Paperback: Frontman: Surviving the rock star myth, By Richard Barone

Backbeat £9.95
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It's possible that you haven't heard of Richard Barone, though that doesn't mean he is not in a good position to be able to deconstruct rock'n'roll's mythologies and archetypes. He sang with the American 1980s new wave pop group the Bongos, who were successful enough that he knows all about excess, parties, sex and cocaine, and understands something of the music business, which is the only industry in which such things are not merely tolerated but demanded.

He also knows what it is like to be on stage bathed in a crowd's adulation, sweating, rushing at the microphone so hard as to chip a tooth. Apparently it's like being strapped to the nose of a 747.

And yet Barone was never so successful or coked up that he believed in his own carefully-cultivated "frontman" persona, with the result that his autobiography is more clear-sighted and self-aware, less jaded and less ludicrous than most other pop stars'. Unfortunately it isn't noticeably better written, and it isn't wholly thrilling. Not even the Bongos' most ardent fans will be able to feign interest in the minutiae it contains about his career and recordings.