When he wasn’t championing thuggish punk bands and Oi at Sounds magazine, Garry Bushell indulged his love of heavy metal, and these dispatches from the front line resurrect articles on Ozzy Osbourne, ZZ Top, Motörhead, Ritchie Blackmore, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Twisted Sister and more.
Back in the 80s, rock journalists would regularly go on the road with a band for two or three days (these days an interview is mostly done on the phone or in a bland hotel room with a PR minder), and Bushell’s amiable interviewing style brings out the character of the bands as well as their (often prodigious) drinking habits.
Some of the bands featured in this book were at the time at their peak with only one way to go, others are making the best of their limited talents. But Bushell’s portrait of Iron Maiden, who were then rising relentlessly, conveys their continuing ambition beyond the usual rock’n’roll frolics.
The editing could have been more rigorous; original errors have been preserved (although this may be in the interests of historical accuracy), and some readers might be nonplussed by Bushell’s habit of settling scores with rival Sounds writers and photographers in his articles. Most of us, however, were not worthy of comment.