music morsels November 2006 

BOOK CAPSULE by Mark Waterbury

Life on Planet Rock by Lonn Friend

Morgan Road Books

Caspar McCloud

If you consider immortals in the field of music journalism, from Lester Bangs to Jan Wenner, if you have not considered Lonn Friend in that light, you will after reading his first book, “Life on Planet Rock.” The editor of highly regarded metal magazine Rip, Lonn’s main purpose with this book is to delve deeply into one of rock and roll’s most decadent and intense eras. Chronicling the music and lives of the likes of Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Metallica, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, Lonn is far from an outsider looking in. Lonn Friend is a true insider; golfing with Alice Cooper, getting “interviewed” by James Hetfield and Nikki Sixx, and having Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach pop over to Lonn’s house for his birthday party. Considering the number of rock legends that Lonn has hung out with, befriended, and profiled over his career, he could have easily loaded the book with self serving braggadocio. On the contrary, what Lonn does is bring the readers into his world and treat them like friends and real people, making you feel as if you are sitting with him on his back deck having a couple brews while he regales you of his exploits. With this style he humanizes some of the more notorious figures in the history of rock and allows the reader to be pathos for them. He accomplishes this by going a bit deeper inside than most music journalists dare to tread. The poignant honesty in this book ratchets up the intrigue; from candid talks about Alice Cooper’s Christian beliefs, to the germination of Seattle’s grunge scene, and scathing indictments of the big music business machinery after his A&R tenure at Arista. There is a touch of biographical info on Lonn which also creates interesting reading. From the affect the Beatles had on his love for music, to his early days at Hustler where he befriended the late Althea Flint, and the journalistic revolution he spawned at Rip, Lonn presents himself as an ordinary guy who interacted with extraordinary people during incredible times. A humble but talented journalist who  loves music and the people who create it. This attitude adds the final face of the book; Lonn’s views as a fan, looking at the songs, the concerts, the recordings, the musicians as he knows his readers want to see them. In their element, rocking the house through the stratosphere. Overall, “Life on Planet Rock” is written with the stellar blend of journalistic flair and down to earth prose Lonn has always been noted for, and is absorbing in style as well as the provocative subject matter covered. Anyone who was a fan of any of the bands in that tumultuous period in rock history will savor this read from cover to cover.

Division of Serge Entertainment Group