Rockers and Rollers, cover

Automotive autobiography by Brian Johnson, frontman for legendary rock group AC/DC told as a very personal journey through his cars and motoring history.

Rockers and Rollers, Cars Autobiography of AC/DC's Brian Johnson

Rockers and Rollers is a series of vignettes of Brian Johnson’s life from his early days as a boy in Newcastle-upon-Tyne through his on-going rock career with AC/DC. He demonstrates a lifelong passion for cars which he is now able to satisfy through his wealth from his career as rock singer. Each brief story is only a couple of pages long and is hung around the car, or motorcycle, to which it relates.

Short Stories Based on Individual Vehicles.

The book, Rockers and Rollers, feels like an extension of Johnson’s car history interview with Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC television programme Top Gear in its “Star in a Reasonable Priced Car” slot. For those who have not seen the show it is where a celebrity drives a modest family saloon round a race track after instruction from the “Stig”, an anonymous racing driver. They vie for places on the show's leader board based on lap times.

The track driving is for most celebrities a new experience; however Brian Johnson is an accomplished racing car driver who has had success on the track as described in Rockers and Rollers. As part of the slot the celebrity briefly discusses their motoring history and attitude to cars. This book is in a similar mould.

Pub Conversation or Old fashioned Attitudes?

The style of the book and writing is very much feels like Johnson sharing his motoring anecdotes with mates in a bar or pub. Unfortunately it has the feeling of such a conversation when the wit and humour seems terrific to those who have had a good few drinks. Unfortunately in the cold light of a subsequent day, and to those who were sober at the time, such conversations often feel crass and vulgar.

The book is very rock and roll in its content and the swearing and constant sexual references will irritate many people. It is difficult to understand at whom this book is aimed. It may appeal to rock fans, especially of AC/DC, to whom the language may feel part and parcel of the “scene”. There is a nostalgia element for car enthusiasts born in Britain of the 1950s but many will have grown up into the attitudes of the 21st century and for whom the language will not play well.

Undemanding Read for Some

Rockers and Rollers is an undemanding read and it is not without humour if the reader can tolerate the swearing and sexual references. Fortunately it does not pretend to be a literary masterpiece. At times it feels like a lightly edited conversation about Brian Johnson’s car history. There are odd moments of real humour and even poignancy. Such a moment is when Johnson writes about his family’s one and only car, a Wolsely 6/90. It was a huge step for the young, car-mad Johnson but the Wolsely only lasted a few years before it was sold, never to be replaced. If a reader owns a Wolsely 6/90 with registration PBB96 then they can name their price. Sentimentalist that he is, Brian Johnson would dearly love to buy it back.

Rockers and Rollers, An automotive autobiography from AC/DC’s legendary frontman(2010, ISBN:978-0-14104351-7) by Brian Johnson is published in paperback by Penguin at £9.99.




First appeared on Suite101


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