Hanging out with rock stars, trying to steal their chicks, or throwing up over their guitars after launching into the hospitality a little too enthusiastically, Mick Wall spent much of the 1980s sprawled inn limos and five-star hotels with the biggest rock bands in the world, including Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Motorhead and more.
He was Kerrang! magazine’s star writer and the presenter of Monsters of Rock, his own weekly show on Sky TV, and the decade passed in a blur of hard drugs, hot women, and some of the heaviest people your mother definitely would not like. Depicting a word where vague concepts like ‘the future’ are disdained in favour of nights that last a week and weeks that last forever, Getcha Rocks Off is the kind of book you need to put on your leather jacket to read, open that bottle of Jack and reach for the Charlie. And let the good times roll.
Getcha Rocks Off jumps straight into the chaos of the time, taking stock (and more drugs) after a coke-fuelled rampage through the rock spots of Los Angeles. Mick takes you through a decade of stories of rock gods and their hangers-on. He tells tales of their habits and insecurities and takes you through a glimpse of their world.
Have you seen Ed Sheeran and Rudimental’s music video for ‘Bloodstream’? (I know…not rock!) Mick Wall’s book is basically this video as told by someone who watched it all from the sidelines. A bit distasteful, but mostly it just leaves you feeling pity for those involved.
Probably one of the most telling parts of the story was an anecdote from Mick’s childhood of standing outside the pub waiting for his dad – on the periphery wondering what it’d be like to be allowed in. No surprise then, that as an adult, Mick threw himself into the rock’n’roll lifestyle of the 80s, not content to be on the outskirts anymore.
There is something a bit sad about this book – an aging journalist selling his stories of proximity to the legends of an era, not to mention his struggles with drugs. It’s a sad remembrance, as evidenced in the acknowledgements when he writes…
“I never would have made it across the river of shit to find the gold on the other side, only to lose it again, if it hadn’t been for the depthless kindness and generosity over the years in question of the following incredible people, some of whom don’t speak to me anymore”…”and…others who will now hate me even more for not remembering to list them here”
This is basically a memoir of an ‘almost’ life – he was almost a big thing in TV (musics shows and sitcoms), almost a big DJ, almost managed by the big guns, but a life lived in apathy saw these opportunities drift away. In a time where, as Mick Wall spells out, the internet has done away with the need for exalted rock journalist, ‘Getcha Rocks Off’ tells of a time when a press pass gave you access to all areas.
This book is definitely what it purports to be – all about the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll of the ear. If this offends, then it’s not the read for you. If you’re up for an unsanitised tour through some gritty times (or think that your once-long-haired, 80’s rock loving Dad might like it as a present), check it out!
I give ‘Getcha Rocks Off’ 6/10
(Book supplied by Hachette NZ)