Published September 21st 2012 by Metal Blonde Books
It’s the summer of 1974 and 21-year old Dawn Emerson has only three things she wants to do: compete one last time in the Ellensburg Rodeo, win back her ex-boyfriend Ryan, and become the best damn music journalist at Central Washington University. But all her plans are left in the dust when she’s contacted by Creem magazine to go on the road with one of her favorite groups, the up-and-coming metal band, Hybrid.
At first the assignment reads like a dream come true. Not only will Dawn land some much-needed credibility as a female music journalist, but she’ll finally get to experience life from the other side of the stage, and maybe crack the drunken, enigmatic code that is guitarist Sage Knightly. Instead, Dawn finds herself on an aging tour bus filled with ego-maniacs, band politics and a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. When monsters start showing up in dressing rooms and some of Sage’s groupies become increasingly strange and dangerous, Dawn discovers the band is not only going places – they’re going straight to Hell.
And Dawn has a backstage pass.
The Devil’s Metal is the first book in a two-part New Adult Horror/Paranormal Romance and very (very!) loosely based on the author’s exploits as a music journalist. Hell comes in different forms.
Well. That was a trip.
I was hooked on Halle’s previous series, Experiment in Terror, after the third book, Dead Sky Morning. I am already hooked in this one. And *gasp* I am not a music fan. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy music, but I don’t have a favorite band or even favorite genre. I know, that makes me a freak. Anyway …
I was a little hesitant reading this, with my indifference to music, being that it takes place on a band tour. But Halle made me feel the passion; I felt like I was there. Seeing the concerts through a music lover’s eyes gave me an appreciation for the obsession others have. Dawn was blissfully ignorant, yet knowledgeable at the same time. She wasn’t easily intimidated, but WAS easily embarrassed, though she claimed not to be. The first time she is introduced to the band as she climbs on the tour bus is as surreal as you would imagine:
I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, that feeling of having a band that you loved, the faces you gazed at in magazines, the ones who created life-changing music, staring back at you, and only you.
Also, when Dawn is being introduced to the lead singing, swoon-worthy Robbie Oliver:
“Dawn,” I corrected him and immediately felt silly for doing so. Robbie Oliver could call me Pooey-Poo-Poo Smelly Face if he wanted to.
I feel that way about most authors. And probably would if I ever met Halle in real life.
But of course, there is the brooding, dark, mixed heritage quite guy, Sage Knightly. He is the guy we all want, even if we can’t admit it to ourselves. At first he is very cold and distant to Dawn, because she is a reporter … or is that all? Slowly, his icy exterior thaws, and we join Dawn down the road to get to know Sage better. My favorite scene between them is surprisingly platonic. Although Dawn’s thoughts are anything but as she sits on his shoulders at a music festival:
The idea of a 5’9″ girl sitting on a 6’4″ guy made me want to laugh. We’d be the brontosaurus of the festival. The acid trippers would see us and freak the hell out.
As if he sensed the lust permeating from me, he began to run one hand up and down my calf, very softly, very slowly, while still keeping me aloft.
We elapsed into pensive thought and watched the remainder of the show. He never stopped stroking my leg.
I know, right? *sigh* It just struck me as so sweet. I read this book twice and looked forward to that part the second time. It is just so … simple and pure. And I held on to that simplicity as the story continues down the effed up road it eventually goes down.
Overall, it is a great book, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for all the characters in The Devil’s Metal. Don’t stop reading here, continue on for some behind the scenes stories about what it’s really like behind the scenes on a tour! And of course, some great giveaways! If someone wants to enter for me, that would be cool.
Stranger Than Fiction
For this guest post for The Devil’s Metal tour, Laura wanted to know what incidences in my own experience as a music journalist made their way over into the book. She also wanted to know what life on the road was like, in “non-fiction.”
I’ll start by answering the last question first: I’ve never been on the road with a band “per se” – unless you count Slayer and Rob Zombie. I was with them for the end of the tour in 2011 going from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington with me (just not part of their convoy). I was pretty much just hanging out, staying in the same hotel. I did get to ride the bus from the Seattle venue to the hotel which was fun, drinking with Kerry King and Dave Lombardo and Andy Gould (famous tour manager – very Jacob-like). I didn’t do any kind of journalist stuff for that tour, I was just there as a friend…which, I got to say, is a lot better than having to be writing a concert review in your head! All play, no work.
Unfortunately, though I have followed bands from town to town, covering their shows for publications, going on tour with a band just doesn’t happen these days. Not only is it expensive, but there is so much room for liability. The days of “going on the road” with a band pretty much ended in the nineties, with the heyday being in the seventies and eighties. Ah, to be a fly on the wall of the Led Zeppelin tour bus.
All right, let’s tackle the juicy part of the guest post: Did anything that happened to Dawn actually happen to me?
Yes, plenty. I won’t go into detail (liability reasons) but I’ve gone through a lot of the same things as Dawn did with Hybrid, particularly with the GTFOs. Certain bands attract some pretty fanatical people and I’ve, unfortunately, been on the receiving end of some of those crazies. I’d had a photo pass nearly ripped off my neck by a fan who was angry that I got to go to a private party and she wanted to, too. I’ve had a crazy woman actually write letters to the bassist of her favorite band – a man whom I was actually friends with – warning him about me, saying I wasn’t to be trusted.
Luckily, the bassist wasn’t fooled since he considered the woman “a pest, the kind of person that makes you feel awful after an encounter, like she sucked the soul out of you.” I’ve had a nutty lady write to my publication, trying to complain about my writing…and I’ve slept uneasily in my hotel bed, thinking this crazy broad was going to murder me in my sleep. OKAY, you guessed it, all of those women are actually the same person. Can’t say she didn’t inspire this book! Lol.
I’ve also had some wannabe journalist (supposed friend) contact a certain manager on the sly, wanting to get me in trouble for something I wrote about. You name it, I’ve had my fair share of groupies, journos and fair-weather friends, both woman and men. The men can actually be the worst.
As for the backstage debauchery in The Devil’s Metal? Well, I’ve seen some pretty funny things backstage but luckily the bands who I choose to deal with aren’t that depraved. Lots (LOTS) of drinking and being silly and acting like teenagers and running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but nothing too crazy or sexual or anything like that.
Some bands I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with, keep going to bed at 10PM (I’m looking at you, Baroness!). And you know what, that’s fine with me. It really is a shock when a band you admire lets you down and I’m glad that hasn’t really happened with me (not like the way it happened with Dawn).
I’m also glad that none of the bands had monsters in their dressing rooms. A monkey was enough for me.
Karina Halle is a music journalist and all around wino who resides in beautiful British Columbia. When she’s not rocking out or taking a nap, she can be found writing her ghost-hunting Experiment in Terror Series.