24 April 2010

Book Review: Rock Roadie: Backstage and Confidential with Hendrix, Elvis, the "Animals", Tina Turner, and an All Star cast




Rock Roadie: Backstage and Confidential with Hendrix, Elvis, The Animals, Tina Turner, and an all-star cast was a really enjoyable book, though I mainly read it for the parts about Hendrix I found there were a lot of stories about other artists James Wright worked with as well, like Tina and Ike Turner, and mainly "The Animals" it seems he was there road manager for a long time. They also all come from around the area my dad does (James and the Animals I mean) so it was good to read about positive things coming from the North East of England too. He also had Brian Jones and John Lennon at his...more I really enjoyed this book, though I mainly read it for the parts about Hendrix I found there were a lot of stories about other artists James Wright worked with as well, like Tina and Ike Turner, and mainly "The Animals" it seems he was there road manager for a long time. They also all come from around the area my dad does (James and the Animals I mean) so it was good to read about positive things coming from the North East of England too.
He also had Brian Jones and John Lennon at his 21st Birthday party, which must be a great memory to have in hindsight.
There were lots of funny moments where I genuinely laughed, and unexpected twists, he married a Polish princess and got stalked by the secret services for a time, and at one point was asked to work for them apparently though he refused (or so he says).
I always try to write critical book reviews which is really difficult with such an enjoyable book, but there was one thing that struck me about it. It really brings home the way women were treated by the music industry as sex objects in the 1960's (and how they were treated as property sometimes by their husbands, not by James, but at one point I was shocked by what one of the Animals did to and said about his wife). Though James tries to say he loved all the girls he slept with in their own way, he sure did sleep with a lot of girls! And was also responsible for picking the girls to be bought up to the bands rooms after gigs. There's one quite worrying anecdote about one of the animals (can't remember which one sorry) putting a girl under hypnosis and being unable to bring her out of the trance, so eventually they ended up waving a gun in her face to snap her out of it. I just hope she's OK now, but I have visions of a woman who has a nervous breakdown every time she hears "House Of The Rising Sun"...
He makes some formerly unstated revelations about Hendrix (no spoilers you'll have to read the book, but lets just say he could have done with keeping it in his pants more) and told me something I didn't know about Hendrix's Girlfriend Monika at the time of his death. There was lot of stuff about Michael Jeffery too, it's the only thing I've read so far that made me think of him as only human, where as before I just thought him as some kind of psycho. But there are also a lot of things he doesn't say, makes me wonder what else he knows sometimes...
well worth a read if you are a fan of musicians from this era I really enjoyed it, all I'd say is it's perhaps a book men would enjoy more than women, you really need to be a fan of this era, and understand it was different time before women's liberation to read it and enjoy it as a woman.


Buy the book now on amazon



2 comments:

Anji said...

It sounds like an interesting book, though I think you'd find that women/wives/groupies were treated the same through the 70s too. I read once that Hedrix was actually autistic - does that throw a different light on the way he behaved?....

Nancyrowina said...

It could, he was apparently discharged from the US Army as they couldn't train him, and he was also supposed to have caught masturbating in the toilet when he was supposed to be painting a ceiling! Whether that's true or not we'll probably never know but someone had gone to great lengths to fake the documents confirming it if it's not true.
It would also explain why he seemed to find it difficult to control his sex drive and sometimes slept with his friends wives. I've seen interviews of him talking and he seemed very eloquent and charming, but there's a huge scale of autism so it might not have been obvious.