Book review: From The Front Lines of Rock – Jason Arnopp



Long before his breakthrough novel, The Last Days of Jack Sparks, Jason Arnopp was a well-respected rock journalist and sometime editor, most notably for Kerrang! magazine. Collected here is some of Arnopp’s finest interviews with the sometimes weird, often wild, sometimes even human gods of rock and metal.

You can always tell a good interviewer by the shortness of his/her questions and the depth of the interviewees’ answers. Arnopp has a casual style, though he isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and the answers can quite often be hilarious (intentionally and sometimes unintentionally). One of the most pleasing aspects of this collection is the personal notes at the end of each interview. Here, Arnopp gives us a little more insight into these fascinating rock behemoths and its a nice touch to what is an excellent, often intriguing collection.

Another pleasing aspect for me is the fact that I remember reading many of these interviews inside Kerrang! magazine. I was a regular reader back in the 90s and early 2000s and I always looked forward to the latest issue hitting the shelves every Wednesday.

There are many highlights contained within this hefty tome. The interview with Manowar has to be read to be believed and I’ve always found Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor to be a fascinating character. Here, he is interviewed when at the very peak of his creative powers after releasing The Downward Spiral. He talks quite openly about his relationships with Marilyn Manson and David Lynch. It’s fascinating stuff. Mike Patton of Faith No More is as bonkers as one would expect and the openness that surrounds the interview with Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and Chris DeGarmo about heroin gives a truthful look at some rock stars’ casual relationship with hard drugs. Some of the interviews also took me a little by surprise. Characters from the rock world have very different personalities away from the stage. None more so perhaps than Limp Bizkit’s frontman, Fred Durst, who openly tells of his panic attacks and insecurities. It is one of the best interviews in here and shows the frontman in a very human light.

As a huge metal and rock fan, this book provided hours of excellent reading and I’m sure that even casual readers with little interest in the music will find it hugely entertaining. This is a candid collection that brought a huge smile to my face and it is good to know that even rock stars face similar struggles to us mere mortals.

An easy 5/5 burst ear drums from the Grim Reader.

Pick up a copy from here.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh Kerrang! in the 90s, always preferred it to Raw. This sounds like a must read, cheers!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, it was a cracking magazine back then. I haven’t bought it for 15 years. I felt it started to focus too much on pop punk and rock over metal. Shame really..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed, I’m Terrorizer all the way these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read it before but don’t see it out here. I get Metal Hammer from the UK. It cost me a small fortune! 😂😂 Terrorizer is more extreme metal, right? That’s the good stuff 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah it’s black/death/grind, or anything heavy as long as there’s beards in the bands!

    Liked by 1 person

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