Morrissey's 'List of the Lost' may have made him a figure of fun right now, but here's some examples of rock stars writing books and succeeding.
Eagle-eyed indie fans will have seen the hilarious news that Morrissey has been nominated for the ‘Bad Sex Award’ by The Literary Review this week. His first fictional work ‘List of the Lost’, arriving two years after 2013’s notorious ‘Autobiography’, received wildly mixed reviews from most critics.
The nominated passage of ‘erotic’ prose contains the memorable phrase ‘bulbous salutation’. He may be lauded as the lead singer of The Smiths and as a solo artist, but it’s unlikely that his fiction will be remembered in quite the same way, if this is anything to go by.
However, success on the stage doesn’t necessarily preclude a rock star from enjoying successful pursuits as writers. Here are some other, more accomplished examples of rock stars writing prose instead of lyrics.
Famed for his lengthy musical career with his backing band The Bad Seeds since the mid-‘80s, the Australian indie icon has also tried his hand at being a writer.
His first novel ‘And The Ass Saw The Angel’, published in 1989, was very highly respected, even winning Time Out magazine’s Book of the Year in 1990. It explored themes of Old Testament retribution that were explored in the Bad Seeds’ first few albums, making it instantly relatable to any Cave fan.
This was followed two decades later with 2009’s ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’, a much more absurd but highly entertaining book featuring several aspects of Cave’s own life blended with fiction. Earlier this year, Cave delivered his third book documenting the Bad Seeds’ recent American tour called ‘The Sick Bag Song’.
After her punk band Hole disintegrated in the late ‘90s, Courtney Love briefly ventured into the world of publishing, co-creating an English-language manga comic book with Stu Levy, a graphic novelist and owner of the manga media company Tokyopop.
Published as a brief run of comic books from 2004 to 2005, ‘Princess Ai’ was very well-received despite the much-publicised troubles in Love’s personal life at the time, with some elements of the graphic novel touching on aspects of her own life.
A sequel, ‘Princess Ai: The Prism of Midnight Dawn’, followed in 2008, and an animated film was at one point discussed before being rejected.
Inspired by the novels of Tom Sharpe, Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson took advantage of free time on the group’s world tour in 1986-87 to create a short novel with the eyebrow-raising title ‘The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace’, a “semi-transvestite British land-owner” intended as a poke at the double standards in the personal lives of the British upper classes.
Finally published in 1990, it sold more than 40,000 copies almost immediately, with the limited run so successful that a sequel was commissioned in 1992 called ‘The Missionary Position’, a satire on American televangelism.
As well as enjoying success with his celebrated indie group The Decemberists, who topped the Billboard album charts in 2011, singer Colin Meloy has enjoyed substantial success in another line of work as a children’s author.
Illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis, he published the first of his ‘Wildwood’ series of kids’ books in 2011, releasing sequels in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
He also wrote a 100-page book about The Replacements’ seminal album Let It Be in 2004 as part of the 33 and 1/3 series.
Actually, the Canadian singer-songwriter’s two novels both predate his more well-known musical career. In 1963, he published 'The Favourite Game', partly autobiographical and concerned largely with sex, which was hard to find until it was reissued as a paperback in 1970.
In 1966, after overcoming writers block by apparently fasting and consuming amphetamines, he delivered a second, much less well-received novel called ‘Beautiful Losers’ that has taken much longer to be appreciated. His collections of poetry are much more numerous, which he has published intermittently up to the present day.