I’m so pleased to be able to let you all know that this beautiful book is now available to pre-order from the PS Publishing website, featuring my story “Siren Song”.
No More Heroes is a fiction anthology inspired by the musical heroes we lost too soon in recent years, and my story is about the exceptionally talented Chris Cornell. One of the most prominent artists that emerged from the rock scene in Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s, Cornell found fame as the captivating frontman of bands such as Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog. A long time sufferer of depression, he took his own life a few years ago, leaving family, friends, colleagues, and fans bereft.
I had always asserted that Cornell had one of the best voices in rock, but as I researched his life for this story, I found myself casting some of my long-held beliefs and assumptions about the man aside. He had an extremely strong creative ethos and seemed to be something of a lynchpin and inspiration to other songwriters and artists around him. This, despite coming from a dysfunctional family background. What he managed to achieve in his too short life was just amazing.
I found I could not write the story without writing something about his relationship with Andrew Wood, his close friend and sometime housemate, who was the charismatic yet introverted singer of Mother Love Bone. Wood turned to drugs to cope with being a performer, and died of a heroin overdose in 1990. His death deeply affected the musical community in Seattle, and there was an outpouring of creativity in response, including the Temple of the Dog collaboration for which both Cornell and Eddie Vedder sang.
I found myself plunged into the Seattle scene and rediscovered the records afresh during the writing process, and the result is an urban fairy tale featuring seagulls and sea monsters, flavoured with the grit of the city.
It was a few years ago that I wrote this, and I can’t wait to see it out in the world. Not just for my story; there are some amazing authors who have written for this anthology. One writer of note is of course Storm Constantine, whose story “So long, Marianne” is inspired by Leonard Cohen. We lost Storm in January. She was such an important influence in my life, not only because I was a huge fan of her luscious writing, but she invited me to edit for her publishing company, Immanion Press, and to work with Jamie Spracklen on the magazine she started, Visionary Tongue. So she opened up this wonderful literary world for me, that I had hitherto merely spied through a keyhole. She will be very sorely missed.
Here is the ToC.
- Introduction by Ian Whates
- Session Man – Keith Brooke [Amy Winehouse]
- So We Beat On – Ren Warom [Freddie Mercury]
- Renegade – Tim Lebbon [Phil Lynott]
- So Long, Marianne – Storm Constantine [Leonard Cohen]
- Let’s Dance – Alison Littlewood [David Bowie]
- The Birth Of Liquid Plejades – Stephen Palmer [Edgar Froese]
- Motorhead on the Orient Express – Gavin G. Smith [Lemmy Kilminster]
- Naught’s Reckoning – Maura McHugh [Dolores O’Riordan]
- Tyranny Unleashed, Doctrines Overthrown, The Mirror Shattered – Michael Cobley [Allen Lanier, Sandy Pearlman]
- The Odessa File – Allen Ashley [Robin Gibb]
- A Stranger Shade – Vaughan Stanger [Steve Strange]
- The Sound of Smoke – Neil Williamson [Jon Lord]
- Ninety-Seven-Point-Six – Jaine Fenn [Glenn Frey]
- Parfitt: Knight – Adam Roberts [Rick Parfitt]
- The Great Gig in the Sky – Una McCormack [Dave Swarbrick]
- Fanning the Flames – Martin Sketchley [Pete Burns]
- The Day The World Turned – Andrew Hook [Poly Styrene]
- Thieves in the Temple – Bryony Pearce [Prince]
- Onward – Ian Whates [Chris Squire]
- Siren’s Song – Donna Scott [Chris Cornell]
It’s available from PS here. Hardcover £25 and limited signed edition £35.