You want to know what you’re getting before you spend money on an autobiography, so often full of fluff everyone knows already. Not these ones. From Kim Gordon to Alex James, here’s 20 of the juiciest rock ‘n’ roll memoirs that don’t hold back…
Kim Gordon – ‘Girl In A Band’
Sonic Youth co-founder and all-round badass Kim Gordon released her excellent memoir earlier this year, which details her fascinating life, as well as branding Billy Corgan a ‘crybaby’, questioning Courtney Love’s mental health and Lana Del Rey’s feminist credentials.
Viv Albertine – ‘Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys’
The winner of the Book of the Year prize at the NME Awards 2015 with Austin, Texas, the former member of The Slits’ autobiography sees her hanging out with the Sex Pistols and The Clash, as well as playing guitar in one of the most innovative bands of the punk era.
Marianne Faithfull – ‘Faithfull’
From teen pop star and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend to living on a wall in Soho, Marianne Faithfull has lived one action packed life. The epitome of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Keith Richards – ‘Life’
Not so much a memoir as a pharmaceutical store-room checklist, this elegantly wasted book shows The Rolling Stone’s surprisingly keen eye for detail, especially considering the amount of substances he’s ingested over the years.
Antony Kiedis – ‘Scar Tissue’
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman has lived a pretty intense life. ‘Scar Tissue’ deals with his own drug addiction and details the dark stories behind some of his band’s most popular songs.
Patti Smith – ‘Just Kids’
The high priestess of punk is currently turning her award-winning memoir into a screenplay. Based on her life with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and own musical awakening, it paints a vivid picture of New York.
Legs McNeil – ‘Please Kill Me’
The definitive guide to US punk in the 1970s, author McNeil founded the Punk fanzine. Juicy tales come courtesy of Iggy Pop and The Ramones, with goss on everyone who held a guitar on the Lower East Side.
Slash – Slash
“It seems excessive, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen…” says the tagline on the cover of the Guns N’Roses guitarist’s memoir. We find out why he eventually left the rock icons and also his scary battle with drugs.
John Lydon – ‘Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’
The Sex Pistols’ classic 1994 memoir was followed last year by ‘Anger Is An Energy’, which tackles the outspoken frontman’s childhood. “I come from the dustbin,” he writes.
Ronnie Spector – ‘Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness’
Not only does this book give a revealing look at what it takes to be in one of the greatest girl groups of all time, it also casts a sinister light on Ronnie’s former husband and Wall of Sound svengali, Phil Spector.
Henry Rollins – ‘Get In The Van’
One of the definitive tour diaries, Rollins’ entertaining account of his days fronting hardcore icons Black Flag sees him trucking across the globe on a budget, complete with fights, fury and suspicious characters.
Marilyn Manson – ‘The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell’
Unsurprisingly disturbing, Marilyn Manson’s book is filthier than a shop-soiled copy of 50 Shades of Grey. From his school days to his kinky ways, this tells you everything you need to know – and somethings you definitely don’t – about the man born Brian Warner.
Pamela Des Barres – ‘I’m With The Band’
Professional groupie – her words, not ours – Pamela Des Barres details dalliances with Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Waylon Jennings and a whole load of rock stars in this surprisingly heart-warming read.
Lemmy – ‘White Line Fever’
Rock and roll’s most notorious bass player, Lemmy’s life is fascinating, thrilling and at times utterly terrifying. From playing with hippies Hawkwind, to forming thrash legends Motorhead, Lemmy has a brilliantly opinionated take on his own past.
Kristin Hersh – ‘Rat Girl’
Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh takes us through the stresses and strains for finding out you’re bi-polar and pregnant just when your band is taking off. A coming of age tale as much as a rock biog.
Richard Hell – ‘I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp’
Winner of the best titled rock memoir, Television’s Hell cuts to the chase in this enlightening book. “Being a rock and roll musician was like being a pimp. It was about making young girls want to pay money to be near you,” he writes.
Alex James – ‘Bit Of A Blur’
Blur bass player James gives a charming account of getting blasted in Soho on a daily basis while simultaneously being in one of Britpop’s biggest bands. Bjork, Damien Hurst and massive bags of cocaine all make cameo appearances.
Ozzy Osbourne – ‘I Am Ozzy’
From Aston to LA, Ozzy Osbourne’s story is an action packed one. It detailing his career with Black Sabbath and his solo work, as well as his prodigious drug-taking with humour and of course mentions that bat story.
David Lee Roth – ‘Crazy From The Heat’
Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth certainly isn’t the quiet type. Strippers, booze, drugs and more strippers make the backbone of this memoir of excess and the occasional arena show.