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Kerrang! Living Loud by Nick Ruskell - Review

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

So one thing you might not know about me is that I love music. I'm a big fan of indie music, punk music, Irish music, some metal, some pop, some country. I've been into music ever since I was a small child, and when I was thirteen I got really into Placebo and the Manic Street Preachers. I then got really into metal for a bit (while still loving the Manics) and then punk when I met Lee, and then I fell out of music for a bit until I got really into The Libertines when I was twenty one. Then I got into 3rd generation emo in my mid 20s, and the Gaslight Anthem, and now I just listen to what I want to and while I don't really keep an eye on music, I did see that this book came out and wanted to read it. I first of all read NME and Melody Maker, but when I was fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, I bought Kerrang religiously. I used to buy it from a newsagent on the way home from school, and the owner would keep a copy for me especially. I scoured every page of it weekly, looking for stuff about my favourite bands but reading all of it. I kept articles and stuff cut out from it for years. In fact, I probably still have them somewhere. There's definitely some issues of Kerrang hidden under my desk right now. I bought it again for a few years in my 20s, and I know it has remained important to some of my friends. 

The book is a pretty straightforward history of the magazine from its inception in 1981 to now, from when it was weekly in the 90s to the rise of its website and its own TV channel through to the present day when it's published quarterly. I learnt a lot about the history which was interesting, as well as the type of bands it would cover to those it wouldn't, and those it got criticised for covering (for example Muse). I will say that one of my only criticisms is that there is too much about the band Metallica, who were instrumental in the magazine's success I guess, but I really don't care about them and there was a LOT. I also think there's a lack of women (both in bands and in the writing team) featured, but metal music has always had that problem so it isn't surprising that the magazine reflected this. From my own memories I do remember them looking at some women, but often in a really sexualised way - and I do think they piled on the hate of Courtney Love in the years after Kurt Cobain's suicide. That's not a failing of this author or this book, of course, but it could maybe have been looked at. 

There are pages inserted throughout the book from different musicians that have feature a lot in the magazine and are particular faves, like Dani from Cradle of Filth, Muse, Ozzy Osbourne - a wide va\riety of people I think. I liked these and it really made me feel as a reader that the writers and the bands had had a lot of fun together and that there was a lot of mutual respect in most cases (although I utterly don't understand what the hell happened with Axl Rose...) I liked mentions of some of the high profile deaths that have happened, like Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, Kurt Cobain of course, and more recent deaths like those of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. 

It was a really nostalgic look for me at the past and at my teen years when I knew all the writers (and had my faves, of course) and the bands by glance if not more. I kept reading bits out to Lee and I really want him to read it. He is a secret Metallica fanboy so he'll probably love it! I am giving this four KKKKs out of five - thanks lads, for all the music. 

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