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Book and Author Profile: Life On Planet Rock by Lonn Friend

A great book by an individual who's been in the business for decades. A trusted journalist to artists that allowed him access to what most people would never see. An entertaining and revealing read; Life On Planet Rock.

In this nomadic, at times humbling memoir, former RIP magazine editor Friend recalls a quarter-century spent as a ringleader in the music industry circus. From the early 1980s to the late '90s, Friend enjoyed an insiders' perch for some of rock's greatest moments—he worked as a DJ, a rock journalist, editor of heavy metal's most popular magazine and had a segment on MTV. In energetic prose he invites readers along on bonding experiences like golf dates with Alice Cooper and riding in private jets with Kiss, as well as exposing moments of professional soul-searching at the hands of Metallica's Lars Ulrich and Pearl Jam. Remarkably, Friend's narrative maintains an even keel, whether he's being ignored by Kurt Cobain or wooed by Gene Simmons, and he candidly portrays the compromised, often confusing role of the rock journalist, constantly teetering between friend and patsy. The most enlightening part of the book is Friend's brief, failed stint as an A&R man, when the journalist who made a career on megabands staked his A&R career on the Bogmen, a quirky but brilliant New York outfit, and even made a run at Eels. Through success, excess and failure, music fans will enjoy Friend's anecdotes and his clear-eyed, hardly jaded view of the industry. (July)
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“Lonn lives where the reckless heart of rock still thunders in your chest. No one else can throw a literary dinner party where Henry Miller sits side by side with Kurt Cobain and Jon Bon Jovi. That's Lonn's planet, and that's his vivid personality. Soulful and rowdy and always hilarious, Life on Planet Rock reminds you why you ever turned it up, all the way up.”
—Cameron Crowe

“Dark, brutally honest, and hilarious at the same time, Lonn's tales of rock-and-roll debauchery, excess, and bad business are a love letter to the rock gods.”
—Scott Ian Rosenfeld, founder/guitarist, Anthrax

“Lonn Friend. If anybody is entitled to write about rock in L.A. in the ’80s and ’90s, it’s him. This is a good book. Steal it!”
—Lemmy Kilmister, lead singer, Motörhead

“Its humor, insight, and behind-the-scenes honesty have captured me and whisked me away to a very special mind space. I am content. All is well on Planet Rock . . . I ought to know, I've lived here all my life.”
—Kevin Cronin, lead singer, REO Speedwagon

Lonn Friend (born July 29, 1956) is an American journalist and author. Friend is best known for his work in the late 1980s and '90s as editor of RIP Magazine, which covered the debaucherous world of heavy metal music and the rock stars who led the movement. Friend began his career in 1982, as associate editor of Hustler Magazine, the flagship journal of Larry Flynt Publications (LFP). After rising to senior editor at Hustler, he transitioned to Executive Editor of Chic Magazine, and then to RIP in the Spring of 1987. RIP was the first non-pornographic publication produced by LFP. After six months on staff, Friend was promoted to editor-in-chief, where he transformed RIP into one of the leading heavy metal magazines of its time. Friend documented his experiences with the heroes of heavy metal in his memoir, Life on Planet Rock.

During his tenure at RIP, Friend personally documented the making of Metallica's The Black Album, and was given an exclusive monthly invitation to One-on-One studio in North Hollywood to interview and observe the band in a candid environment. Over an 11-month period for the "Metalli-Watch" RIP series, he broke the inside stories surrounding the production of what ultimately became the biggest-selling album of the 1990s.

Friend also appeared in several documentaries profiling the band, including A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica, Classic Albums: Black, AURAL Amphetamine: Metallica and the Dawn of Thrash, and VH1's Behind the Music: Metallica. The cover art of The Black Album debuted on his Friend at Large segment for MTV's Headbangers Ball in August of 1991.

Friend was instrumental in introducing Guns N' Roses to music fans, a band that went on to become one of the most popular heavy metal acts of all time. RIP was the first magazine to feature a full-cover photo and story on Guns N' Roses, titled "Metal's New Supergroup," which appeared in its June 1988 issue. Guns N' Roses performed their last club gig for the third-anniversary RIP party at the Park Plaza Hotel in October 1989, prior to their four-night opening stint for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

During his time with RIP, Lonn was directly responsible for helping usher in the 'grunge' movement, a time when bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Nirvana took over the airwaves from the previous musical giants of heavy metal.

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