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Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict Paperback – 7 Jun 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (7 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007160496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007160495
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,065,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


'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

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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By simonpeggfan VINE VOICE on 3 Dec. 2008
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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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading this book. Probably the most embarrassing thing I have read in ages, I just couldn't put it down! At every digression Seb makes, my memories came flooding back. Memories of my own misspent youth, time abused with my spotty mates trying to decipher the hidden meaning to our favourite Judas Priest tracks! It seems at times to be almost spoof like, perhaps as a consequence of extremely honest and upfront writing style.
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!
Cheers Seb!
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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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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed the book in the beginning, thinking that Hunter was a real metal fan just writing to share his story but as the book wore on I could feel my empathy towards him slipping - this guy is not a true fan, as it even states on the back - 'Seb Hunter WAS a metal fan, and he's not proud' Not proud? Well don't write about it then!
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.
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