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Rock and Hard Places: Travels to Backstages, Frontlines and Assorted Sideshows [Hardcover]

Andrew Mueller
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Mar 2010
Andrew Mueller is Australian by birth, Londoner by choice, wanderer by nature, and journalist by profession. Unable to decide between being a rock critic, travel writer, or foreign correspondent, he hit upon the novel, if time-consuming, solution of trying to be all three at once.

In Rock and Hard Places, a collection of Mueller's best journalism from the early nineties to the present, he travels to Lebanon with the Prodigy, comes to America with Radiohead, and roams all over the place with U2. He ventures to Bosnia during the war, sees Def Leppard play in a cave in Morocco, attempts to ask the Taliban what they think they're up to and takes his own country band on tour to Albania. He visits Tupelo, Mississippi, where the greatest of American entertainers was born, and Branson, Missouri, where the rest of them go to die. He ventures into radioactive Chernobyl, sloshes miserably through the mud at Woodstock II, wakes up at least once in a park in Reykjavik, flies the world's least commercially sensible air route and strongly advises avoiding the seafood salad in Sapporo Airport. He's funny. Occasionally, he makes a point.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Foruli Classics; 1st Revised & enlarged edition (8 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905792085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905792085
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,471,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Andrew Mueller writes things about stuff for an assortment of publications, including The Times, The Guardian, Monocle, Uncut, Esquire, The Financial Times and New Humanist. He also plays guitar in The Blazing Zoos, a London-based country band whose critically acknowledged debut album "I'll Leave Quietly" is generally available. His website is at

Product Description

Amazon Review

Spending a night out in the former battlefields of Beirut wouldn't strike many people as their idea of a good time. But then, neither would going to see a Def Leppard concert in a Moroccan cave. Yet Andrew Mueller has willingly done both and somehow managed to see the humorous side. Rock And Hard Places, his first book, recounts his experiences in such far-flung places as Kabul and the Woodstock II festival. Throughout, he seems constantly amazed by people's ability to survive any hardship, whether they're caused by mines or mud.

Rock And Hard Places is half travel literature, half rock literature. In the spirit--and style--of American humorist P.J. O'Rourke, Andrew Mueller seeks out the world's trouble spots (and Nashville) in order to provide a frank report to the non-political reader. His common-sense outlook and innocence influence his observations, so that he is constantly asking "Why?" when faced with the absurdities of the wider world. He is at his best (and funniest) when he is able to direct this curiosity towards the locals.

When he's not charming militant fundamentalists, Andrew Mueller spends his time as a freelance music journalist. This book also collects a number of his interviews with some of the biggest bands of the moment, including Radiohead, U2 and The Prodigy. He is a talented interviewer, with a casualness and a sense of ease that enables you to see these bands as the collections of individuals that they are. --Robert Burrow --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for "I Wouldn't Start from Here" "The best foreign correspondent of his generation." --P.J. O'Rourke "I am regularly lost. I ask people all the time for directions. They send me to places I never could have imagined . . . I usually want to enter these places when everyone else is queuing up to leave, oftentimes there's just one person in front of me, oftentimes it's Andrew Mueller . . . at the desk in the airport, or in the customs hall at the same counter as me, filling out a similar form. His face has the same expression every time . . . it's a very familiar expression: comic disbelief. He can't believe it's happened to him again . . . he thinks it's the poor directions, the road maps or the unkind stranger who pointed him here. And where is here?'s not that he likes to be lost, it's just that he likes the company of the lost. Be very careful reading this book." --Bono "A 21st-century original; a fresh, irreverent, wry and jovial jaunt of a guidebook around our violent and baffling modern world." "--The Guardian" "A gung-ho Candide with a taste for places it is wiser to avoid. . . the reports collected in "I Wouldn't Start From Here" are graphic, comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology." --Jonathan Meades, "Books of the Year," "Evening Standard" "An utterly "sui generis" report from the world's plague-spots." --Michael Bywater, "Books of the Year," "New Statesman" "A tour-de-force of hilarious, harrowing and ultimately enlightening reportage that will remind readers of the work of P.J. O'Rourke, Jon Ronson and David Foster Wallace." "--The Washington Times" "His sardonic, self-deprecating perspective makes for unstuffy company." "--The Los Angeles Times" "Peppered with trenchant observations that reflect a nimble, cut-to-the-chase practicality, Mueller's interviews with everyone from terrorist warlords to international peacemakers are refreshingly irreverent yet astu --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over P.J. O'Rourke... 26 July 1999
By A Customer
This is an essential read for anyone who has ever travelled or heard music (that's all of you, I hope). "Rock in Hard Places" brilliantly details Mr. Mueller's journeys to the remotest regions of the world, his interactions with both modern day music legends (U2, Radiohead) and inarticulate, wholly useless bands (He manages to make the hilarious Def Leppard chapter an enjoyable read even though the subjest matter is horrendous)and his encounters with anything but average people from different lands. This decidedly eclectic mix of subject matter remains fascinating throughout the book. P.J. O'Rourke (who writes the forward) was never this good on even his best day. Buy this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Buy immediately. 17 Feb 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just the funniest thing- particularly good if you're finding PJ O'Rourke a bit obsessed with economics these days and like writers who have a prediliction for getting themselves into trouble. There's something to snort at on almost every page- fantastic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but a goodie 22 Nov 2011
A travel book that looks back at a more innocent time with wry and perceptive observations.

His story about being sent to Afghanistan in the late 1990s is a classic of muddle-headed London hipness.
The updated version is worth getting just for reasons of contrast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocking all over the world 29 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very funny collection of essays detailing the author's adventures across the globe, from putting on country and western gigs in Albania to sitting in a cave in Africa with Def Leppard (as horrendous as it sounds). If you like music and you like travel writing then blah blah blah etc.
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