Tuesday 12 August 2008

Seb Hunter - Hell Bent For Leather

A brief detour away from albums and to a book that I know I'm not alone in thinking 'if only I'd written that ....' - Seb Hunter's Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict.

Seb Hunter was a provincial rocker who graced his hometown streets dressed to the nines before relocating to London in 1990 in search of the band that would realise his dream of rock & roll fame. He instead joined Cat Ballou, regulars in the Kerrang! 'Shrapnel' pages and perhaps mainly noteworthy for being responsible for The Hellfire Club, which ran every Saturday at Oxfords (then a very unfashionable hang-out, but now better known as Metro and home to nights such as Alan McGee's Death Disco).

Already too late in the day to achieve any success on the declining glam scene (eventually killed off according to this book by Nirvana's breakthrough at the end of 1991), Cat Ballou came to nought but the simple fact that this book (and potential film-in-the-making; a 10-minute sample was commissioned by Channel 4) exists means they will never be forgotten.

I made the same move to London in 1991, and in fact first got together with my wife in The Hellfire Club. The three pages dedicated to a typical night there are hilariously - painfully - accurate. Although it might be said that if you can remember a night at the Hellfire Club, you weren't there.

Seb also goes into great detail about the sub-genres of heavy metal, guitar shapes and how he felt insecure when he first met up with Pat & Martin from Cat Ballou as he was wearing fewer bangles than them. A situation many of us can empathise with.

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