Stay Ugly – The Life and Near Deaths of King Fowley (Burning Horse Media)Monday, 31st July 2017
The best people and musicians in metal strike that adequate balance for quality, conviction, passion, and truth. King Fowley has lived for metal (and music) in general since childhood, so given his always opinionated, never duplicated stories – the time is ripe for an autobiographical account in book form. Along with Mike Sloan, this book took shape over six years and numerous false starts/stops to get things exactly the way you’ve come to know and expect from King – delivered in a rapid fire, stream of consciousness way chronologically chapter by chapter. In the end, you’ll take in 320 plus pages regarding music, his childhood, family, relationships, battles with drugs and alcohol (plus his recovery), his stroke/health complications, and of course healthy discussion on his work in Deceased and October 31.
What is most enjoyable about the book is not only specific stories regarding King’s discoveries in music, his first show memories of Black Sabbath with Dio in the 1980’s, plus the craziness that would swirl around him at shows and parties – but his genuine concern for the mistakes that he’s made, learned from, and become a better person. He’s human. Missing his son’s first birthday, the loss of his son’s mother Carrie, the strain that happens when band members move on and leave – that matters as much as the great shows, outstanding albums, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There are hundreds of quotes at the end of each chapter from band members, friends, record label people, promoters, and family that also showcase King in all his passionate, fiery glory. While many metal/rock memoirs seem to focus on the crazy/sex, drugs and rock & roll life stories – King treads very carefully around those areas, not skirting his wildness but instead giving it proper coverage without becoming the totality of his story. You’ll also get some great pictures from childhood to now, an additional 50 question chapter towards the end of the book where he reveals top 100 movies and album picks, plus reveals more behind specific stories with Morbid Angel, Nile, and Broken Hope and Relapse Records among others.
Stay Ugly is relevant for all headbangers, river rats, and children of the damned for those who want to learn more about the underground from the 1980’s upward. His storytelling ability is unparalleled, and this scribe is sure there will be a sequel to this book a few decades down the road as his metal days are far from over.