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Of Potato Heads And Polaroids: My Life Inside And Out Of Pearl Jam review

PearlJam man opens up his photo album

Cover art for Of Potato Heads And Polaroids: My Life Inside And Out Of Pearl Jam

To paraphrase novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, the rich are different from you and I. The same could be said about rock stars, especially ones who’ve grown up in public in one of the biggest bands of the past 30 years.

Pearl Jam do things their own way: shunning publicity, taking on ticket touts, keeping their side projects thriving. Not least guitarist Mike McCready, who when not working with Temple Of The Dog or Mad Season or acting as a TV and film composer has spent his time haunting stage sets, venues and chat shows with his camera and (occasionally) Mr Potato Head in hand.

The photographs included in this book are a series of ruddy selfies, portraits and landscapes in Polaroid form: Jimmy Page, a young Pearl Jam, Sting, Neil Young, Venus Williams, Chris Cornell with the aforementioned Mr Potato Head balanced on his baseball cap. What’s remarkable is just how unremarkable it is; a life less ordinary caught in pocket-sized frames, burning out and curling at the edges.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.