Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict Paperback – 7 Jun 2004
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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
'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.' GUARDIANSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
Seb leads us from his sheltered upbringing to the London stage, the world famous Marquee club. The "swine and swill" he occasionally mixed with, on his way to filling that musical void he felt inside. He mentions places in London I remember so well from my own youth, the sacred shrine that was Shades record store and the Borderline club. He mentions bands, both good and bad, that sadly I must admit to still having in my, now carefully boxed, vinyl collection. The low points of his drug habits and the need to conform, in what is often seen as the most non-conformist genre in music, really hit home. I suppose the most important thing to walk away from the book with is the need to stand back once in a while, seriously try to look at yourself and laugh at how ridiculous we really are when were young.
As it says, this book will work for anyone, metal fan or not. If you really enjoyed that late 80-95 period, spent with our favourite heroes, then buy this book now. I promise you will be laughing out loud and confusing non-metallers, when you try to explain why you couldn't like Winger over WASP and importance of why you had to choose sides in the Van Halen Roth/Hagar spat!
Now a sad 32 year old metal fan, but with wife, kids, mortgage and short hair, I want give thanks to Seb to letting me see what I missed out on, by just not making the serious effort with the bands I failed in!
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.
I could tell that by the end of the book there would be a description of how Hunter left not only playing metal but being associated with it. Yeah, he 'grew up man' and found 'real' music like Primal Scream and Ride, give me a break! The problem seems to be Hunter's favoured form of rock was glam and by the time Nirvana happened, this music was almost totally cleaned out. If Hunter had been a fan of real metal he wouldn't have seen his favourite music go down the pan. Glam disappeared because it was a complete image drenched fashion show to begin with!
He was a typical glam fan, into the music for girls and pretty much to fit in. It was a passing phase, something to look back at with disdain and sarcasm. When he is not being critical or sarcastic about metal the book is rather good, and certainly funny in places but his opinions soon become pointless and the story ludicrously self indulgent, in fact the story part of it would probably have worked better as fiction. He thrusts opinions onto us - 'The Friday Rock Show' was 'shit'. Oh really?! Apparently thrash was crap too but then in his top 5 metal albums he lists 'Reign In Blood' so he's a typical token thrash observer, the type who 'only needs one album from that genre'.
I came away thinking this newly grown up ADULT with a lovely new hair style has only garnered good reviews because he mocks metal for the most part, and mainstream mags love to do that too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 on 19 Nov. 2013 by mr s.rigby
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.Published on 10 May 2013 by conky bill
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 morePublished on 24 Jan. 2011 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 13 Sept. 2010 by Jose Manuel Diaz Beveridge
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 morePublished on 3 Jan. 2010 by D. B. Davis
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 morePublished on 19 April 2009 by Maclennane
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 morePublished on 29 Mar. 2009 by P. McCauley