Sunday, June 18, 2023

Book Review: Too Late To Stop Now

Allan Jones brings more than 40 stories – many previously unpublished – from the golden days of music reporting. He recalls the world that once was - one of dark excess and excitement, outrageous deeds and extraordinary talent. Long nights of booze, drugs and unguarded conversations which include anecdotes, experiences and extravagant behaviour from the likes of Lou Reed, Elton John, Sting, the Clash, and more.

This volume includes stories of: a band's aftershow party in San Francisco being gatecrashed by cocaine-hungry Hells Angel, Chrissie Hynde on how rock'n'roll killed The Pretenders, what happened when Nick Lowe and 20 of his mates flew off to Texas to join the Confederate Air Force, John Cale on his dark alliance with Lou Reed, and more.

Too Late To Stop Now: More Rock 'n' Roll War Stories will be released on July 25, 2023. Bloomsbury USA provided an early galley for review.

I had not read Allan Jones' 2017 Can't Stand Up For Falling Down of which this new book is a follow-up companion of sorts. Still, as a music fan, I enjoy hearing the behind-the-scenes details from favorite musicians and such. My hope was to hear some good stories.

Allan's offerings here cross the decades, going from 1974 all the way into 2014. There are several familiar names as well as some that are completely unknown to me (British fans might have the advantage here as Jones wrote and was editor for Melody Maker for a large portion of this time period). His approach is casual and approachable, with each story covered in small, digestible takes. That makes this is easy volume to read and use for reference.

What I got out of his stories (and so many music biographies that I often read as well) is the reminder that these performers that fans often put on pedestals are, in fact, just everyday kind of folks who just happen to have talents and a means to share them with the world. I find this to be a great study in humanity and character. I would recommend this one specifically to folks who like to get behind the music and the stage personas.

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