Guest Column: Three Books You Need To Read By Midnite Hellion’s Drew Rizzo

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In our undying efforts to bring you engaging columns you won’t find anywhere else, we’ve reached out to the metal world seeking submissions for a new subject: Three amazing books you have to pick up and devour.

Seeing as you read this blog everyday, we went out on a limb and assumed you’d maybe want to get some decent book suggestions from some of your favorite bands, too. So today, we continue this series on rad, must-reads with an entry by Midnite Hellion drummer Drew Rizzo.

While I used to be more of an avid reader on various subjects and as I don’t have as much free time as I used to, nowadays I tend to gravitate toward reading biographical and autobiographical books related to music.

As music pretty much consumes my soul, virtually every aspect of my life is related to it, from hobbies and traveling to relaxation and even theater. Naturally, Heavy Metal is my main literary focus, and below are three books on the subject that have stayed with me throughout the years.

I was given a copy of “Heavy Metal Thunder: The Music, Its History, Its Heroes” by Philip Bashe as a gift from a former boss while working at a musical instrument store many years ago. The book was written in 1985 and captures the origins of the genre through the larger present day bands of the time, such as Scorpions, Judas Priest, and Mötley Crüe.

While it tends to be a bit tough to get through the first 20 pages or so, stick with it, as it then becomes a book that is difficult to put down. For those interested in detailed biographies and candid stories of some of the great bands that are thankfully still with us, definitely pick up a copy. To quote Rob Halford’s foreword in the book, “Heavy Metal, I believe, is forever.”

Speaking of Judas Priest, next in line is the incredible “Judas Priest Heavy Metal Painkillers” by Martin Popoff, which now appears is a collectible. This incredible read painstakingly documents the band from their rough origins through their successes with Halford fronting the band, the decline of support but the focus and determination during the Ripper years, and finally back to the helm through Halford’s return and into the book’s publishing year of 2007, which obviously does not include the departure of K.K. Downing.

I would love to see a second edition written once the band has officially retired to document the final years of the band as well. The book is filled to the brim with interviews from every single member of the band, even original drummer John Hinch!

The origins of the band’s name are disclosed as well as unveiling the fact that there was a Judas Priest prior to the one that we all know and love. Numerous bits of memorabilia area also documented in photographs, and explicit and candid interviews from each period of the band feature their insights during the various times.

Each album has its own designated chapter, including all of Halford’s solo projects while away from the Priest (Fight, Two, and Halford), and they even discuss the pros and cons of their massive stage sets of the 80’s and disclose the sometimes humorous, sometimes saddening follies met on the road and when dealing with the triumphs and struggles during the band’s illustrious history. You’ve got nothing to lose at all by picking up this one!

As pretty much everyone on the face of the planet as either seen or at least heard of the movie, it barely scrapes the surface of the full story featured in “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” by Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner.

While I am not 100-percent certain, it appears that the book was written after the movie was released, or at least it coincided with the filming, as the book continues the story not documented in the film with the inclusion of the reaction to the movie and a bit of their career going into their following record. The book truly goes into detail of their upbringings, struggles, personal family history, and the constant opposition thrown their way.

This book is by no means a Spinal Tap comparison, as the stories featured are too real; in other words, one couldn’t possibly make this shit up! Anybody struggling to reach a dream in any realm should read this book as a source of inspiration that no matter what, dreams can come true if one believes in it and in themselves.

Pick up a dose of inspiration with this excellent book, and while chasing your dreams, don’t just be scenery, be the ball!

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