Joel McIver is a best selling author, journalist, writer for numerous magazines and websites, AND a full time father, yet he managed to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us. Read on to find out about what's in the pipeline, how Joel spends his days and why you should be learning all about Proxima Centauri and our Solar System!
1. So Joel, describe who you are:
I’m a bestselling author, primarily on the subject of music and film. Google me and you’ll be shocked at how many magazines, websites and TV shows I’ve managed to weasel my way onto over the 12 years or so that I’ve been writing books.
2. What books have you written?
Twenty of ’em so far, not counting foreign language translations, of which there are another 30 or so. See Wikipedia or my website for details, but they mostly deal with hard rock and heavy metal. I’ve written about other genres of music too, but the loud stuff is the cornerstone.
3. Is there a particular book you've written which you're most proud of?
I wrote a biography of the late Metallica bass player Cliff Burton in 2009 which has come as close as I could manage to my objectives. Critics liked it unanimously (although that may be due to my good looks and natural, unaffected charm) and it’s sold in large quantities in several languages.
It came as close as any biography can to telling the truth about its subject. The book didn’t idolise Cliff, although he deserves nothing less: it represented him as he really was. That’s always the aim.
5. Other than your books, what else do you do to fill your days?
That made me laugh, as if I have long uninterrupted hours of leisure with nothing to do but smoke opium, compose the occasional sonnet and gaze over the rooftops from my elite penthouse suite. My day generally consists of trying to get 10 hours of work done in eight, or 12 in 10, or similarly futile activity according to that ratio. As well as writing a book or two a year, I write for half a dozen or so music magazines a month, compile albums and write liner notes for record companies and do print, online and radio press for my books. I also have kids and a reasonably debauched social life by middle-aged, middle-class standards, so there’s always plenty to do, believe me.
6. Have you got anything in the pipeline at the moment?
I have three books out at the moment: a biog of Randy Rhoads; a biog of Motorhead; and the autobiog of Deep Purple/Black Country Communion bassist Glenn Hughes, which I co-wrote. After that there are five books at various stages of completion. One is an update of one of my earlier biogs. Three more are the co-written autobiographies of three very famous heavy metal musicians. The fifth is the official autobiography of a well-known death metal band, which we’ll be starting next year. All these things are under wraps until the right time comes to announce them, grasshopper, so be patient innit.
7. What made you decide to work as a journalist/author?
I was a teacher for four years and, while I enjoyed it, I knew it wasn’t a long-term option, so in the absence of any better ideas I started doing some freelance writing. A portfolio gradually built up and then I got a job at Record Collector magazine, where I stayed for six years, until one of my books was a big enough hit for me to bugger off and become wholly self-employed and work from home, which was back in 2005. No complaints, it’s all worked out splendidly.
8. What style of music do you listen to?
Old and new extreme metal plus jazz, classical and the obvious big rock bands that everyone likes. Plus I’m getting into prog and folk in a big way, obviously, now I’m 40.
9. If you had to choose a band as a 'favourite', who would it be?
Slayer or JS Bach.
10. Say something profound which will make us all think.
Take some time to learn about the Earth’s local environment, from the sun out to say Proxima Centauri, and then familiarise yourself with a timeline of expected galactic events over the next few million years (Wikipedia is good for all this). It’ll give you a sense of perspective on the tiny place we currently occupy in space-time. I love stoner philosophy.
'Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica' will be being reviewed here very very soon so be sure to check it out. In the mean time, to find out more about the work Joel does and just how busy he really is, check out his website HERE.