Metal. Monsters. Mayhem.

Book review

Authors put the bite on vampires and their ways

We’ve all heard enough about vampires recently.

Everyone knows they look like frumpy old ladies, overjoyed that an aging population means they fit in nowadays. Or that they keep humans penned up as food, and having sex with a human is tantamount to bestiality. Or that when a vampire slayer starts killing them off, they go right to the police.

Wait, this isn’t sounding too much like Twilight or True Blood — but they’re some of the ideas introduced in the new Canadian anthology Evolve, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick.

The Montreal-based Kilpatrick is no stranger to the genre, having written numerous dark fantasy and horror novels herself. She previously edited the erotic vampire collection Love Bites, and co-edited Edge’s horror anthology Tesseracts 13.

Tesseracts 13 was the first horror title published by Edge, a predominantly sci-fi and fantasy publisher in Calgary. The success of that book prompted this new all-vampire anthology.

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Nikki, I think we’ve heard this one before

Nikki Sixx is far from the only rock star to chronicle his former excesses, but he’s one of few to have had a viable career after being medically dead.

I read Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt about a year or two after it came out and it is a flat-out great read, even for someone who, like me, followed the shenanigans of Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars when they were high atop the metal heap in the 1980s. Back then I read  Hit Parader, Circus, even Groove (I only bought a copy in the summer of ’87 because it had the Crüe on the cover and I wanted to read about Girls, Girls, Girls, which I hadn’t bought yet… the magazine was pretty terrible) and repeatedly watched an interview Nikki did with Paul McGrath of CBC’s The Journal, which I taped on Betamax. I even bought the VH1 Behind the Music feature on them in 199something. I thought I was well versed in what they were up to.

Boy, was I wrong.

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Rough life makes for a great read

I’m not always keen on rock biographies. Some, like The Dirt, which tells the sordid story of Mötley Crüe, is a great if at times unbelievable read. Others, like Two Sides to Every Glory, which chronicles AC/DC’s rise and then ignores most what happened after 1990, leave something to be desired.  And I’ll always have a soft spot for Hammer of the Gods, even though I think all the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have disavowed it.

As a sometime book reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press, I occasionally get to write about a book like this — the autobiography of Guns ‘N’ Roses founding member Duff McKagan.

The following is republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2011 J7

Guns N’ Roses bassist rocks autobiography

Even a rock star can feel like a dork.

Guns N’ Roses co-founder and bassist Duff McKagan opens his self-deprecating memoir with his daughter’s 13th birthday party. While trying to stay out of sight so as not to embarrass her by his mere presence, he surprises two partygoers sneaking a kiss.

“My mind rushes through a checklist… of things I was doing at this same age,” he writes: boozing, smoking pot, dropping acid, snorting cocaine, stealing cars, having sex. These kids are just kissing.

Embarrassed, he mutters a quick, “Sorry,” and ducks back into the house.

To read more, click here.