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by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Paul Di'Anno - The Beast
(John Blake Publishing)

Bloody 'ell, if you ever wondered why the incorrigible Paul Di'Anno broke noses with Iron Maiden way back in the dark ages, you'll understand all too well after reading the man's explosive, violent, funny, daft, shag-worthy, and - if you can read between the long white lines and are of a forgiving and optimistic nature - charming storyteller's biog of this cad for the ages. Suitably penned, and professionally produced, for a top-notch crime book publisher, The Beast finds Di'Anno providing a jaw-dropping oral history to journalist Dale Webb, who must have been shaking in his boots while gathering these incredibly brutish recollections from this man mountain for which singing, writing and indeed working (although he says some insightful things about playing live) seemed to be an annoying means to an end, the end being that of his flying ham-fist or the shaggable caboose of any bird knocking on his hotel door with a dance and a drug in mind. Dirtier than The Dirt, with less happy glam, less dosh to go around, and more busted chops, this page-turner of a book documents with effortless flow and continual suspense, a stomach-churner of a life, Di'Anno simultaneously frightening and, like I say, charming the reader with his affable attitude, natural raconteuring skills, refreshing, no-holds-barred honesty, and above all, his hilariously British turns of phrase, which make him out as an Austin Powers with an Uzi, a shiv and a wicked Jack-fueled temper. The oddest part about this thing is how the music takes a back seat to the squalid punch-outs and all-night binges, Di'Anno, east ender 'til the end, breaking no bones about himself being an "artist," amusingly self-deprecating his way through situations that would equally make Zeppelin, Moon The Loon or any East L.A. gangbanger drop a load in their boots. And speaking of boots, here comes one on the end of Paul's leg. Woah. That's gotta hurt. Could have used a bit more about Maiden, this being the time and place to get Paul's view on things, but y'know, I'd be willing to bet that Paul simply didn't want to bore us. Email LeaHart2002@aol.com or see www.pauldianno.com for more info, but be warned: a boatload of bad behaviour is coming your way.
Rating 8.5

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