Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nick Kent's "Apathy for the Devil"

Apathy for the Devil Apathy for the Devil by Nick Kent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nick Kent's collection of essays/interviews "The Dark Stuff" is a must for rock n' roll reading. The one theme that runs through that collection is the fucked-up rock n' roll figure. And he's good at capturing the low moments of very talented artists.

His memoir of the 70's "Apathy for the Devil" is an interesting book that focuses on himself of course, who was basically a mirror image of his subject matters that he wrote about. The 70's decade was not kind to Kent, but it is also what made him interesting - a good writer who can look into the lives of others and pick up the damaging aspect as well as what makes them great. So it is interesting to read what he says about artists of that period -especially the Sex Pistols, for whom he has mixed feelings. I was kind of surprised that he poo-poos Public Image Ltd, but the whole punk experience seems to left him with a bad taste in his mouth.

I don't totally agree with his music taste, but he is honest to see the weakness in lot of his favorite artist's works, and that I think makes him a good critic. The drug addiction aspect of his story must be told, but beyond that it is basically the everyday type of material regarding drug taking and its world.

What makes Kent unique is his take on fellow writers of the music magazine world (NME) and how they function in that world. Of all the writers I found himquite hard on Paul Morley, who I feel is one of the top critics of the 80's and still is. So yeah I don't trust his critical judgement, but I like the way he says it.

"The Dark Stuff" is the essential book to have by Kent, but this is a good volume and a detailed snapshot of life in 1970s London.

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