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Denim and Leather

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472134080

Price: £20

ON SALE: 24th February 2022

Genre: The Arts / Music / Music: Styles & Genres / Heavy Metal Music

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In the late 1970s, aggressive, young bands are forming across Britain. Independent labels are springing up to release their music. But this isn’t the story of punk. Forget punk. Punk was a flash in the pan compared to this. This is the story of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a musical movement that changed the world.

From this movement – given the unwieldy acronym NWOBHM – sprang streams that would flow through metal’s subsequent development. Without NWOBHM there is no thrash metal, no death metal, no black metal. Without the rise of Iron Maiden, NWOBHM’s standard bearers, leading the charge to South America and to South Asia, metal’s global spread is slower. Without the NWOBHM bands – who included Def Leppard, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Diamond Head and many others – the international uniform of heavy metal – the ‘battle jacket’ of a denim jacket with sleeves ripped off, and covered with patches (usually sewn on by the wearer’s mum), worn over a leather biker jacket – does not exist: ‘Denim and leather brought us all together,’ as Saxon put it.

No book has ever gathered together all the principals of British heavy rock’s most fertile period: Jimmy Page, Rick Allen, Michael Schenker, Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, Ritchie Blackmore, Rick Savage, Phil Collen, David Coverdale, Cronos, Biff Byford, Joe Elliott, Rob Halford, Ian Gillan, Phil Mogg, Robert Plant, Tony Wilson, Lars Ulrich, Pete Waterman to name a few.

In Denim and Leather, these stars tell their own stories – their brilliant, funny tales of hubris and disaster, of ambition and success – and chart how, over a handful of years from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, a group of unlikely looking blokes from the provinces wearing spandex trousers changed heavy music forever.

This is the definitive story about the greatest days of British heavy rock.

Reviews

[Denim and Leather] captures a moment in time and a genre of music that had a brief moment in the sun . . . The book is an honest portrayal, directly from the horse's mouth . . . The interesting thing is that it was people trying to discover their own identities . . . The book sums it up by the people who experienced it
Phil Collen, Def Leppard
There is a real tenderness to Michael Hann's perception of music, a perception that has balance of forthright investigation and humane intrigue, neither meek nor ruthless as interviewer and writer, he serves the outsider with empathy and grounded wonder. Hann's perspective on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal leads Denim and Leather to be what I want as a music fan: a revelation of the overlooked and a celebration of the underdog. Which is what the genre was all about in the first place! Magic
Joe Talbot, Idles
The influence of British metal extends far beyond the amount of newsprint miles expended on it. Denim and Leather acts both as the oral history its fans deserve and a deeply evocative primer for those of us who weren't paying attention at the time. With Denim and Leather, Michael Hann has masterfully interwoven dozens of disparate narratives to create a deeply evocative oral history of a hugely misunderstood chapter in British music history. Denim and Leather voyages beyond music history and into the realm of sociology to honour the importance of the misunderstood movement whose history it exists to tell - in the process creating a deeply evocative primer for both fans and the merely curious
Pete Paphides, author of Broken Greek
Finally, a book about one of the most overlooked and unfairly derided movements in music history. There is so much in here, metal music that shaped everything that came afterwards, joy, pathos, humour and darkness. I learned so much; now excuse me while I go brush up on Witchfynde
Frank Turner
Denim and Leather is enthralling and entertaining for both hardcore fans and novice listeners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I previously did not know much beyond the biggest bands in the genre, but I found this book captivating and consistently amusing. Michael Hann talks to all the major players in the NWOBHM, who are often contradictory, sometimes delusional, and usually very charming. The book opened my eyes and ears to a lot of music I didn't previously know, and helped me contextualize exactly what was so unique about this music and the scene around it
Craig Finn, The Hold Steady