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 6 books written by rock stars from comics, memoirs, and works of fiction.
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, and 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 eye-opening.
It’s quite a chunky book with small font but it never bored me. It’s upsetting, and there’s times you want to shake her (she made it clear time and time again that she couldn’t stand Lita Ford)
The Runaways movie is inspired by the book, 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!
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.
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
Killjoys (also 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 is the co-founder of DC’s Young Animal comics, and his brother Mikey, also in MCR, wrote Collapser. Gerard’s wife, Lindsey, is writing a book that I cant wait to read one day, so this is one talented family! She hasn’t given much of an update since the first few times she’s tweeted about it, so I’m assuming she’ll be self-publishing.
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.
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.
Ruple & Evelyn by Laurence Beveridge
I adored Fearless Vampire Killers when I was a teenager, and they’ll always have a place in my heart.
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.
The premise of Grandomnia is a world ruled by the heavily flawed Vane kings. It’s a world of corruption, love, and a palace in flames.
I have the bulked up second-edition. A lot of reviews of the first mention that it’s both great and awful, which is understandable. Laurence was under so much pressure to have it done in time to be released alongside an EP that lots of chunks were left out. I forgot my copy was signed because I pre-ordered it before it was released, and died when I picked it up while writing this post. I can’t speak of the first edition because I didn’t read it, but I like the second edition.
I still think they had a lot of missed potential since they split in 2016. Like MCR I actually ended up missing them a few times (even when I actually had tickets!) before they broke up. Now that I’ve tickets to MCR’s reunion tour, I hope one-day FVK do the same so teenage me can be satisfied. In the meantime, Palaye Royale are filling the void. They’re even releasing their own comic book about their conceptual music! Once that’s out I’m sure Palaye Royale’s comic will join this list of books written by rock stars.
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.