Other Books

Being Bad

Embed from Getty Images   A short extract from the opening chapter of John Scanlan, Sex Pistols: Poison in the Machine (2016). This is from Chapter 1, ‘I’ll Be So Bad’, which is about Malcolm McLaren in the 1960s. It was October 1964. Malcolm McLaren, then a few months shy of his nineteenth birthday and […]

Filmrock Music as Object / Product

Bowie Bonds

In the early 1990s David Bowie began to detach himself from the weight of his own musical legacy, and in doing so – which involved disappearing from the hit parade – he nonetheless ended up as one of the richest rock stars in the world. And while it is true that reinvention was more or […]

40 Years: 76-77

A hell of a haircut

Forty years ago today, on tour with the Clash, Richard Hell. I go into some detail about Malcolm McLaren’s attempt to bring Hell to London in 1975-ish in my Sex Pistols book (which is actually a book about Malcolm McLaren)  something that Richard Hell himself writes about in his excellent autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very […]



‘The Kinks: Songs of the Semi-Detached’ by Mark Doyle (expected 2018). Of all the great British rock bands of the 1960s, none had a stronger sense of place than the Kinks. The core members of the group grew up in what George Orwell once described as the “inner-outer suburbs” of North London, a safe, unexciting land […]



Poor old Bruce Springsteen. The longer he keeps going, the more of the old venerable arenas that serviced rock during its peak years he ends up closing down – last old rocker standing as the buildings around him crumble – as the Los Angeles Times reported today. The latest closure in this trend is the Los […]

Reverb Titles

Road Music

Easy Riders, Rolling Stones: On the Road in America, from Delta Blues to 70s Rock John Scanlan September 2015 (UK) / October 2015 (North America). Easy Riders, Rolling Stones travels back into the history of American popular music of the twentieth century to explore the emergence of ‘road music’. This music – blues, R’n’B, and […]


Career of Evil

Blue Oyster Cult with Patti Smith, ‘Career of Evil’ (Albert Bouchard / Patti Smith), originally appeared on the Blue Oyster Cult album, Secret Treaties (1974).


Like a Rolling Stone

It sounds like the name of an unassuming clerical officer from Stevenage, or some other provincial outpost on these islands. Stanley Booth. But, it’s a name that anyone interested in writing that is concerned with music and musicians as its subjects – rock’n’roll, R’n’B, blues – should know. But, you know, I don’t think Stanley […]

Reverb Titles

Zen Rock’n’roll

‘I hate the word maturing’, singer David Lee Roth once said. ‘I don’t like the word evolving – or any of that bullshit. The point is to keep it as simplistic, as unassuming, and as stupid as possible.’ This book follows Van Halen’s pursuit of the art of artlessness, and describes how they characterize ‘Zen California’ […]


Grits Ain’t Groceries

Or, time for some songs about food. We begin with the famous scene from Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson’s as Bobby Dupea, attempting to order some toast without breaking the diner rules. Not sure I’ve I’ll be able to segue that into the playlist at the bottom – but here it is to set […]