The renowned and highly skilled guitarist Wayne Hussey (The Mission, ex-Dead or Alive, ex-The Sisters of Mercy) published this hugely charming and entertaining autobiography of his via the ever-reliable Omnibus Press earlier on this year, and I might as well start out by saying that this is one piece of literature that you do not want to miss out on. Now, why is that? Well, Hussey’s style of writing and the entire tone of the book are laced with humor, sarcasm, and (self-) irony, which is not entirely unlike Steve Lamacq’s excellent “Going Deaf for a Living” that was published around the same time and reviewed elsewhere on these pages. “Salad Daze” paints a humorous and heartfelt portrait of the burgeoning gothic rock scene back in the early-to-mid eighties and what the tours and recording sessions and whatnot were like, but equally important is the fact that it is a warm and brilliantly told account of what it was like growing up on 60s and 70s music in Britain and how influential and groundbreaking it all was.

Hussey grew up on the outskirts of Bristol and as a youngster, he fell madly in love with the sound and image of T. Rex and Marc Bolan. Not surprisingly, he started harboring dreams of becoming a musician himself and with a tremendous amount of determination and confidence in tow, he turned that dream into reality. However, the journey to stardom was not an easy one to make and there were casualties along the way; break-ups, creative differences, drugs, bad sex, self-doubt, poverty, self-loathing, and alcohol aplenty. I am merely listing a few of the things that come to mind here, but Hussey’s moving narrative reads like a confessional in the sense that he lays bare his soul and shares his innermost thoughts on practically anything (and anyone) that crosses his mind. Apart from the self-indulgence and debauchery as well as the musical highs and lows, there are some interesting thoughts and perspectives on Mormonism (of which his parents were followers and devotees) and how that particular aspect of his upbringing has shaped him as a human being. His complicated relationship with (and reflective view on) organized religion and how this often left him feeling shame and guilt following his more…ahem…rock ‘n’ roll endeavors and activities is a compelling read.

“Salad Daze” is quite detailed, but it never loses its momentum. It has a real good pace to it in the sense that nothing is neglected or glossed over and yet it is constantly driven forward, and as a reader, one is eagerly (or anxiously, depending on what point in time we are talking about!) awaiting just what exactly will happen to our dear Mr. Hussey next. From a personal perspective, I think the chapters that focus on his upbringing and his subsequent move to Liverpool in his late teens when he was an aspiring guitarist and living on next to nothing are the best and most memorable parts of the whole affair. Also, his work with Dead or Alive and what it was like to be a member of that ensemble is unarguably another highlight in the book.

Inspired and touching, funny and all-revealing, “Salad Daze” is a fantastic warts-and-all read and I cannot wait for the second part of the book to be published. Actually, that is the only frustrating part of Hussey’s literary excursion into his creative and personal life – we have to WAIT for the follow-up to his thrilling story!