The best heavy metal books on my shelf

Brent Abell Author Of Death Inc.
By Brent Abell

The Books I Picked & Why

What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography

By Bruce Dickinson

What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography

Why this book?

I am a huge Iron Maiden fan, like a devoted acolyte fan. Over the years, I’ve seen them multiple times, bought a closet full of concert shirts, and collected their beers/Funko Pops/album deluxe versions. Bruce Dickinson is the band’s second vocalist, and here he gives us the tales of his early days in Samson before joining Steve Harris and the Maiden crew. We get stories of his childhood and family in typical autobiography fashion, but it takes off once he gets into the meat of his time with Iron Maiden.

The book is captivating because he reflects on leaving Maiden to follow a solo career. The struggles he dealt with personally and professionally paint a picture of a man who had it all but wanted to try something new. The book’s final portion deals with his return to Iron Maiden and how he went through cancer. Cancer could’ve ended his career as a vocalist, but he battled it and came back stronger than ever. Overall, it is an insightful look at the life of the man singing for one of the world’s biggest metal bands.


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White Line Fever: The Autobiography

By Lemmy, Janiss Garza

White Line Fever: The Autobiography

Why this book?

If a person ever personified being a metal god, it was Lemmy. The leader for the legendary Motorhead didn’t care about how he appeared to people. Lemmy wanted to kick ass on stage and leave a legacy marked by booze and smokes. This book shines the light on how Lemmy rose to become one of the most influential vocalists and bass players in metal. If you like an irreverent look at the price of fame, this book is for you.


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Monsters of River & Rock: My Life as Iron Maiden's Compulsive Angler

By Adrian Smith

Monsters of River & Rock: My Life as Iron Maiden's Compulsive Angler

Why this book?

Adrian Smith is one of the lead guitar players in Iron Maiden. Adrian has a passion beyond the stage and his career; he loves fishing. When I first picked up the book, I wasn’t sure how the book would be at keeping me engaged and interested. I’m not a fisherman, and I don’t relish going outside much. The book begins with him recounting how he started his love of fishing near his childhood home when he was younger. The book then uses his touring and recording schedules to recount his fishing trips and most extraordinary catches spanning the globe. Each catch is part of a tapestry woven through his life on the road. In the end, I found myself in awe of how much Adrian loves to fish and how seriously he takes it as a hobby.


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Scar Tissue

By Anthony Kiedis

Scar Tissue

Why this book?

The path Anthony Kedisand his bandmates have taken from their beginnings through stardom is incredible. Amazingly, they’re still alive. Kedis begins with his childhood and spins tales of when Hollywood stars would be with drugs at his parent’s house. The scenes left an impression on Kedis that he’s fought his entire life. Drugs become a significant hurdle in his life that constantly threatens to take away everything the Red Hot Chili Peppers have built. The book can be depressing. Kedis recounts when Flea and himself blow all their royalty money and are squatting in an abandoned apartment taking heroin. Kedis sheds light on his relationships and drug use in a way that makes his story remarkable and uplifting.


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Confess: The Autobiography

By Rob Halford

Confess: The Autobiography

Why this book?

I saved the best for last. Rob Halford has lived the life of the Metal God for decades. In his autobiography, Halford doesn’t shy away from anything. The title is truthful; the pages are his confession for a life lived on the edge. Halford begins with his childhood and how he grew to love singing. He has one of the widest vocal ranges in metal, and his influence over the past fifty years with Judas Priest or his solo works is undeniable. Where this autobiography stands out is Halford speaking about how he hid his homosexuality from everyone. The pain he explains is genuinely heartbreaking, and I found myself surprised by how moving his words are. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t a sad book because Halford has fun telling his story to the world.

By the book’s end, when he comes clean to the public about his life in public, you feel the weight lifted off your shoulders along with Halford. The words are both uplifting and sorrowful, but never with regrets. I rank this as my favorite because of the message to live life on your own terms and not hide your true self from the world. Rob Halford has confessed, and everyone should read and reflect on his words.


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