Bodies: Life and Death in Music

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Bodies: Life and Death in Music

Bodies: Life and Death in Music

RRP: £99
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Sources mined from his own past interviews as well as those directly tied to the writing of this book. Much more than a touchline reporter, Winwood also tells the tale of his own mental-health collapse following the shocking death of his father. The book struggled to stick to the topic, and it didn't answer questions, only reaching one conclusion as the possible cause of addiction and death in music business. There is a significant amount of personal history in here, which is interesting on its own - but it’s not really what it has been billed as.

The conversation about mental health has become more public in recent years, although Winwood notes sharply that the music industry’s willingness to have that conversation seems “contingent on it not interfering with the workings of an unjust business model”. Told in his relatable unpretentious northern tone, the book becomes a rock’n’roll version of James Grey’s slightly discredited A Million Little Pieces.he draws on his decades of interviewing bands in dressing rooms and tour buses - not to mention his own bracingly described drug hell - to examine why the industry attracts so many people vulnerable to addiction and mental health problems, and what happens to them once they are plugged into its dysfunctional amps. I found this book disturbing, but ultimately positive as, for the author himself and bands still making music now there seems to be an improvement. Visceral, empathetic, profound and affecting, Winwood’s book operates on a number of levels: as a j’accuse of the music industry not only in its failure to safeguard those who operate within in but for the ways it drives them to addiction and self-destruction; as a plea for greater awareness of mental health issues within said industry; as a cautionary tale of how said industry pulls into its destructive orbit associated practitioners, most notably music journalists; as a memoir of personal loss, grief and aftermath; as a threnody for those who didn’t survive; and as a hymn to those who did. It’s a situation compounded by a noticeable lack of duty of care on the part of management and record companies.

I really enjoyed the author’s forays into memoir, especially the unbelievable and unjust experience with his dad. As Daily Mail readers sometimes use the platform to know what they should be thinking rather than having a balanced view on something, many people used to use the publications to find out who they should be listening to, and this books shows how parts of it all works. The author recounts, in suitably harrowing detail, his own drug-fueled misadventures in music journalism and self-destructive nihilism. Ian speaks to Stuart Richardson, formerly of Lostprophets, about how the spiralling methamphetamine use and uncontrollable narcissism of Ian Watkins distracted everyone, including his bandmates, from discovering the true depravity that would result in the frontman being sentenced to 29 years in prison for sex crimes against children. Finally, a book about the music industry that tells the truth … a visceral examination of art, drugs, mental health and music.

This book also has moments that speak to Mark Lanegan and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) in regards to their addictions. He drops a lot of band names and places he's visited as if to reinforce the privileged position he found himself in but for me this just makes his cliched decline into substance abuse even more idiotic. In general, I just don't enjoy books written by music journalists, which is strange because I happily read music magazines.

As heinous as it is and be warned, Ian Watkins crimes are described in some detail, this is a story that probably deserves to be told in full at some point. The saga of Ian Watkins is, by some distance, the most shocking in Bodies, a book filled with shocking stories.After all we've seen Kayne West work with him openly and now MM has taken a page from good friend Johnny Depp's playbook and decided to sue one of his accusers. Winwood's narrative of mental health decline and substance excess among the industry is woven in with his own experience with substance abuse and mental health decline.

The question of what the music industry does next is one it’s started to answer incrementally, concludes a three-years sober Ian, though it’s happened all too slowly.

Conversations about mental health and support for those with issues should be an essential part of looking after artists. It ends relatively happily, with its author sober, stable and married, and with some faint glimmers of hope on the horizon for the music world.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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