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Apathy for the Devil: A Seventies Memoir

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  408 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Chronicling Nick Kent’s up-close , personal, often harrowing adventures with the Rolling Stones, Lester Bangs, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols, and Chrissie Hynde, among scores of others, Apathy for the Devil is a picaresque memoir that bears witness to the beautiful and the damned of this turbulent decade.As a college dropout barely out of his teens, Kent’s fir ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Da Capo Press (first published March 1st 2010)
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Nick Kent's collection of essays/interviews "The Dark Stuff" is a must for rock n' roll reading. The one theme that runs through that collection is the fucked-up rock n' roll figure. And he's good at capturing the low moments of very talented artists.

His memoir of the 70's "Apathy for the Devil" is an interesting book that focuses on himself of course, who was basically a mirror image of his subject matters that he wrote about. The 70's decade was not kind to Kent, but it is also what made him
The first thing that struck me was a "KLAANG!" from repeated use of language more common in tabloid confessionals - "just a few short weeks later" (in what way were these particular weeks shorter than other weeks, Nick?) and on the next page "just a few short days later" (similar question, Nick). I did also struggle with the way he pushes himself into the centre of everything, and defines the event he was at (a Stooges gig to 200 people, a party in Rod Stewart's Hollywood home, a scuffle in Ding ...more
The overall message from this book that I took was Nick pleading "I wasn't just a hanger-on, I wasn't just a hanger-on!", causing me to think, "Wait a minute, mate, Jagger, Richards, Stewart, Bowie, Bolan, Plant and Page, they had the talent and mystique. You were just a hanger-on, weren't you?" He was also a good looking boy, as the front cover attests, which no doubt helped him to hang on in there, defying Sting's cogent observation that all music journalists liked Elvis Costello because they ...more
Believe the hype. Whatever damage Kent did to himself through long-term hard drug addiction hasn't impaired his critical faculties; his "memoir of the '70s" functions as both a clear-eyed overview of the decade in music and pop culture and a lucid, sharp-tongued, and occasionally scandalous recap of his own experiences with everyone from Led Zeppelin to the Sex Pistols, with a sideline as a fairly standard-issue though engagingly written drug narrative. (Act I: I did heroin and it was great! Act ...more
One of the top rock and roll memoirs I've come across. It's simultaneously funny and tragic. Music journalist Kent is great writer with a dry sense of humor and during the 70s, he was a witness and participant in the escapes of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, and a cast of thousands.
He's also brutally honest about how his addiction to heroin and other substance undercut his creativity and personal life to a harrowing degree.
A terrific follow-up to his collection
Some interesting stuff in here. Overall, though, I really dislike Kent's style. He does have great stories, but is just full of himself. I give him points for being friends with Iggy Pop and having a serious relationship with Chrissie Hynde. And putting the music of the time in context is good. I didn't know much about what England was like in the 70s drugwise. Lots of heroin. That was interesting.
I picked up this book because Nick Kent covered music when I was growing up and I remember him and a lot of the other writers he talks about.
It is interesting just to hear how screwed up a lot of these people are. Kent was a very good writer but like so many in that industry he got f**ked up with drugs.
I am sure in a lot of the ways the fact he was a wild drug addict helped him to mix with a lot of the rock stars of that day as he was hardly going to blow the whistle on their excesses. I think w
Luke Wilson
This book is largely about '70s music on the surface, but it's about the glorification of self-destruction caused by '70s music at a deeper level. Nick Kent was on of the worst victims who survived to tell about it. I've never been one to listen to much '70s music, except for the late '70s art-house new-wave music that Kent so adamantly condemns, but it was really interesting to learn about the few artists I do listen to, as well as the artists my dad grew up enjoying.

Kent's honesty about his ow
As a rule, journalists - and critics in particular - think the world revolves around them.
Clearly Nick Kent subscribes to this.
It could be that this is one of the most important accounts of the 70s, it could be that Mr Kent has actually created one of the most important cultural texts of the modern era - but I only got as far as page 50.
In that time I learnt that Keith Richards took to heroin because of Jagger's rumoured dalliance with Pallenberg AND because of Altamont (not both together, you u
Nov 21, 2010 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Nik
Shelves: own, 2010, non-fic, music
A 3.5 really...

After dropping out of university, Nick Kent got to realise his dreams in the 1970's and soon found himself interviewing and reviewing many of his musical icons as one of the leading writers for the NME, which was going through a pivotal time. Seduced by the rock n roll lifestyle, Kent's life soon goes from elegantly wasted to plain toxic as his heroin addiction holds him tighter within it's grip, rock makes way for punk and Thatcher comes along to try and ruin the country.

Having r
Mike Caulfield
Two stars may be a bit low -- the end dragged on. I might have given it three at points in it. It's best talking about emergence of punk, and in its insight into Bowie and Iggy Pop. He savages much of the punk scene as genuinely sociopathic, although with some of the incidents I found myself wanting a second point of view. The book is impressive in that it tries to capture the entirety of the 70s music scene through many subcultures: glam, pub rock, punk, etc. and tries to unify the meaning of t ...more
Wow, I was all over with this one. I've read another of Nick Kent's books, which I had enjoyed immensely. This, unfortunately, didn't prove to be the case here. He came across as a whiny prat most of the book, judgmental of most of the singers and bands he was speaking about, and their drug/alcohol addictions, while the whole entirety of the 70's Kent himself was messed up on drugs. It just didn't jive at all. The tone of the book, I thought, was idle worship and musical stories as well as his t ...more
If I was rating the quality of the writing, or the quality of the anecdotes, I'd give this four stars. If I was rating Kent's likeability or his reliability as a narrator, I'd give the whole affair two stars. On the whole, I'm torn; this memoir is a bunch of good stories to take with spoonfuls of salt, written by an author who seems almost painfully quick to condemn in others the personality quirks which make him so compelling, and who comes across as a self-aggrandizing narcissist even when he' ...more
Niklas Pivic
I was quite surprised with Kent's simple style of writing. At first, judging the book by its cover, it's true, it seemed like a simple rock 'n' roll take, but not so. At least not for the first half of the book anyway.

Kent tells of his life as a child, a teenager and getting smitten with hormones, non-moans and the likes. Gripes. Loves. His first tastes of music. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Getting aurally smacked by Led Zeppelin, seeing them in concert, getting backstage due to a mate.

Apathy For The Devil by Nick Kent

This book whose subtitle is a 1970’s Memoir takes the reader on a trip through the ripped backsides of the 1970’s and Nicks own hell bound ride through sex and drugs and rock and roll as a music journalist who was at many of the places you’d have wanted to be in that time period.
He hung out with everyone from the rolling stones to the sex pistols spent time doing drugs with Led Zeppelin and Iggy and the stooges dated Chrissy Hynde before she was famous, got so dr
Oh Mr. Kent! It’s quite a tale you weave, my good sir, of your tragic figure cutting no mean swath through that hazy decade formerly and still known as, the 70’s, Iggy, Lester, Bowie, Chrissie, Zepp, the Stones, the Clash, and the Pistols, among others, playing their supporting parts in your tragicomedy with unbridled gusto as the heroin jostled with common sense and basic biological needs in your veins and viscera while friendships, love, and employment ebbed and flowed on the tidal wave of you ...more
Dec 15, 2010 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those looking for the insights of tossers who were there
Shelves: arc, punk, londoncalling
Nick Kent was called a wanker by Led Zeppelin in 1972; he spent most of the latter half of the '70's getting beaten up, most famously by Sid Vicious, and strung out on heroin. Whenever, in the course of this largely well-written and darkly humorous memoir, Kent ventures an opinion, my knee-jerk reaction is to emulate Barry in HIGH FIDELITY and shout out "That's BULLSHIT!!!". However, I have to give him full marks for the following passage:

"Two years earlier, glam had been the big noise in town [
Carole Tyrrell
I had really enjoyed reading Nick Kent’s previous book, The Dark Stuff, and was looking forward to this one after the 16 year gap between them.
However, this is very different and feels more like a collection of anecdotes loosely put together and was ultimately disappointing. I was an avid reader of the NME during the ‘70’s, the 80’s and the ‘90’s and Kent and Charles Shaar Murray featured heavily as writers on it. However , with the onset of punk which swept away all before it, he became one of
Nick Kent was wedged right in the bowels of the 70's music scene. As an ambitious young writer with an ear for music, and a knack for being in the right place at the right time, he consorted with some of the great names of the era like Iggy Pop, Chrissie Hynde, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and more. Naturally, and almost reflexively he descended into a drug-miasma and yet, like many of those he hung around with, he emerged sane, happy and mostly unharmed.

All the while reading t
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Nick Kent, tells us of his coming of age, from young impressionable fan boy of the stones, to hanger out, writer, and fop about London town in the 70's. Kent writes an eminatly readable account of life during the early days of the NME, researching stories, and taking drugs. The drug taking is a heavy bass line that chugs away in the background, unrelenting, and only really comes to the fore when we realise that this young man is practically destitute and waking up on floors with Sid Viscious. So ...more
Nick McTaffy
Good book. I got tired of hearing about how shitty the 70's were, but this guy lived them like few others did. There are lots of first hand accounts of celebrity drugging and partying and beatings, but somehow, Kent fails to describe these encounters with the minute details I like to get a "feeling" for the spaces and time. He claims to remember alot of the 70's, which he does, but somehow I don't get the impression of the 70's. His book feels more like gossip than faction. Anyway, it's a good r ...more
Veronica Devon
Overall, this was a decently entertaining read, and I greatly enjoyed Kent's liberal use of the word "whilst," as I am constantly searching for ways to incorporate it into my everyday vocabulary. However, I felt that he only skimmed the surface of what was happening to music in the 1970s, though I did enjoy his musings on Bowie, the Stones, and Iggy Pop. I understand that he was strung out on heroin for the greater part of the decade, but seriously, he wrote for NME and was a part of the Sex Pis ...more
My view of the writer before I read this book was of a bohemian music journalist, who hung out with the stars and had an inflated opinion of himself. Having read it, my views haven't changed much, but I know more than I want to about the squalor and depravity of being a heroin addict in the 1970s.

Sadly there are too few moments of clarity and triumph in the book to balance the depressing morass of drug addiction, pathetic weakness and violence. The post script makes the author more likable, but
Paul Hudson
Music journalist Nick Kent takes the reader on an entertaining and wild jaunt through his formative years and his drug-addled years. Each chapter of the book is a year in the 1970s which really helps lay down the timeline of the music movements and bands of the time... Rock, Punk, Rolling Stones, Bowie, Iggy Pop, T. Rex, Roxy Music, MC5, Sex Pistols, the Clash. A lot of insight into the times and how things went down. Very memorable anecdotes and quotes. My favorite being, "They say good taste i ...more
I would have given this four stars if, in the end, it had felt like more than a sometimes grueling voyage through Nick Kent's years of drug abuse. The man can write, god can he write, but after a time I was less entertained by the clever sentences and descriptions. I wanted there to be some sort of over-arching message, perhaps.

His descriptions of many of the major rock characters of the decade are brilliant, though. Yet for all of his time spent with certain figures (like Iggy Pop) I didn't en
I liked this but didn’t love. I am sorry to say I think Kent is a bit full of himself and it left me wanting to put the book down a couple of times. Although I am probably about ten years younger then Kent I too have lived through some hardcore rock-n-roll times with a few big timers in my rolodex (that was a long time ago) and although I’ve never been an addict myself I have had very close contact with several addicts and watched lives ruined by the search for rock-n-roll fame. Some made all th ...more
I first knew of Nick Kent years ago watching Juilan Temples 'The Filth and the Fury'. In it Nick Kent is being interviewed in a doorway, which incidentally seems to be the only thing holding him up, his speech slurred and eyes almost closed. And it's his voice, or rather his accent that is disarming. Having read about Lester Bangs it was time to descend into Nick Kents 70's. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Brutally honest he lays it all bare, no matter how humiliating. Read this if you are a true m ...more
I started this a few months back, and recently picked it up again after leaving it behind at a friend's house. I don't know, I started out enjoying it, but Nick's self-absorption just gets more and more annoying as it progresses. A few days back, I was reading it on the bus, and hit a passage where he actually wrote "my heart was with another". That was it for me, I left it with another friend that I was visiting in the hospital. It is interesting, Nick was there right in the thick of it, but I ...more
There are lots of engaging and warm anecdotes, coupled with a tale of descent into drug addiction.

Kent writes with verve and a passion: he pulls no punches in his analysis of bands and what they offer. He does have his favourites, which is no criticism per se, but he does reassess his feelings over the intervening years.

I was expecting more from the book if I'm honest, and whilst the stories on the whole are vivid and interesting, I was left feeling that some things were unsaid.

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