Who’d be a rock critic? Having to hang around with mega stars doing vast quantities of drugs as they screw and jam their way round the world. It’s a hard life.
Nick Kent is such an unfortunate. In his riveting autobiography ‘Apathy for the Devil’ he tells tales, anyone of which, would get the teller free lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks for life.
Among them are doing coke with Led Zep during their heyday, hanging with Bowie in America, befriending Iggy before he was a superstar, going out with Chrissie Hynde before she was The Great Pretender and doing heroin with fellow junkies, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.
Yet the way Kent tells it, this enviable state of affairs quickly turned into a living nightmare, owing to his debilitating drug addiction.
The most unfortunate part of the whole thing according to him was having to spend any time with Sid and his girl. Kent has not a good word to say about either and we’re inclined to believe his depiction of them owes more to accuracy, than some hidden vendetta.
Even though Kent’s tale has a happy ending, as he kicks his dependency, finds god and gets a girlfriend with an apartment in Paris, within in it lies sadness.
That of the critic who, however insightful, can only comment on the greater glory of others.
One poignant scene sees him comforted by Chrissie Hynde after a particularly vicious verbal assault by disgruntled musicians before she rejoins the ‘stars’ on the opposite side of the room.
There is in the scene this sense of Kent as a perpetual outsider to a world, which as a musician himself, he must have longed to be a fuller part of.
In the end though it is Kent’s honesty, revealing things about his life that others may have chosen to keep to themselves, that make this such a compelling read.