5 Things a Rock Author Can’t Believe Bands Told Him
Rock author Jon Wiederhorn's latest book Raising Hell (Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends) is focused entirely on, well, what the title states! While the intent was to speak with metal artists about some of their most outrageous moments, there's still a few things that caught him off guard when putting the book together.
Before we dove into that with Wiederhorn in the video interview at the top of the page, we had to know how he got away with asking artists the one thing you're never supposed to ask, which is, "What's the craziest thing that's happened on tour?" It's a completely amateur move by most journalistic standards, but this seasoned pro managed to turn that dreaded question into a nearly 500-page book.
The author chalked it up a long-standing working relationship with these artists and acknowledged that there's a level of trust between the two sides that helped facilitate the assembly of Raising Hell. He knew exactly which artists wouldn't be bashful about their mom reading these tales of danger and debauchery.
First up is Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction. "He's not typically metal, but [he's a] wonderful guy and certainly knows his way around a metal riff," said Wiederhorn, who went on to relay the guitarist's story of scoring "good heroin" before a massive gig at Madison Square Garden. He and his bandmate copped some dope, shot up and proceeded to nod off, waking just before the show started.
They rushed to the venue and, without their backstage passes, they weren't permitted entry by security and had to sneak their way in. What they didn't realize was the the circus was in town, and in one of the sections of the Garden, all these wild animals were present in cages, which they had to pass, still higher than the dickens as big cats extended their paws outside the cage as they passed by. They hit the stage right as the intro was starting.
Beyond that, we're told of an early career Judas Priest having a case of "sticky fingers" as petty theft ran rampant among the band. We learned about a rather unexpected stoner metal sex icon in addition to the fact that Limp Bizkit bassist Sam Rivers nearly died of liver disease and received a liver transplant as his life was set to expire.
Amid the chaos and typical rock 'n' roll shenanigans are cautionary tales like that of Rivers as well as one from Corey Taylor. The Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman used to huff Scotchgard (a fabric and upholstery protector that comes in an aerosol can), thinking he could see the future. In reality, he was no clairvoyant and he warned against following in his footsteps.
If these stories titillated you, there's plenty more to be found in Raising Hell. Get yourself a copy here and dive in. There's a foreword written by Gary Holt too, so you know it's gotta be a good read if Officer Holt gives it his endorsement.
If for whatever reason you're still not sure this book is for you (what's the matter with you?), read the entire chapter about artists stealing stuff below.
Jon Wiederhorn is the co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.
Raising Hell (Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends): "Thieves" Chapter — 45 Stories of Rocker Theft