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Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict Paperback – August 16, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060722932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060722937
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Anyone who's ever perused the headbanger press can attest that, when writing about heavy metal, one should not attempt to emulate the music's crushing, extravagant, vehement brutality. No, the excess of metal is best conveyed in more subdued tones, and it would seem that Seb Hunter concurs. Thanks to the first-time London author's light touch, the part primer, part memoir works well. Chronicling his devotion to the genre from his first encounter with an AC/DC record as a 10 year old through stints as a guitarist for a progression of bands with names like Armageddon's Ring, Excalibur, Rag 'n' Bones, the Trash Can Junkies, Cool Hand Luke, Cat Ballou, and Love Knuckle (that last one signaling his split from metal in a post-Nirvana alternative universe), Hunter relies heavily on humor, peppered with pathos and stark realism. Hunter's sad sack telling of his own rags-to-leather story is interrupted periodically for lessons on the fundamentals of metal, like why keyboards suck and how to tell the difference between thrash metal and speed metal. Useful stuff, and, in Hunter's hands, deftly delivered. Metalheads will appreciate Hunter's keen understanding of their beloved music and its attendant folkways, but one needn't know the difference between Stryper and Slayer to get a rush from Hell Bent for Leather. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In the mold of Chuck Klosterman's cult hit Fargo Rock City, Hunter brings a British accent to this exploration of the pop cultural phenomenon of heavy metal music and culture. Mixing his memories of small-town England with an encyclopedic knowledge of heavy metal, Hunter creates a book that, thanks to its combination of poignancy and hilarity, is as infectious as a well-crafted power ballad. Hunter's earnest take on the usual who's who of the metal world (Anthrax: "They were the U2 of Metal") is dead-on, but he truly shines when he goes the extra mile to give the unwritten rules that heavy metal bands and their fans must follow (true metal bands must release a double live album; "When it comes to coats you chose between two: denim or leather"). And not only does Hunter know the rules, he follows them too as he teaches himself the guitar and grows his hair long. Despite starting metal band after metal band (from Armageddon's Ring to Cat Ballou), his ill-fated attempts to follow in his heroes' footsteps never reach the heights of his rock and roll dreams. Finally, as years of believing in the fantasy world of heavy metal collide with the responsibilities and truths of the real world, Hunter must decide if the "rock and roll all nite and party every day" lifestyle is really for him. Given his love of Kurt Cobain and inclusion of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti as a top five metal album of all time, true metalhead readers will have a great time disagreeing with some of Hunter's observations. Everyone else who reads this book will just have a great time. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Mister Seb Hunter is a really good heavy metal historian.
P.Y.GOD
Although I'm just over half way through, I think I've now read enough in order to express a thought out opinion on this book.
Steven Stewart
If you want to have a good laugh at yourself pick up a copy of this book.
entity

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By entity on October 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
This reads like the lives of so many during the hair rock period of the 80's, including myself. And although I also frequently flirted with glam side of metal (RATT, Dokken), I was a thrasher through and through. Hunter has a wonderfully light humorous touch and the parts where I found myself laughing the heartiest the parts where he described exactly how I had behaved then. If you want to have a good laugh at yourself pick up a copy of this book. And if you enjoy it as much as I did, you will also be ordering all those albums you sold ages ago to support your band's drug habits: Led Zeppelin Four, Highway to Hell, Master of Puppets, and Holy Diver.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By pg94au on July 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book contains a very witty analysis of heavy metal culture, from its long hair, bullet belts, and tight jeans, to pointy headstocks on electric guitars and Marshall amps. Whether you are a fan of metal or not, you will find much to laugh at (or with).

These observations on the metal scene are interspersed throughout what is actually a story about the author's ups and downs, on his quest to become a metal superstar. So while the commentary on the metal scene is more or less universal, the rest of this book is one man's journey.

It doesn't necessarily detract much from the book, but it will probably be disappointing to anyone who reads it, that it is ultimately a story about how the author got out of the metal scene, and not a celebration of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bradley DeBlanc on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Hellbent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict" by Seb Hunter is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. Part autobiography and part heavy metal primer, the book would be funny for anyone, but is especially meaningful for those of us who love heavy metal. At times, the author looks back at himself and certain aspects of metal fandom with a roll of the eyes (after all, who doesn't have a picture of themselves from their teens with a somewhat ridiculous haircut and ripped jeans?) but overall he treats the subject with the respect one would expect from a life-long fan.

Hunter's life story parallels that of most metal fans. The book spans the author's history from the first time he heard ACDC's "Let's Get it Up" as a 10 year old, his introductions to all the various styles of metal as a teen, through various bands he played with, and eventually the crash when the realization that the career of Rock God has passed him by. Personally, I recall most of the same events in my own life, including the first time hearing Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" as a child, being mesmerized by it, expanding to Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Metallica in high school and then eventually joining a metal band in college, which ultimately went nowhere. For any of us with similar stories, this book is especially funny and interesting. However, Hunter's wry observations and dry English wit make this an entertaining read for just about anyone.

If you don't know anything about the metal subculture, you will by the end of this book, however, if you do, he really nails most aspects of what it means to be a fan of this type of music. When his band forced a keyboard player on Seb, over his protest, he points out the following: "Motorhead don't use keyboards.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ingrid on July 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I got this book at the library looking for the book Motley Crue wrote, and I loved it! I couldn't put it down.. Me being a girl, far past the decade of decadence of the 1980s, I wanted to know what it was like. Seb Hunter told it like it was, from his eyes. He grew up with ac/dc, iron maiden, judas priest, and many others, and decicated his life to being an extreme heavy-metaller. He had the hair, the looks, the clothes, the band, the drugs, and the girls. He told you everything you wanted to know about being a heavy metal rock star (the guitars, the solos, the music, the shows). The only bad thing about this book was that it made me so jealous that I grew up in our time of rap, and hip-hop. I want to live the life of glam metal. Seb Hunter has a brilliant voice, and first-hand experience. I read it in 2 days.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Konrath on October 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's hard to write one of these sorts of heavy metal confessional books for a few reasons. One is that anyone who was listening to INXS and U2 back in the day will care little about your opinions of the best Saxon album or the most authoritative Anthrax lineup. The other is that people who were into this sort of music will endlessly disagree with you about what year was the most awesome Monsters of Rock, so you might alienate them with your opinion. Nevertheless, Seb Hunter lays it all out for us here: his early addiction to AC/DC, his later worship of Iron Maiden and Hanoi Rocks, and his attempts to pick up a guitar and slam out the three chords needed for a good garage band.

Like Klosterman's oft-compared _Fargo Rock City_, I didn't entirely agree with some of Hunter's judgements and statements. (Motorhead's _1916_ a concept album?) Maybe my background in Midwest America was different than his in England, but we both worshipped many of the same groups, so the common ground made this worthwhile. I also experimented with very amateur attempts to put together the next Metallica with bad instruments and worse musicians on a Sears tape recorder, so I applaud his ability to tell his story. This is good writing and a great bunch of episodes, although all came to a closing a bit sooner than I wanted it to. Overall, a good book if you've got a leather jacket in the back of the closet and still remember the pre-Nirvana days with fondness.
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