Ah, October . . . one of my favorite months of the year. Leaves are turning glorious shades of red, orange and gold, delicious wild mushrooms are abundant in the woods, and it’s finally cold enough to break out all my hand-knit scarves and hats. Plus October has the best holidays . . . Indigenous Peoples’ Day, National Grouch Day, Halloween and a month-long celebration of all things rock n’ roll . . . ROCKTOBER.
There are many ways one can pay homage to the gods and goddesses of rock during the month of Rocktober. You can blast Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” at full volume while cruising around town in your beat-up old van, a la Jack Black in School of Rock. You can watch This Is Spinal Tap for the eleventy-millionth time. You can belt out your most impassioned version of “Crazy on You” at karaoke night.
Or you could read one of these excellent recently published books in rock biography, history and criticism.
Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars by David Hepworth
British rock critic Hepworth’s book is an informative, entertaining and witty biography of the concept of the rock star, from its genesis in the 1950s to its decline in the 1990s. Each chapter highlights a different individual or group who contributed to rock star mythology, focusing on a pivotal moment in their career and its reverberations throughout the decades.
Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel. Revisit the history of the Seattle grunge scene with former Hole drummer Patty Schemel’s raw, gritty and revealing memoir. In candid and gripping prose, Schemel describes Hole’s rise to stardom in early 1990s and her harrowing descent into addiction, homelessness and sex work following her departure from the band in 1998.
Women Who Rock
This lavishly illustrated volume, edited by Evelyn McDonnell, celebrates 106 of the most icon female performers with short profiles, each written by women rock writers and pundits, that place each artist in historical and musical context. For even more books about women in rock, check out this list I compiled a few years ago and just recently updated.
Just A Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy With the Rolling Stones at Altamont by Saul Austerlitz
Austerlitz reexamines one of the darkest moments of 60s rock history – the 1969 free concert given by the Rolling Stones at Altamont Speedway in California in which the Hell’s Angels, hired as security for the concert, killed a young Black man named Meredith Hunter. Unlike previous accounts of this infamous event, Austerlitz provides a full portrait of Hunter through interviews with his friends and family.
None of these titles grabbing your interest? Never fear, we’ve got 21 other suggestions for you on this list. Check it out, and for those about to rock, we salute you.
~ posted by Abby