Yesterday, news of the long-awaited Johnny Ramone autobiography finally broke and is scheduled to be released this spring. It's hard to believe, but Johnny died in September 2004 and somehow his memoirs are being released now. It should be interesting to read what the iconic guitar's true thoughts were, especially outside Dee Dee Ramone's random diaries that were published after his death, this should give amazing insight to one of the most influential bands in music history. All this talk of rock autobiographies got me thinking about the best books I've read about musicians in the past few years.
5. Tony McCarroll, Oasis: The Truth – The first drummer of Oasis gives an amazing insider's point of view what it was like to be at the forefront of the Britpop boom of the mid-'90s. This is a quick read and a must have for any Oasis fan out there. Oh, by the way for those of you who are curious, McCarroll is firmly on team Liam and hates Noel.
4. Ozzy Osbourne, Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy – Though not necessarily an autobiography, the Prince of Darkness wrote of one of the more entertaining books in recent memory. Ozzy gives advice on a variety of topics, some comical and some serious. Either way, a terrific read and shows the Black Sabbath frontman's light side.
3. Pearl Jam, PJ20 – The text was written by rock journalist Jonathan Cohen, but this coffee table book has interesting tidbits and amazing photographs from the band's 20 years together. The book follows the group from its days as Mookie Blaylock to their boom and through all their rough patches. It leaves no stone unturned and is a must-have for any fan of the '90s.
2. Slash, Slash – Wow, where to begin on this one. Though former bandmate Duff McKagen recently released an autobiography of his own, I decided to stick with Slash's for two reasons: 1) I've read his already and 2) nothing could possibly top the in-depth stories that the guitar player shared about what was once the world's biggest rock band. To read about the disintegration from Guns 'N Roses from Slash's point of view is naturally skewed, but either, it was the first definitive history of the GNR from one of the band's key members. If you haven't read it, get your paws on it, now.
1. Clarence Clemons, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales: I write this with regret, as rock most famous saxophonist died last May suddenly from a stroke. A few months before his untimely death, Clemons released a semi-autobiography, which mixed true stories and tall tales that were as outsized as his larger than life personality. If you want to learn about Bruce Springsteen, the formation of the E-Street Band, and read some fun fictional stories that could have happened, check out this book.
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.