Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a new twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…
The general outline of the rock bio is by now well established — young, innocent spitfire achieves dream against all odds only to find fame, riches, and rock n’ roll excess does not quench the deep thirst for someone to love them for who the truly are, which, in turn, at last allows them to love themselves.
The introduction to Belinda Carlisle’s 2010 autobiography Lips Unsealed appears to set readers up for a similar trajectory, recounting the travails of her life at age twelve –“My stepdad had a drinking problem, my mom was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and I was teased as being fat and stupid…I hated my life and wanted something better” — before delivering an exquisite sucker punch to the metaphorical solar plexus with her explanation of how she broke free:
I came home one day from a friend’s house holding a book that seemed like it might help me change my life. I hid it under my sweatshirt and went straight to my bedroom. I felt a tingle of excitement as U slipped it out and looked at the cover: The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey. I read bits and pieces, and although I understood very little of the author’s rant against Christianity, I focused on terms like “exorcism,” “evil,” and “black magic,: thinking I could find out how to cast spells and take control of my life.
This wasn’t the first book I’d read on the subject, but it got me in the mood to finally try to cast a spell. I slid a box out from under my bed and removed the contents I had assembled earlier: brewed tea leaves, oak twigs, string, and a candle. I arranged them in front of me as I’d seen in a different book. I chanted some words and called on the invisible powers of the universe to give me life the excitement I felt it lacked and everything else I wanted.
Did the spell work? All signs point to an emphatic Yes. While still in high school Carlisle enjoys pizza with Keith Moon and a hooker, fields and shuts down an advance from Bonn Scott, meets Pat Smear and Darby Crash while staking out Freddy Mercury’s hotel room, drums for an early incarnation of the Germs as Dottie Danger, co-founds The Go-Go’s, becomes rich and famous, records a couple solo albums, becomes even more rich and famous, and, finally, writes an autobiography wherein on the very first page she gives a plausible explanation for why her career might be credited to Old Splitfoot!
That’s pretty goddamn metal!
Alas, by the end of the book Carlisle is in India where Buddhism turns the “little girl who cast a spell that created the rest of her life” into “a woman who realized the real magic had been there the whole time.” Worse, she praises Metallica’s decision to hire a therapist in the Some Kind of Monster days, as if the twelve year-old version of herself would have gotten anywhere listening to Phil Towle instead of LaVey!
Anyway, nice save, Belinda. But like any other thirtysomething banger raised on backmasked records, we have received the message loud and clear…Hail Satan!
And now without further ado, a selection of metal covers of Carlisle hits…