Bodies: Life and Death in Music

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Bodies: Life and Death in Music

Bodies: Life and Death in Music

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And it’s a story still unfolding: in the gap between writing and publishing Bodies, two of the book’s subjects - Mark Lanegan and Taylor Hawkins - lie dead. It’s impossible, given recent events, not to be moved by the mention of Taylor Hawkins’ near-fatal overdose in London in 2001 and the observation that, ‘Aside from this… the band’s exoskeleton has survived everything that has rained down upon it.

It's a moving, poignant and sometimes harrowing account of musicians struggles with depression, addiction and other mental health concerns. Ian Winwood is a music journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Kerrang! A band with a singer who was a predator hiding in plain sight (very plain sight as there were forum posts warning fans about him years before his arrest) and the remaining members who have had their life's work flushed away in a manner only members of the Glitter Band have experienced. A very personalised take and view on the industry, unfortunately covering so much of the loss that comes with the inevitable highs of making it, especially in light of the recent loss to Taylor Hawkins to a drugs overdose (not covered).An extremely sobering book about a music journalist’s descent into addiction and his examples of why working in the music industry is dangerous for your health.

The guy seems likeable and honest and, even if I’m not a fan of most of the bands mentioned, the stories of life on the road were very interesting. I didn't realise that this book would also be about Ian's descent into addiction (and recovery); if at least one person reads it and it resonates with them and they seek help (be they a musican or not), great (not doing it justice but I hope you get what I mean.Winwood draws on his decades of interviewing bands in dressing rooms and tour buses - not to mention his own bracingly described drug hell - to examine why the industry attracts so many people vulnerable to addiction and mental health problems. Also I am sorry for once thinking that Nick Cave made better music when he was a heroin addict, I'd rather he was well. this is a personal account of a journey through a couple of decades of the most tawdry period in one of the world's most misunderstood "industries".

But for Winwood, it’s also a telling story: Watkins’s bandmates and management were aware that he had problems, and had attempted to help, but had no idea how bad things actually were, because the problems they thought Watkins had were so commonplace within the music industry, where drug addiction and “gruelling and maddeningly dysfunctional behaviour” are normalised.The must-read music book of the year, now with a brand new chapter covering the death of Taylor Hawkins and his massive Wembley memorial concert. Dave Grohl (solo) and Nine Inch Nails are set to join James Gang, The Black Keys and The Breeders for ‘the concert for our veterans’, VetsAid. I urge absolutely everyone in bands, the music industry and otherwise to read 'Bodies' by IanWinwood immediately. But beneath the surface lies a frightening truth: for years the music industry has tolerated death, addiction and exploitation in the name of entertainment.

Written with warmth, humour and bracing honesty, Bodies is a deeply personal story and essential reading for musicians and fans alike. Winwood tells a lot of stories about those who have suffered, those lost along the way, and asks why it keeps happening. I'm certainly more aware now of the huge pressures they face, I just wish they had been able to get support for their struggles. But the main story plots the sinister machinations of a music industry that is more interested in profiteering from the creativity of its artists, than supporting their health and well being.At least until, distressingly, the author's familial narrative comes crashing down, adding yet more fuel to a blaze of self-immolation. It’s telling that the most pro-active organisation Bodies describes is a charity partly funded by musicians themselves, which plans to set up hubs in venues and provide a kind of mental health MOT to audience members and performers alike. Photograph: Anders Birch/ROCKPHOTO/EPA View image in fullscreen Motörhead’s frontman Lemmy, whose voice had the ‘rattle of someone thirsty for air’.

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