Originally, I had the idea of this book skewed. I thought it was a string of interviews with the people in question throughout this book. At first, it took a little to get into since it wasn’t what I had expected but when I grasped what Kent was actually doing, I read through this book at unimaginable speed.
Profiling many musicians through his own experiences and interviews with others as well as the people in question, he paints so many pictures most would never have considered prior to this. Sid Vicious, for one, is acclaimed for his behaviour at times, but never before have I seen him depicted as ‘an explosive dim wit’. I’m more than accustomed of hearing how intelligent Nancy was, if anything, and linking him with that.
I also never knew how, dare I say, fucked up Brian Wilson was. The longest profiling of the book, it really surprised me to know all the troubles and odd personality traits he held. Honestly, I’ve never looked at the Beach Boys like that. At best, I knew their music and the fact that the Wilson brothers were involved; the Beach Boys were just a happy, successful band I was aware of growing up. You never know the shit the legends go through.
Kurt Cobain is profiled as a cult hero, but Kent depicts him as a man who is never satisfied when his dreams come true. That much is clear to anyone who reads his interviews throughout his life, but history and press dictates him to be a hero and for his death to be a tragedy. I’d never considered it not to be a tragedy, but a blessing for someone who simply did not want to be here.
Nick Kent was capable, and presumably still is, of asking the questions the get the answers people want. My first interview of 2012 was yesterday and the interviewee was someone who should go to rehab – someone his band mates plead with to go to rehab – and I couldn’t bring myself to ask about it. Try as I might, I’m not quite there yet. Nick Kent is a master of his art and, in turn, presented a really good, interesting read.
He did note at the start he asked his favourite journalist to teach him his ways. So, Nick, if you’re reading… I have my notebook ready, come teach me your ways.