Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, authors of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal, will be at Book Soup this Thursday, May 1, “presenting and signing” their voluminous and immensely readable tome, which is now available in paperback so even kids who are out on the street for a livin’ can afford a copy.
Metal is such a contentious topic, incorporating so many obscure micro-genres, that any attempt to be truly definitive could spend 700 pages just listing the names and members of metal bands in alphabetical order. If they can’t cover everybody and their grandmother, they sure make a good effort, compiling 250 interviews conducted over a 25-year period. The book begins by covering most of the expected bases, in chronological order, the proto-metal canon of Cooper-Stooges-Zep-Sabbath-Priest-Halen, and moving at a fast clip through these oft-told but inevitable tales until we reach the 1980s and the pioneering of those obscure micro-genres, which is where the thing gets really interesting. At that point the structure of the book looks less like a linear timeline, and more like a kid’s bedroom wall with band posters grouped together by type; Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth are stuck together on one side of the wall, while Napalm Death/ Carcass/ Repulsion are way on the other side, even though they’re happening at more or less the same time. Even the scenes and people I’m not that familiar with make for some good reading, because the characters tend to be such colorful, extreme people. It’s easy to imagine this book inspiring a huge amount of curious listening and discovery, which is surely part of the point.
Scott Ian from Anthrax will be there too, if that floats your boat. But be sure to send the devil horns to Katherine Turman, who was one of this town’s best and most knowledgeable writers on the new-music beat back in the early nineties, whose presence is sorely missed.
Thursday May 1, 7 p.m.; free. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Call (310) 659-3110 for more info.