A lot of musicians branch into other areas from acting to setting up businesses. As natural song and lyric writers, it’s no surprise that many have branched into the publishing world. These are 8 books written by rock stars from comics, rock band memoirs, and works of fiction.
Best Rock Band Books
1. Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie (and Tony O’Neill)
Former front-women of the Runaways penned her autobiography in 2010 about her life in the 70s all girl rock-band. Being a girl in a rock band is still a challenge and not super common so you can only imagine what it was like for five teenage girls in 1975!
The Runaways had a troubled career, which Cherie doesn’t shy away from mentioning. Sadly, it’s not surprising that the girls weren’t treated with respect. Cherie also opens up about her own personal struggles with addiction and abuse. It starts with the very night she met Kim Fowley and Joan Jett, which was her ticket into the band.
This memoir is not an easy read, but it’s one of the books all rock fans need to read as it’s an eye opener regarding the music industry. Neon Angel is quite a chunky book with small font but it never bored me.
The Runaways movie is inspired by this rock star memoir, but don’t take the movie plot at face value as they made some changes. Cherie’s book is a more accurate tale of life as a teenage runaway. If you’re a Runaways fan, or even just a fan of Joan Jett, I’d recommend this book!
2. Gray By Pete Wentz
It’s not all that surprising that the lyricist of Fall Out Boy wrote a book.
Gray a bit of an abstract book. The name is very fitting. It’s kinda fiction but also very much about Pete’s younger lives, as his protagonist joins a band *exactly* how Pete found himself in Fall Out Boy. It reminds me of The Bell Jar in the sense that it’s largely autobiographical but not officially an autobiography.
It’s about our protagonist’s struggles with identity, love and self-esteem and trying to figure it all out while his band reaches superstardom.
Pete has a beautiful writing style, and I think it’s a shame he hasn’t written another book since! Even if you don’t like Fall Out Boy I’d 100% recommend Gray.
Fun fact: I brought this to get signed when I met Fall Out Boy when I was 17. Pete winked at me when he saw the book and I forgot how to speak.
3. None Of This Rocks By Joe Trohman
Fall Out Boy fans are in luck as Pete isn’t the only member with a book under his belt.
Guitarist Joe Trohman released a rock memoir about his life and fame. He combines stories about his life going up, with those from his time in the band.
It’s a brutally honest book. Joe doesn’t shy away from calling out antisemitism as well as the misogyny and racisms in the straight edge Chicago punk scene. He also dives into his own mental health, so this is another book every rock fan needs to read.
4. The Umbrella Academy By Gerard Way
The Umbrella Academy is a comic book rather than a book, but I still think deserves a place on this list of books written by rock stars. It was penned by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. So far there are three volumes out: Apocalypse Suite, Dallas, and Hotel Oblivion. The Netflix adaption is loosely based on the first two.
The overarching story is that The Umbrella Academy are a team of superheroes who were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreaves to save the world. They’re 7 of the 43 kids born to unexpecting mothers who hadn’t been pregnant when the day first began.
After their adoptive father’s death, the academy is back together for the first time in their adult lives. They have to deal with their family baggage while being pulled back into their role as superheroes.
It’s just as much about family as it is about heroes which is the advantage it needed to be so special; the characters and their relationships with one another are so complex but relatable. The comic shows that Gerard isn’t just a talented musician but a writer too.
5. Killjoys By Gerard Way
While you don’t have to be an MCR fan to enjoy The Umbrella Academy, you’ll enjoy Killjoys more if you are.
Killjoys is set after the MCR album Danger Days takes place and provides a conclusion to the Girls story and what happened after theirs alter egos died in the Sing music video.
You should be familiar with the concept for Danger Days before heading into this one.
We’re introduced to the new generation of Killjoys inspired by MCR’s original Killjoy alter-egos. The Girl is still struggling to understand why they took her under their wing, and what made her so special to be worth sacrificing themselves. Some beloved Danger Day’s characters like Dr Death and Korse return, and we watch as our favourites are still reeling from their loss, while BLI is still in power. It’s the catharsis you need to the concept album.
Gerard also released National Anthem, which is the original concept for Killjoys.
6. Electric Century By Mikey Way
Gerard’s brother, Mikey, has also penned several comics, earning himself a spot on this list of books written by rock stars. During the My Chemical Romance breakup, Mikey teamed up with David Debiak to form Electric Century. As part of their self-titled album, Mikey, Shaun Simon, and Tobey Cypress released a comic.
The comic follows washed up actor Johnny Ashford struggles with his mental health. He begins seeing a hypnotherapist who takes him to his happy place, which is Atlantic City in the ‘80s, but something isn’t quite right.
7. Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love
Dirty Blonde is a scrapbook by Courtney Love about herself and her life. She has letters from and for her report cards, diary entries, and photos in the book. So, of all the rock memoirs, it’s pretty unconventional.
A lot is in her own handwriting so its not always easy to decipher. The 2006 book had lyrics from Nobody’s Daughter which didn’t come out until 2010. Some people didn’t love that it wasn’t a coherent story and that she brushed past certain moments of her life. I’d say, what else do you expect from her? I think a scrapbook is a perfect representation of her.
8. Ruple & Evelyn By Laurence Beveridge
I adored Fearless Vampire Killers when I was a teenager, and because I never grew out of my emo phase, I still do. I love nothing more than bands who go all out and make concept albums and fun projects to go with their music.
Ruple & Evelyn was made to provide a history and concept behind their music. The band created the world of Grandomina to set their music against as a big massive concept album, but the book took it further than just releasing music with a theme. There are three books about Grandomnia in total; Ruple & Evelyn, Militia of the Lost, and Unbreakable Hearts.
The book is about one of the triplet kings, Ruple’s, love for his brother’s wife, Evelyn, and how they struggle to stay apart.
Have you read any of these books written by rock stars? Who’s your favourite musician, have they created something outside of music before?
You might also be interested in how fan-fiction (about these guys) can make you a better writer. Check out my eco-goth guide and explainer on is emo dead.