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Pitched somewhere between Almost Famous and Withnail & I, Apathy for the Devil is a unique document of this most fascinating and troubling of decades – a story of inspiration, success and serious burn out.
As a 20-something college dropout Nick Kent’s first five interviews as a young writer were with the MC5, Captain Beefheart, The Grateful Dead, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Along with Charles Shaar Murray and Ian MacDonald he would go on to define and establish the NME as the home of serious music writing. And as apprentice to Lester Bangs, boyfriend of Chrissie Hynde, confidant of Iggy Pop, trusted scribe for Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, and early member of the Sex Pistols, he was witness to both the beautiful and the damned of this turbulent decade.
If Faber's contribution last year to the canon of rock journalism was Jon Savage's The England's Dreaming Tapes, then they have surpassed themselves this year with Apathy for the Devil.
As an eyewitness account of the dangerous excesses of the 1970s rock scene, Apathy for the Devil is in a compulsively readable class of its own. ... The big point that emerges from his book, with chilling clarity, is that the 1970s - the 'me decade' - had little time for the concept of kindred spirits. Apathy for the Devil's other salient characteristic is the remarkable memory of its author, which was apparently undamaged by his descent into full-blown drug addiction by the decade's end. Almost every page contains an anecdotal gem. ... It's a miracle, frankly, that Kent survived to tell this tale, but as anybody who romps through Apathy for the Devil will agree, we're all lucky that he did.
The rock writer's rock writer, Kent lived out a decade anyone would envy. A vivid, unsentimental account sees the author befriend Iggy Pop, date Chrissie Hynde, become a short-lived Sex Pistol ... and develop a taste for excess that rivals his subjects. An extraordinary tale.
Even if you have an ounce of rock 'n; roll in your body, you'll appreciate these you-couldn't-make-it-up tales of success, excess and burnout
Nick Kent's wonderfully entertaining Seventies memoir Apathy for the Devil.
While it adds some backstory to his classic interviews, it's also a "my-drug-hell" tale dispensed with a bleak wit and brutal candour. Sometimes the anecdotes seem too good to be true. ... Full of fabulous rock tittle-tattle but also some uncomfortable home truths, this is a book for anyone that's ever read a music magazine from cover to cover but still wanted to know more.
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