Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Sick on You - Andrew Matheson


This is another book that I've seen around for quite a while but just finally got around to picking up. Andrew Matheson was the singer for (London's) the Hollywood Brats (confusing, yes), who later morphed into the punk-pop band the Boys (who you've heard the title song by, no doubt).

After working in a mine, of all places, to earn enough money to make the move, Andrew departs from the wastelands of England to London, trades in his Vox guitar for a Strat and an AC30 amp (once he has seen T.Rex), checks out the competition at the Marquee and puts together his own version of a rock'n'roll band, re-trading his new equipment for a PA system.

Andrew's writing is actually pretty engaging - it's almost like these stories are being told drunkenly at the local pub - he's funny, more than a little obnoxious, a bit self-deprecating yet egotistical, realistic about the band's look'n'sound, and has plans, which slowly come to fruition, more or less, as band members change and he finds like-minded'n'dressed individuals who want a bit more than playing blues covers to drunken punters. Of course, it's tough going in the early 70's for a club-level glitter band (a genre that has barely started at the time) and most of the members' time is spent scrounging just to survive.

Their escapades while barely scraping by in rat-infested squats are almost too much to believe, but considering the time, I suppose it is all possible. An honest-to-gawd (although maybe not too honest) manager with actual money to spare turns up and things start hopping, but problems continue, as well. After receiving far more chances than most bands get in a lifetime, and after surviving many perilous, scarcely credible adventures, the group manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and dissolve after every record company turns them down and their management gives up and disintegrates, as well.

Highly captivating and often relatable (with the exceptions of the times when they have money and opportunities to burn) and a good insight to the trials'n'tribulations of a rock'n'roll band trying to make it in the 70's - and many obstacles never change, no matter what the era. Certainly a great companion to the Hollywood Brats CD