Rock Reads: Hammered: Heavy Tales from the Hard Rock Highway by Kirk Blows

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

The book is called Hammered mostly because its author, rock journalist Kirk Blows, is the former editor of Metal Hammer magazine. The moniker is quite apt in another respect though since a great deal of the subjects that Blows speaks with for these 50-or-so remembrances are thoroughly inebriated.

One of Ace Frehley's bad days with booze is chronicled in a chapter titled Ace off His Face, Ozzy Osbourne refuses to eat his soup until a significant amount of sherry has been poured into it in Slurp of the Day and Joe Walsh, a goofy character anyway, is the extremely-soused subject of the amusing Sozzled in Seville.

Humor is a big part of what makes Hammered good reading; everyone knows that rock stars party excessively but Blows seems to have caught many of them here in especially laughable situations.

There's serious stuff too; Queen's Brian May talks about being upset over the way Freddie Mercury's illness and death were handled by the media, Def Leppard's Phil Collen speaks about the death of the group's guitarist Steve Clark and the tragic car crash that cost drummer Rick Allen an arm and there's detailing of in-band squabbling too, notably in a lengthy piece where Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister details his falling-out with (now deceased) guitarist Wurzel.

But mostly you have short pieces, like Blow's meeting with Lita Ford where the two share a of bottle of Jack Daniels while she reveals that she doesn't give a [fig] about her former band mates in the Runaways and that yes, she would love to pose nude for Penthouse magazine, a notion that understandably derails Blows' ability to concentrate.

Some of the other big names that are covered are Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Meat Loaf, Michael Schenker and members of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Guns N'Roses, Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, Metallica and UFO but there's also good stuff here in the conversations with lesser-known acts like Dogs D'Amour, the Quireboys, Dumpy's Rusty Nuts, Gypsy Queen and the Macc Lads.

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