These are the stories I live for — the adventures and misadventures of the creative class; the tales that either debunk, prop up, and even add an extra layer of intrigue to the folklore and endless factoids taking up space in my head. They regenerate or challenge my love for the artists who dared to put it out there and my own perceptions of what might’ve driven them to do so, all the while keeping me engaged, entertained — and if I’m lucky — enlightened somehow.
Viv Albertine – Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys
Viv Albertine recently made the news for calling out the British Library’s exhibition Punk 1976-78 for not including the women who played just as much of a part in the punk scene as the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Clash. As chief songwriter and guitarist for the mega-influential Slits, she had a huge hand in the revolution that compelled legions of girls and boys to pick up their instrument of choice and make a go of it. She also inspired her one-time beau Mick Jones to write “Train In Vain (Stand By Me),” his answer song to the Slits track she penned — “Typical Girls.” Albertine doesn’t prettify the grittiness of her life — be it personal or professional. Her candor is refreshing and welcome, whether she’s writing about her father leaving her family, her brief dalliance with guitar god Johnny Thunders, her post-punk endeavors, raising her own daughter in the midst of a divorce, or venturing into territory most rock ‘n’ roll memoirs dare not venture into — aging unapologetically and with class.
Pauline Black — Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir
Speaking of class, another artist who was around during Viv’s era has plenty of loads of stories to tell, in a memoir that goes right for the jugular — The Selecter frontwoman Pauline Black’s 2012 memoir,Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir. Black came of age in postwar England in the 1950’s, and as a girl of mixed race parentage adopted by a white family, never felt like she fit in. Inspired by the American Black Power movement, she found her voice and at the helm of the platinum-selling UK ska band The Selecter.
Bob Stanley – Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story Of Pop Music From Bill Haley To Beyoncé
While not exactly qualifying as a memoir, Bob Stanley’s 2014 tome Yeah Yeah Yeah reads like musical confectionery — you can blaze through it like a box of Thin Mints. It may be a weighty, but it’s easy to devour in several sittings. Plus it’s also guilt-free and chock full of delicious trivia. Yeah Yeah Yeah is a spirited if not tongue-in-cheek study of the modern pop pantheon, and if anybody can pull it off, it’s Bob Stanley. Any music lover worth their salt will appreciate Stanley’s humor and treasure trove of tidbits, and appreciation of our rock ‘n’ roll heritage.
To read the rest of this list and find out what Mascorro thinks of Patti Smith, Keith Richard and The Velvet Underground’s memoirs click here!