Between The Lines

Metal Contender

Q&A with an author who's a heavy metal junkie -- A look inside the addictive life of newcomer Seb Hunter

What do you do when your dog rocks out to Twisted Sister and you find yourself pitching an entry on Judas Priest to Encyclopaedia Britannica? If you're an English chap named Seb Hunter, 33, you spend your formative years jamming in failed bands (Rag 'n' Bones, the Trash Can Junkies) and then come clean in a new memoir, ''Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict.''

Why an obsession with metal and not, say, blue-grass?

AC/DC's ''Let's Get It Up,'' off the pretty terrible ''For Those About to Rock'' album, was literally an eye-opening moment. It's a physicality that you just kind of get. After that, the only music you care about has that distorted, loud guitar sound. And then you discover the outlaw aspect of it and the long hair and it's us against the world. You really don't need to think about it at all, just sit there and let it blast at you.

What's your most ridiculous tale of chemical excess?

There's a sliding economic scale. The smaller your band, you take speed and mushrooms. Then you get a bit bigger and you take cocaine and so on, until you've got a full-blown heroin habit and that's when you know you've made it. We never really got beyond amphetamine sulphate. We used to put speed in our tea like sugar. It's quite English.

You named your two kittens after Ratt's Warren DeMartini and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. Why no love for Eddie Van Halen, who blows both of those cats away?

Although he was genius and invented it all, he didn't have that low-down, dirty, eyeliner-y, gunslinger, f -- -ing rock & roll thing.... And Eddie's not a very nice name for a cat.

My editor, Thom, isn't rocking hard enough. Can you suggest a quick metal makeover?

You need to put ''Riff Raff'' by AC/DC on his stereo, turn it up extremely loud, and play it on repeat. Put a headband on him, like Ilie Nastase or John McEnroe used to wear. Jack Daniel's straight from the bottle. Marlboro Reds. And get some pneumatic, fake blond birds to drive by the window listening to Warrant. I think that should do it.

[Editor's note: Fat chance.]

Death by choking on your own vomit, heroin overdose, or plane/copter/bus crash?

Definitely choking on my own vomit. It's just the ultimate metal way. That or a gardening accident.

Originally posted Aug 06, 2004 Published in issue #777 Aug 06, 2004 Order article reprints
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