvc and other skintight material; forming a band and thinking you're the best ever!

In Hell Bent For Leather, Seb goes beyond the personal journey and litters his beautifully written narrative with information that the reader might not be aware of - who the best Heavy Metal bands were and what happened to them; what the different types of guitars were available and how they were altered for effect; the importance and impact of band logos; a brilliant guided tour of Heavy Metal London; the rise and fall of Metal's many facets.

As the years roll by, Seb describes the band and name changes. As in any culture of this type, he describes his introduction to drugs and it is Acid which brings him back to his senses. From this he is teaching the reader the danger of drug abuse and must be praised for his handling of this subject matter. It is an uphill struggle for the band to become recognised and Seb's narrative works with honesty and even though I was never into Heavy Metal (Hi-NRG was, and still is, my only love!), I could still relate to Seb's struggles with his parents, leaving home and following his path to an uncertain future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius! 3 Dec 2008
By simonpeggfan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought this might be enjoyable, taking me back to my childhood when metal ruled my world - and it did.

Well written and amusing, it's a quite gentle tale through a man's life which many will remember as true to life. Heavy metal was such a dominant force for people wanting something more from their music than the regular chart hits, and a driving force in helping people form bands with a common aim.

This book will be a joy for plenty of men of a certain age (mid 30s- mid 40s) who grew up with metal, joined bands, played terrible gigs - and eventually moved on as I did, although plenty have stayed loyal to true metal.

Although I started the move away with John Peel and the C86 movement, metal was *so* important (first song I learnt was TNT by AC/DC) in binding young men together, and helping them learn to play that this book will reawaken plenty of memories - and it's funny too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Devil Horns Up! 23 Sep 2013
By Dave-O
Format:Paperback
A funny and informative look at the life of a "headbanger" from teenage years to adulthood.

There are several laugh out loud passages - with some cringeworthy moments (that I recognise from my own past).

It loses momentum toward the end but all in all this is a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FUNNY 10 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
GREAT BOOK, DIP IN DIP OUT VERY FUNNY. MADE ME LAUGH WHILE WAITING TO GO INTO THEATRE FOR SURGERY. I REMEMBER IT ALL LIKE YESTERDAY.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Omigawd did we really do that? 18 Dec 2008
By Clever Spud TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like a lot of other reviewers I can see a lot of my own early history in Seb's often very funny biography.

Overall I found his earlier exploits, before he left home, to be the most engaging and what I, in particular, identified with. I can still remember my own Road to Damascus moment when I "discovered" Heavy Metal. Unfortunately this first half of the book also shoe horns a lot of Heavy Metal lists and trivia in amongst the pure biography and I doubt anyone but a true believer is going to really enjoy reading these or have much of a chance of getting the jokes.

The second half of Seb's story, when he begins to pursue fame and fortune in earnest doesn't feel quite as authentic as the first half. It's entirely possible that he simply can't remember much of the details because of the amount of drugs he was using. During this second half of his story Seb does come across as a total loser and not a nice guy to know. Where he does concentrate his attention it's on fairly mundane parts of his life and I felt that a lot of what was happening on stage with the band was glossed over in a few lines. Perhaps he's just really embarrassed about the stage performances.

The relationship between Seb and his father surfaces every so often as an important theme, but, typical of a teenager, when out of sight his family is out of mind so again I was left feeling there was more there to be told.

If all that sounds a bit negative it's not meant to be. Like the book, it's a warts and all viewpoint. In truth I ate this book up and finished it in a couple of sittings. I'm a little older than Seb and remember those times from a slightly different viewpoint but can empathise with so much of what he's written.

To be honest, every Metalhead has probably already read this but if you haven't you owe it to yourself to read it. Probably not a suitable present for granny, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rockin read! 18 Dec 2008
By J Cattermole VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book grabbed me being about heavy metal, for which im a big rock music fan and also, seb growing up in winchester to which i used to live very close to so i could relate to everything!

We join seb in his journey of his life, the highs (literally) and the lows! of a self confessed heavy metal addict - from his first ac/dc album as a kid and his very much disapproving family! to getting gigs in my local pub and how his obsession became his life!

this really is a book that any music fan will relate to, i can very much see myself in him in his witty memoirs of his addiction taking hold of him! with references to gigs by bands such as guns and roses - it really is a fascinating read and what a rockin life he had! Even for people not into heavy metal this is a great auto-biography! recommended read, read from cover to cover in a couple of days!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hilarious. You nailed it.
Published 22 days ago by Nick Raybould
5.0 out of 5 stars HELL YEAH!
IF YOU LIKE HEAVY METAL OR NOT-THIS IS STILL AN INTERESTING INSIGHT TO THAT WORLD, A FUNNY,& THOUGHFULL LOOK AT THE METAL WORLD THRU SEB'S WORLD.BUY IT NOW & BE CONVERTED!!
Published 9 months ago by mr s.rigby
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read - errors notwithstanding
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - but as other reviewers have pointed out, if Heavy Metal was his specialist subject on Mastermind, he would have struggled to get past the first... Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2011 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars NOSTALGIC BUT...
I have the same age is Hunter and been a Metal fan for years, actually I feel identified with a lot of what its said on this book (from buying when you are twelve the Iron Maiden... Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2010 by Jose Manuel Diaz Beveridge
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad But Not True
I have to say I was half and half based on the reviews and now having finished the book I'm still the same. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2010 by D. B. Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny and self-deprecating, but nothing new
If you were interested in learning about metal, this would be an excellent primer, but the chances are that you're not and you're looking at this to recall your own big-haired... Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by Maclennane
3.0 out of 5 stars Once metal, always metal. Or not.
The embarrassing memoirs of a metal-head, now just a regular guy. Get the gist? A look at the whole Metal culture from the perspective of someone who lived it then came out the... Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2009 by P. McCauley
4.0 out of 5 stars It brings back memories
But misses out huge bits of the scene, while I understand that this is one persons hourney through metal there seems to be much more attention paid to bands like deicide while mere... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2009 by Mr. M. Regan
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny
To be honest, I gave up reading after a few chapters. The book started with so much promise and I certainly giggled my way through the first chapter, however the relentless... Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2009 by C. Robson
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm Finding It Hard To Get Through
Although I'm just over half way through, I think I've now read enough in order to express a thought out opinion on this book. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2009 by Caleb Williams
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