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Miscellaneous - Star Trippin' : The Best of Mick Wall 1985-91

  by Mark Rowland

published: 20 / 7 / 2006

Miscellaneous - Star Trippin' : The Best of Mick Wall 1985-91


'Star Trippin’ is the anthology of former 'Kerrang' rock journalist Mick Wall. Mark Rowland finds very enetertaining 'Star Trippin', which tells of his interviews with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, and the one which ended his 'Kerrang' career with Axl Rose

There’s a lesson to be learned from the last article in the Mick Wall anthology ‘Star Trippin’ for both budding music journos and arrogant rock stars. One throw-away brag from Axl Rose concerning Vince Neil of Motley Crue was all it took, causing no end of trouble for both the subject of the piece and its writer. After Mr Neil decided to take Axl up on his offer of a good old fashioned fistfight, the Guns n’ Roses frontman suddenly announced that Wall had made the whole article up. Guns n’ Roses’ management then told Wall’s then employers at 'Kerrang!' magazine that they would do no more interviews with the paper unless they fired him. They did, but, as Wall admits himself, his own arrogance did not help matters. “I had not helped my cause by becoming almost as megalomaniacal as Axl himself by that point,” he says in his foreword to the offending article. “And when I deliberately failed to turn up for the party to celebrate the magazine’s tenth anniversary at the end of 1991, it was a snub that effectively signed my own death warrant” It is fitting that Wall’s time at 'Kerrang!' ended in 1991, when grunge completely changed the face of mainstream rock music, blowing most of his regular subjects and closest contacts right out of the water. Wall became Kerrang’s star writer in the 80's. He was the writer bands asked for when they wanted to talk to the magazine, and many of his subjects became quite friendly with him. He had a knack for gaining the trust of the huge stadium rock acts of the day, and, as most of those bands had beaten their brain-cells black and blue with large quantities of drugs and alcohol, his articles were generally very entertaining. You don’t have to be a fan of any of the bands covered in 'Star Trippin' to enjoy the articles, from Dave Lee Roth’s moronic anecdotes to the hilarious Poison interview, when Wall and photographer Rob Halfin were made to wait in a dingy, cluttered room for three hours (it became known as the ‘locked in a cupboard’ feature). Though he was writing for a commercial magazine, Wall comes across as more of a fanzine writer – technically it’s not perfect, but Wall had a fan’s understanding of the music he was covering. It is probably for this very reason that he became the journalist of choice for most of these bands – Wall showed a genuine interest in what they were doing and understood them well enough to become friends with regular subjects. The fact that Ozzy Osbourne called for Mick Wall after his drunken attack on his wife Sharon (he was charged with attempted murder) says a lot about the trust Wall could govern with rock stars, and the resulting piece is the most compelling and moving piece in the book, a snapshot of an alcoholic at his lowest ebb.

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