How to Become a Rock Star by Shaun Ryder’s Criticism – Straightforward, Brilliant and Weird | Music books


The “rock star” is pretty much dead. With the TV lifestyle that dominated pop culture between the ’70s and’ 00s, you’re more likely to see the term – and all the recklessness and charisma it represents – applied to a chef or a chef. technician. brother than a musician. But there are still some that perfectly match the epithet. Enter Shaun Ryder a figure for whom rock ‘n’ roll can’t die because that’s not what he does, it’s who he is. Ryder’s reputation doesn’t just precede him, she holds the door open and throws him by the scruff of his neck. Perhaps the only man in England to be compared to WB Yeats and then to smoke crack in a wardrobe, the Happy Mondays and Black Grape frontman has always been an unlikely icon. Shy on stage and boring everywhere else, he was a polo and pair of flares junkie who, even during his rise to fame in the “Madchester” era, would have made more money selling Es than records. .

Now 59 years old and 17 years sober, his reputation as a “caning performer” has proven impossible to shake. To this day, fans will always approach him in TK Maxx and give him a replica.

In How to Be a Rock Star, Ryder looks back over three decades of debauchery in a place of sobriety. Unlike his successful 2011 memoir, Twisting My Melon, it is intended as a how-to (and sometimes how not to) guide to dealing with fame and fortune, with the book divided into short chapters covering everything from words to haircuts, from riders to rehab. The title is obviously a bit of a joke: Ryder himself says there is no guide; that rock’n’roll is “such a weird fucking existence that nothing can really prepare you for it.” And if it contains valuable advice (never correct a good rumor, adopt your own mythology, do not hire a manager who celebrates even louder than the group), it is above all an opportunity for him to reflect. to the experience of going from a postman who did not know the alphabet to performing in front of 198,000 people in Rio.

Hardcore fans will find a lot here that has already been said. But he immortalizes those around him with the signature Salford wit – Oasis, the Stone Roses, Primal Scream, and Tony Wilson make multiple appearances – while providing insight into the wider music industry, Madchester, and his more recent experiences with reality TV (he and his bandmate Bez are regulars at Celebrity Gogglebox). While the funny stories are undoubtedly the highlights, – there’s a good one where Ryder is accused of shitting himself after projecting hot chocolate into a hotel room – there are moments of real emotion when he turns the lens inward. “You have to end up dealing with what’s happening to you, mentally,” he writes. “Everyone does it.”

Shaun Ryder and Bez on Celebrity Gogglebox

Candid and brilliant, touching if a little repetitive at times, How to Be a Rock Star is a collection of stories so bizarre you’ll more likely hear them from some thug guy in the pub than a celebrity. But that’s the problem with Ryder: he is a thug showed up in the pub. His mythology is less “Mick Jagger” and more “a local drunkard whom everyone remembers when he stole a horse and brought it home”.

His only ambition was to be himself, but bigger. To that end, the book might as well be called “How To Be Shaun Ryder” – which obviously you can’t, but most of us can’t be rock stars either. What you might absorb is some of the good humor that led Ryder through one of the craziest lives we’ve ever had. Well, except for Bez.

How to Be a Rockstar by Shaun Ryder is published by Atlantic Books (£ 20). To support the Guardian and the Observer, byou have a copy to Delivery charges may apply.

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