Exit Stage Left
Nick Duerden has spent many years interviewing the most famous musicians on the planet. Without exception, they are at their most interesting when they’ve peaked, and when they are on their way down. In many ways, this is when these former idols are at their most heroic, too, because they reveal themselves not only to be humane and sensitive, but also still driven to create, to fulfil their lingering dreams, to refuse to live quietly. Some sustain themselves on the nostalgia circuit. Others continue to beaver away in the studio, no longer Abbey Road so much as the garden shed. The desire for adulation is a light that never goes out. We live in a culture obsessed by the notion of fame – the heedless pursuit of it, the almost obligatory subsequent fallout. But what’s it like to actually achieve it, and what’s it like when fame abruptly passes, and shifts, as it does, onto someone else?
**INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE MONTH**
**GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE DAY**
**FINANCIAL TIMES ‘BEST SUMMER BOOKS 2022’ PICK**
‘Incredibly moving.’ – Guardian
‘Entertaining.’ – Telegraph
‘Most books about pop stars focus on the way we turn average human beings into demi-gods. In writing a book about how they have to turn back into humans Nick Duerden has done both us and them a service.’ – David Hepworth
‘Funny, poignant and often inspirational.’ – Mat Osman
The desire for adulation is a light that never goes out. We live in a culture obsessed by the notion of fame – the heedless pursuit of it; the almost obligatory subsequent fallout. But what’s it like to actually achieve it, and what happens when fame abruptly passes, and shifts, as it does, onto someone else?
This is the point at which pop stars are at their most heroic, because they don’t give up. They keep on striving, keep making music, and refuse simply to ebb away. Some sustain themselves on the nostalgia circuit, others continue to beaver away in the studio, no longer Abbey Road, perhaps, so much as the garden shed. But all of them, in their own individual ways, still dare to dream.
Exit Stage Left features tales of drug addiction, bankruptcy, depression and divorce, but also of optimism, a genuine love of the craft, humility and hope. This is a candid, laugh-out-loud and occasionally shocking look at what happens when the brightest stars fall back down to earth.
‘Exit Stage Left is the book I’ve long wanted to read about the PTSD-like after-effects of pop stardom – and Nick Duerden is the perfect writer for the job. The pop star’s bittersweet lot is represented with flair and empathy.’ – Pete Paphides, author of Broken Greek
‘Exit Stage Left is a funny and poignant book, drawing on Duerden’s considerable experience as a journalist and interviewer . . . he understands what motivates this strange bunch of people.’ – Andy Miller, Spectator
‘Fame is the brightest candle, but in this brilliant collection of interviews, Nick Duerden answers the question: what does a candle do after it’s burned out?’ – David Quantick
‘Duerden finds fascinating layers of humanity, pathos, humour and wisdom in equal measure. A brilliant book, for artists and fans alike.’ – Frank Turner
Featuring brand new interviews with the likes of: Bob Geldof, Shaun Ryder, Robbie Williams, Roisin Murphy, Stewart Copeland, Billy Bragg, Wendy James, Alex Kapranos, Joan Armatrading, Leo Sayer, Gary Lightbody, Lisa Maffia, Tim Booth, Bill Drummond, Rufus Wainwright, David Gray, and Justin Hawkins.