An engrossing deep dive into a lurid, free-wheeling moment in pop music.



An oral history of the guitar-shredding rise and sleazy, druggy fall of 1980s hair metal.

In this lively, comprehensive saga of the much-maligned genre, Beaujour and Bienstock deliver plenty of the sordid tales of sex and hard living that the music often celebrated—e.g., Motley Crüe’s orgies, a drug-addled Ozzy Osbourne snorting ants, Guns N’ Roses in heroin-steeped disarray—while also showing how many of the musicians were hard workers dedicated to their craft. Guitarists playing the clubs on LA’s Sunset Strip all aspired to Eddie Van Halen’s greatness; acts engaged in full-scale “flyer wars” to get attention for their gigs; and they labored diligently on songs to land lucrative record deals. The hairspray and spandex, by the bands’ lights, were just part of the necessary promotion and evidence of the effort they were putting in. “People are lazy [now],” says designer Al Bane, who outfitted a host of acts, lamenting the end of flashpots and assless chaps. The atmosphere was thick with casual misogyny toward disposable roadies and video models; Poison cynically pursued “ugly fat chicks” to attend shows as a point of differentiation. Throughout, the anecdotes are copious and irresistible: Great White singer Jack Russell’s going to jail after a PCP bender, Axl Rose’s chasing David Bowie out of a club for looking at his girlfriend the wrong way, Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach’s “inhaling beers” and getting into a drunken fistfight his first night with the band. Conventional wisdom dictates that Nirvana and grunge killed hair metal, but the musicians argue that oversaturation of bands was the real culprit. Regardless, the best-known acts now do brisk business on the nostalgia circuit. “The older fans are slightly larger now,” says L.A. Guns’ Tracii Guns, “so it makes the room look even fuller.”

An engrossing deep dive into a lurid, free-wheeling moment in pop music.

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-19575-3

Page Count: 560

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.


The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet