Saturday, April 4, 2015

From The Library: Apathy For The Devil by Nick Kent

There are music writers, and there are music writers. 

Nick Kent is one of the absolute legends of music scribedom, and has lived a fast-lane life worthy of memoir-ization. In Apathy For The Devil, Kent lets it all hang out, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of his music-writing life. And there's plenty of all of the above to take in.

Nick Kent wrote primarily during one of rock's most interesting eras - the 1970s, and the chapters in Apathy For The Devil each cover a year in that decadent decade. His duties with the NME had him tagging along with all the big guns of the day, and many of his tales involve one of my favorites, those rascally Rolling Stones ("The Rolling Stones didn't have foreheads. Just hair, big lips, and a collective aura of rampaging insolence."). 

As is the case with many of us writers, Kent was a huge fan of the bands he wrote about, as well as actually doing the occasional musician thing. And as is the case with many of those rock stars he wrote about, Kent didn't escape the darker underbelly of what sometimes comes along with being in a band. That he honestly and openly relays his struggles with drugs makes me think him quite brave, and his self-deprecation for those, and other, transgressions helps to both lighten the mood and offer himself up as an inadvertent cautionary tale. 

Through it all, Kent charms. Page after page begs to be turned, and turned quickly. His tone is just perfect, and his comments are occasionally quite cheeky. His (numerous) exploits must be read to be believed, and Apathy For The Devil is probably especially interesting to those of us who are on the writerly side of the music scene. Thankfully, Nick Kent came out of those days in one piece (relatively). He says it best; "Once upon a time I was just another dead fop walking. But I changed ranks along the way and now I am a soldier of love." 

Highly recommended reading. 


[posted 4.4.15]   

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