Mick Wall’s Getcha Rocks Off (book review)

Writing about music now is very different from Mick Wall’s decades of involvement in the music industry, working both in PR and as a writer. Then it was very hands-on. Wall was part of the action. Now it’s digital and antiseptic, with less and less human interaction (much like all life is becoming now). It’s rock ‘n’roll 21st century style, which is something of an oxymoron in and of itself.

Getcha Rocks Off: Sex & Excess. Bust-Ups & Binges. Life & Death on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Road

Getcha Rocks OffSo, Getcha Rocks Off tells the tale of a golden age of rock and metal, such as we will sadly never see again. No one pays for music anymore if they can help it (or films or television shows – says a lot for the times we live in) so the money is no longer there for any kind of excess. Moreover, with the possible exceptions of Mastodon and Muse, where are the next big metal and rock bands? We know the answers in our hearts, sadly. Nowadays so much of what passes for an ‘interview’, especially in the surviving major print publications, is merely PR for the band, with no awkward or interesting questions asked. After all, the publication depends on the bands and their record labels for advertising revenue, so they can’t dare rock the boat.

Getcha Rocks Off is both an extension and expansion of an excellent earlier Mick Wall book called Paranoid, also well worth reading. Mick Wall is a proper old-school journalist. My personal highlight from the book is the chapter ‘Jimmy Page: The Dark Magus’ – it is worth the price of the book alone. I quote from it below (this is from when Mick was interviewing Jimmy at the time of the released of his ‘Outrider’ solo album):

‘At no time on this long musical journey had I anticipated actually sitting down with Jimmy Page, the dark master, and discussing any of this. It was one thing to sit there for hours on end putting up with Jon Bon Jovi telling you how his latest album was the best thing he’d ever done and how the new tour was going to be their best ever, your face aching from the effort of continually smiling as you played along, but quite another to sit down with a gen-u-wine rock god, and somehow not look and talk like the gurning awestruck fan you were, and would be desperately trying to conceal.’

I was still thinking like this when he walked into the room.

Hello, I’m Jimmy. Pleased to meet you.

I followed him into his studio where I sat next to him while he played me the Outrider album. Loudly.’

I’d asked for some beer. If we were going to sit and dig the new album, some beer was the absolute minimum requirement, surely? Jimmy’s manager had asked what kind of beer I wanted. I said Pilsner, half-expecting him to say they only had Budweiser or something equally disappointing. But within moments of sitting down in the studio a cold-tray with twelve cans of Pilsner lager embedded in ice appeared at my side. I noticed a similar tray being laid down on Jimmy’s side of the desk, but that only had Kestrel lager on it. The alcohol-free variety.’

If this was what he had to do to take control of what was left of his life, I was glad for him. But sad for me because I’d’ve loved to have known the black swan with the glowing red eyes that sailed the unchartered rock seas of the Seventies. The one with the largest private collection of Crowley artefacts in the world including the master’s haunted old dwelling in Scotland, Boleskine House. The one with the wands and the whips and the heroin on ice. You know the one. …’

A superb book from a superb writer.


More extracts from mickwall.com.

Facebook: mickwallofficial
Twitter: @WallMick

Getcha Rocks Off: Sex & Excess. Bust-Ups & Binges. Life & Death on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Road was published June 2015 and is available now:  Orion Books (UK),  Amazon.ca.

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).