How to write a rock biography in 9 easy steps

Have you read any rock ‘n’ roll books? You should give one a try, they are very entertaining. It’s all drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, in that order. Seriously speaking, if you have read one, you’ve read them all. Just pick one, the names and dates may change, but it’s really the same book. But don’t take this as a complaint, far from it. After all, it’s a good story that deserves to be told again and again. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a typical rock-bio, so that when you grow up and become a famous rock-star, you too can write your own memoir. Simply follow this formula:

 I was born in… this is the boring part but pays off in the end. Clever ghostwriters know ways to make the childhood a bit less boring and keep it short, but it still has to be there. The childhood was terrible, he wore the same shoes for seven years and ate cockroaches to stay alive. It´s about rags-to-riches, so this chapter justifies the “champagne in the hot-tub with supermodels”-chapter later.

Teenage years. This is where he remembers getting noticed by girls as he picked up the guitar. This explains (without underlining) his fragile ego, and how rock-stardom is just overcompensation for being a shy and awkward kid who got bullied in school. Drugs and alcohol come to play at this point, but are not a problem yet. We also hear about a couple of failed band-attempts. They most definitely had a gig at the school, and on the photo section in the middle of the book, you will find an adorable picture from that gig. You see, they were just like you once.                                                                                                   (Napalm Annihilation, before they made it big)

The struggle. It will become clear that playing music is hard work, equal to cutting down trees in the winter with a plastic fork. They practised 25/8, and blood, sweat and tears are mentioned. The gigs were scarce, and they got screwed by greedy club owners. Broken vans, no sleep, blah blah. Through these hardships, a bond was formed. A life-lasting camaraderie that could not be broken. (until later, when the lawsuits start flying)

Early success – which is also the chapter where our protagonist’s heterosexuality is cemented. Hotel parties, groupies, booze and drugs. In this chapter, the first major break-up/divorce takes place, because the road is full of temptations. Here, the first major paycheck comes to play too, changing everything forever. Technically they never brag about the number of sexual conquests, but rather mention them shamefully. Lots of war stories here. TVs into the pool, inventive ways to use fire extinguishers, and all that. Plenty of slander for the bandmates, but still he calls them brothers.

Years of excess. When they were riding high on the wave, and could do no wrong. They thought it would last forever, making the inevitable fall seem bigger. Sex and drugs are practically on every page, and this is what we came for. Selfishness, hedonism, champagne with supermodels. Many of these guys like to mention celebrities they had sex with, but casually, without a hint of boasting. Bragging about alcohol intake would be childish too, so “I had a gallon of Jack Daniel´s for breakfast every day”, is delivered with a deep sigh of regret. A lot of slander for “brothers”.                                                                                                                                                                 

Downfall. The success didn’t last (often the culprit here is a mythical entity known as “grunge”), and soon our protagonist was broke. He had to sell one of the mansions, and couldn’t buy Picassos on a daily basis anymore. This is Kurt Cobain’s fault. In this section, the co-author, or the ghostwriter encourages our lead to reveal something shameful. We need a rock-bottom encounter here, where the hero wakes up in the gutter, or sucks spilt beer from the rug. A painfully honest confession that makes him seem more human.

Down in a hole. A time for self-reflection, a realization of being selfish and destructive. The whole world has abandoned him, and no one comes to visit him in rehab. Rehab, by the way IS mandatory and surprisingly often, finding God. This marks the spot, from which the only way is up. 

 

Phoenix rising. Our new, improved hero, with Jesus by his side takes on the world again. It is hard, arduous work, and he has to rebuild his career from scratch. Perseverance taught him to write songs again, and fight his way back to the top. Being sober gives him a new found grateful approach, and he is forever thankful to his loyal fans who still come to their shows. He also owes everything to his wife and kids, without whom he would be dead now.                                                                                                                                                                       

 

What lies ahead. A short summary of accomplishments, where he evaluates what is really important. The number of gold records and Ferraris in the garage are mentioned, but only as a comparison to the really valuable things in life: Family and God. It is amazing he is still alive, and this means that God has sent him here on a mission. It is, in fact, God who writes the music through his hands. If this sounds boastful to you, you are wrong. It is a very modest statement, that doesn’t elevate him above mere mortals at all.

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