London-based rock journalist, travel writer and foreign correspondent Andrew Mueller wears all three of his hats in his new collection Rock and Hard Places, lifted from such publications as Melody Maker and Uncut across a 20-year career.

Most of the selections focus on bands — Mueller goes on tour with Radiohead, U2 and The Cure; visits the Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo; suffers through Woodstock II; etc — while other selections are gonzo-style excursions into trouble spots such as Afghanistan and Tehran. The most memorable pieces, such as Mueller’s investigation of the music scene in Sarajevo in 1996, and his coverage of The Prodigy’s tour of Beirut, frequently combine the rock and hard places of the title.

Mueller is a talented, unapologetically opinionated, and often very funny writer, whose obsession with music calls to mind The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll, the recent book by that other Australian rock aficionado Robert Forster.

Occasionally Mueller gets carried away with his own cleverness, and did he really need to include a piece about his (albeit disappointing) promotional tour of England for his first book I Wouldn’t Start From Here? That said, Rock and Hard Places is an addictive collection, guaranteed to delight all true rock’n’roll fans.

The details: Rock and Hard Places is available on Amazon and, we imagine, in all good bookshops.

*David Cohen is a writer, reviewer, ex-bookseller and former ISBN Agency employee. This review first appeared in the October issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

Peter Fray

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