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Hell Bent for Leather | Blogcritics
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class="single single-post postid-22682 single-format-standard">

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Today on Blogcritics

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Home »
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Hell Bent for Leather

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class="post-22682 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry tag-books-2 tag-nonfiction post-listing">
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Hell Bent for Leather


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Someone’s stolen my idea! Hell Bent for Leather by Seb Hunter tells the tale told by a thousand guitar players. Subtitled Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict, it follows the dream of one guitar-slinger to make it big. One in a million does. Most end up packing away their guitar under the bed and selling the rest of their equipment. Or in Hunter’s sad case his Marshall half stack was kept by band mates after he quit the band he had been playing in.

Having acquired the addiction myself (though not to heavy metal), I know of which he speaks. I’ve been playing for more than 35 years and gave up any idea of making it years ago. I’d be happy just to have a regular gig with a working band, which, if you read Hunter’s book, is not that easy to achieve. Incompetent musicians, drug-addled drummers, singers who can’t sing, all stand in the way.

Hunter, who was born in 1971, lives in the U.K. His story starts with his initial exposure to AC/DC. Not letting a lack of talent stop him, he forms a band with a mate he hasn’t even met in person yet. Such are the dreams of youth.

His journey from rank amateur to rank semi-professional gives a picture of the metal scene from the 80s through the 90s in the U.K. Hunter lists his favorite bands and some not-so-favorite. The arrival of Kurt Cobain put an end to Seb’s dreams of heavy metal stardom. He now works in the book trade according to the book jacket.

Hunter covers all the bases; drugs, drink, makeup, sex, broken dreams, high hair, and what defines a cool guitar.

Definitely a cautionary tale.


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About
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Neal Gardner
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  • Bryce Eddings

    Listed at Advance

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    good stuff Neal. I been thinking of picking this up for a while, but it kinda fell off the radar. thanks for reminding me!

  • Eric Olsen

    Neal, this is one of the archetypal myths of our culture and even “good luck” isn’t on your side because those who “make it too soon” very often don’t know how to handle it, while those who never make it are often embittered by the fruitless pursuit. Thanks and welcome!

  • http://www.templeofdagon.net Andrew Ian Dodge

    I was less than impressed with this book, as I stated in my review. Its a Guardinista apologia, rather than anything else. There are better books of a similar nature available.

    Its a wee bit inaccurate anyway, the bloke was in a glam rock band; hardly heavy metal.

  • Ron

    I have had the time of my life reading this book.

    Mostly because I was a huge metalhead myself. Like Seb I tried making it in metal but unlike him, I didn’t throw my studies and job prospects away, as I knew the odds of succeding were more than slim.

    So I read his “report” with a certain admiration, for his dedication in basically ignoring reality for many years.

    I could relate to certain things in the book really well. The part where he buys a Venom record just for the sake of annoying his father is the carbon copy of me sending my father to buy the infamous WASP “I F…k like a beast” single for my birthday.

    The book mixes his personal story with mini metal “tutorials” detailing the key metal concepts (guitars, band names, genres…). His analysis about the importance of live albums for metal bands is spot on. Actually, since the book came out, Iron Maiden did release two extra live albums, which tends to confirm his theory about them being the biggest producers of double live metal albums.

    All in all, I can’t recommend enough this book enough to those who know metal a bit. Unfortunately for the others, they may well miss the point. It is one thing to read about Slayer’s “reign in blood”, but without having actually heard it, it is difficult to understand why Seb, still to this day is “marvelling at it, from behind my sofa”