Wall, Mick. Paranoid: Black Days with Sabbath & Other Horror Stories. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 1999. 222 pp.
For some reason, I've been reading about the music business a lot lately and this is one of the most interesting books I've read on any subject in a while. This is a rather strangely titled volume – from the title you would imagine that it was mostly about those mad men of metal, Black Sabbath. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this knowledge would definately influence your purchase decision. Well, either way, this book really has very little to do with Black Sabbath – they only make a few cameo appearances – and more to do with Mick Wall’s career as a record reviewer and music industry publicist in Britain in the seventies. He spills the beans about how corrupt and dissouloute the times were and, at the same time, gives a feel for the excitement and craziness of working at the bleeding edge of pop culture. But even more, this is a memoir of Wall’s heroin addiction, about how he was sucked into it by the ambiance of sex, drugs and rock and roll, how heroin completely took over his life and, ultimately, how he was able to conquer his addiction and get his life back on track. For such a slim volume, this covers a lot of ground and gives a lot of insight. The only disapointment was that it was a bit lacking in outrageous stories about Ozzy Osbourne and other 70’s icons of rock & roll – the title certainly reeled me in with the implicit promise of dissolution well described.