As someone who was part of the late 80s hard rock/hair metal scene, I was excited to read “Nothin’ But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ’80s Hard Rock Explosion.”
The book is billed as “the definitive, no-holds-barred oral history of 1980s hard rock and hair metal, told by the musicians and industry insiders who lived it,” and I wanted to hear all the stories I didn’t know about.
The book actually starts back in the L.A. rock scene of the late 70s/early 80s with bands like Van Halen and Quiet Riot, but the bulk of the book contains memories and anecdotes from musicians who ruled the charts and MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in the late 80s and early 90s.
Most of those interviewed represented the Sunset Strip scene – bands like Poison, Warrant, Ratt, Guns’n’Roses, L.A. Guns, Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd, Faster Pussycat, Slaughter, etc. – but the book also weaves in the east coast bands like Cinderella, Twisted Sister, Skid Row, Danger Danger, Trixter, etc.
The authors, Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, also interview musicians like Ozzy Osbourne (and Sharon), Tesla, Vixen, Nelson, Lita Ford, The Scorpions, plus various scene contributors from record label executives and album producers to club booking agents and journalists (though I was surprised they didn’t interview Metal Edge‘s Geri Miller, as she was a HUGE part of the scene).
As I mentioned earlier, I was part of the scene, but I was doing it from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I worked for a music store by day and by night I was running my own music mag, Rock Hard Forum, that allowed me to interview most of these bands as they came through town on tour, especially when they played Summerfest.
Here’s me with members of Warrant (top-Jani and Joey, bottom-Erik):
I’d heard some of these stories over the years, but a lot of these interviews presented new information or pieces that were missing.
Towards the end, the book even covers what happened when grunge hit. Quite a few really good albums like Warrant’s “Dog Eat Dog” were lost in that time because the labels were too excited over this new sound. It’s sad how fickle the industry can be.
If you’re a fan of these bands, I heartily recommend checking this book out. If you’re looking for all the sleazy groupie stories and tour hijinks, this book has some, but more as a passing story than a focus of the book.
The authors mention some interviews didn’t make it into the book, which is a shame, but overall, Nothin’ But a Good Time covers a lot of ground with a lot of bands and other relevant people who made the 80s hard rock scene what it was.
I’m giving Nothin’ But a Good Time a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received an advance e-book copy for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinion is honest, and as always, my own.
Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. It doesn’t add anything to your cost, should you choose to purchase something. Thanks!
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Tagged: 80s Hard Rock Explosion, book review, Cinderella, Danger Danger, Faster Pussycat, Guns'n'Roses, L.A. Guns, Nelson, Nöthin' But a Good Time, Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd, Ratt, Richard Bienstock, Skid Row, Tesla, The Scorpions, Tom Beaujour, Tuff, Twisted Sister, Vixen, Warrant