Since the 1990s, Ian Winwood has travelled the globe writing about music for NME, Q, Kerrang!, the Telegraph and the Guardian. Many musicians Winwood spent time with and wrote about died young from drug or alcohol-related illness or suicide: grunge frontmen Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland and Layne Staley are just three of many more. Bodies is an informative investigation into why drugs and alcohol are so prevalent within the daily lives of musicians, and serves as a memoir too.
Winwood has dealt with mental illness and addiction himself, and Bodies is candid when it comes to laying bare the faults of an industry which pushes vulnerable creative people over the edge of a dark abyss, some never to return. The meagre income from online streaming, along with contractual advances that must be repaid in full before any financial gain from album sales, leads to relentless touring on a dangerous, stimulant-fuelled merry-go-round – one which can’t be jumped off without career-damaging consequences.
Some featured within Bodies, such as Peckham band Goat Girl, appear savvy to these perils. For many others, any kind of support regarding mental health is simply not forthcoming when there is money to be made. A deeply affecting read, and an almighty wake-up call to the music industry.
Bodies, Ian Winwood (Faber)
Price: £14.99. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT
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