Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict

Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict

by Seb Hunter


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A witty and self-deprecating memoir about headbanging your way through growing up.Seb Hunter was a Heavy Metal fan and he's not proud. This is the story of his misguided 15-year Heavy Metal mission: from the first guitar (his dad's), to the first gig (conquering Winchester with his riffs), on through groupies and girlfriends and too many drugs to a faltering career in London, where outrageous egos, artistic differences and the dreaded arrival of Grunge (and a much needed haircut) kill the Heavy Metal dream.Along the way Seb imparts the important distinctions between Thrash Metal and Glam and casts his connoisseur’s eye over the Metal guitar. You’ll learn when to play a drum solo, the correct way to wear Spandex and exactly what to do when you're in the middle of a field at the Donington Festival and you desperately need a piss.Affectionate, irreverent, and very funny, Hell Bent For Leather is a moving story about growing up, of playing air guitar in your bedroom, of living with parental disapproval and of struggling with the laughter of your friends. It is a memoir about the glorious adolescent obsessions everybody has but no-one will admit to.Featuring music from: AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Kiss, W.A.S.P., Aerosmith The Scorpians and Guns ‘n’ Roses.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007161768
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication date: 05/19/2016
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Seb Hunter was born in 1971 and went to a variety of schools in England before throwing it all away to become a rock 'n' roll star, at which he eventually failed. Since then he has worked in the book trade and currently lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

Hell Bent for Leather
Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict

Chapter One

Let's Get It Up

It's 1981, a late summer evening in an underground common room at a boarding school in deepest Wiltshire. Someone is playing "Can-Can" by Bad Manners on a cheap yellow record player and we're all running around in a sweat, playing off the musical momentum, though hardly paying it much attention. And then comes my big moment, the only real eureka, blinding-light moment I've ever had. Some wise child peels off from the fray and clunks down AC/DC's "Let's Get it Up," and that's it for me. That was the light switch -- the world suddenly became three dimensional and my ears popped open.

It was so raw, so suggestive, that I had no idea how to react. This was a whole new set of rules for my body; a sudden and unexpected DNA tattoo. I stood motionless on the flagstone floor, beads of sweat hanging off my fringe, waiting for this skull-splitting rheum to end so I could calm down and return to how things had been before, but I never quite managed to get there.

"Hey! Hey! What was that?" I stood open-mouthed over the record player.

By the end of the week, having heard "Let's Get it Up" a further sixteen times, including the B-side,"Back in Black" (live), all other thoughts in my head had evaporated. I taught myself how to do this, fast:


Back at home that Christmas I knew exactly what I wanted. For the last few years my parents had been feeding my thirsty Star Wars obsession, however this year I'd requested just one solitary item: a cassette by AC/DC. My mother asked me where she was supposed to purchase such a thing and I was forced to admit I had no idea. So I spent an anxious Christmas morning worrying that I'd be getting yet more Star Wars figures and not the one thing I craved so badly. But halfway through the communal giving I was handed a tape-shaped package. Slowly I peeled at the wrapping until I could clearly see a gold cover and a picture of a giant cannon, and on the back cover -- oh my god -- the album contained "Let's Get it Up"! I felt sick and slightly dizzy and my hands started to shake.

My mother, sensing my existential distress, plucked the plastic box away.

"'Let's get it up,'" I whimpered.

My mother frowned. "What do you think that means?"

"It means ... " I paused. "Let's all get it sort of 'up' and have fun."

"Well you're wrong, it doesn't mean that at all, it means something entirely different."

"Like what?"

"I'm not telling you. Just be careful, that's all, don't go around saying that sort of thing in public. And 'Put the Finger on You'? What do you think that one means?"

"It just means putting the finger on you. I don't know." She doesn't understand, I thought to myself. She just doesn't get it!

She ran her finger through the rest of the songs, muttering under her breath, and handed it back. "'Let's Get it Up' means something rude. In fact quite a lot of these songs sound rather rude."

You're mad, I thought, embarrassed for her obvious misunderstanding.

As soon as the Queen's speech was over and the family had thanked each other for their biscuits and condiments, I interrupted proceedings by loudly demanding we play my new tape.

"Everyone will like it!"

"But Granny ... "

"Granny will like it too!"

My father raised an eyebrow. I had up until this moment been a thoroughly charming and dutiful child, so after a moment's consideration, the cassette player was reluctantly dragged in from the kitchen.

With my back to my extended family, I slid the new cassette into the machine and covertly inched up the volume in preparation for AC/DC's grand opus For Those About to Rock ... (We Salute You) in all its corrosive pomp. As the guitars snaked out I turned, grinning and blushing heavily, and grabbed onto the aerial to steady myself. Then the bass began to throb and I noticed some awkward shuffling on the sofa. Next came the drums -- crikey they were loud! I glanced at my scary Uncle Geoff and he'd started turning purple, but still I sensed a thrill of expectancy in the room. Then came the singing -- or rather some wordless yelps like a rusty iron lung -- and with it a sharp, horrified wince from the entire family. It was slowly dawning on me that perhaps not everyone would love AC/DC quite as much as I'd hoped. Finally, just as the chorus came blazing through (For those about to rock! We salute you!) and I was at the very peak of excitement, my father shouted "Enough!" and my mother leapt at the eject button, and I was hastily sent upstairs by Granny.

My mother and father married in 1968. My mother was an artist and a teacher, and my father ran his own property development businesses. Three years later I came along.

And then two years after that, my sister, Melissa.

For the first six years of my life we lived in an old farmhouse in the Hampshire village of Meonstoke surrounded by farms and fields, until my father grew bored with the country and discovered a gigantic run-down Victorian house in Winchester. It looked like it would need years of work but was irresistibly cheap, so he decided to buy it. We all slept on brown corduroy cushions in the drawing room for the first few months, while the electrics were recast, water was coaxed back through the miles of disused black pipes, and the child-sized gaps in the floorboards were hastily covered with lino. This was an amazing house: it had thirty rooms, a cool vaulted cellar, and a giant warren of an attic. My sister and I liked to change bedrooms whenever we felt like it because there were just so many to choose from, while my mother painted huge colorful murals on their walls for our entertainment. My father meanwhile took this sprawling house to task, attacking it with sledgehammers and drills, knocking up arches through walls in a comedy hard hat. The garden was a giant overgrown jungle in which I constructed dens out of old beehives, played laser wars with imaginary friends, smashed a football against the green garage door, and goaded our cats ...

Hell Bent for Leather
Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict
. Copyright © by Seb Hunter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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