Apathy for the Devil
Simple and not very self-absorbed
I was quite surprised with Kent's simple style of writing. At first, judging the book by its cover, it's true, it seemed like a simple rock 'n' roll take, but not so. At least not for the first half of the book anyway.Kent tells of his life as a
life as a child, a teenager and getting smitten with hormones, non-moans and the likes. Gripes. Loves. His first tastes of music. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Getting aurally smacked by Led Zeppelin, seeing them in concert, getting backstage due to a mate.
School, moving away from home, starting out with writing about music and then, as the 1970s and Kent's youth really gets going, so does his writing. As stated, it's simple yet nothing's lost by that; it's a bit like Morrissey's lyrics; even though they're simple there is a lot behind it (even though this is actually short-changing Moz).
As Kent moves into writing for NME and getting his paws dirty in private with the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones plus getting his lingual traits in order, he meets with Lester Bangs and the Creem unit while visiting the USA for the first time. He also contracts STDs and starts doing heavy drugs.
A lot of the writing is about the waves of music during the 1970s; from the folk to the rock to the punk and into his heavy drug-use which inevitably turned him into a pathetic, homeless junkie.
Most of this book is very entertaining, interesting and funny; Kent jabs at himself with swagger as he should; the man is actually the reason why "Metallic KO" came into existing in the first place, and if that wasn't enough he actually was there during a lot of what happened; Iggy's getting into David Bowie, talking with Lester Bangs about interviewing Lou Reed, sticking around the making of "Exile On Main St".
Even though Kent does a good job at staying humble throughout most of the book, there is a bit of grumpy old man in here which doesn't suit the general taste of the book, and reminds me of how he's portrayed - and of how he portrays himself - in Julien Temple's "The Filth And The Fury": a belligerent, pompous person who tries to be somebody he's not. On the other hand: who's not, at some times?
All in all: a lot better than a bunch of autobiographies on music, but quite the way away from the poetic, autobiographic side of books, e.g. Patti Smith's radiant "Just Kids".
Get this and you won't be disappointed.