The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band

Don’t read this book. Seriously.

I thought it was going to be a fun and nostalgic a rock and roll romp. I liked their music back in high school. But these guys are emphatically *not* delightful. They’re misogynists, bigots, and dirty in every way possible. Early in the book, they describe a bathroom that regularly had no toilet paper and was thus consistently covered in urine and shit. Like their souls, apparently. It’s like 12-year-old boys with the emotional maturity of 8-year-olds have been let loose in LA. And they’re not even original. They’re Van Halen and Ozzy wanna-bes. While the dedication reads ‘to their wives and children in the hope that they may forgive us for what we’ve done,’ the book reads like they still believe all of it makes them cool instead of sad.[1] The fights, the objectification of women (always described in nauseating detail), the pettiness were all bad enough. What put Torey and I over the edge was the story of a guy they didn’t even know. Without getting too specific, I’ll just say they gave him a body piercing by force. And, in their defense I guess, it wasn’t something that would endanger life or limb but had to have been incredibly painful and likely disfiguring as well. And they just left him to figure things out on his own. All to say, we made it to about page seventy-two of a four hundred plus page book before we called it. This book is not worth finishing. So we didn’t.

What it did highlight for me is was why it was so damn hard to know how to be a girl becoming a woman in the 80s. I saw the connection between hair bands like Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Whitesnake (ew!), etc. with True Love waits and the purity culture of the churches I grew up in. They couldn’t have been more different on the surface but the bad boys of rock’n’roll and polyester suit wearing pastors agreed that women were good for looking like swimsuit models, feeding their egos, and sex. Other than that, women were either a distraction or simply beside the point. Women interested in careers were ‘ball busters’ and those who were smart were probably ugly and therefore to be ignored or mocked. But, if they happened to be hot, it might be a turn-on (as long as they didn’t talk too much).[2] Here’s an essay that captures the times well. All to say, the 80s didn’t corner the market on misogyny but the space between second and third wave feminism was rough, kids. And also, save your brain space and don’t read this book.



[1] And it doesn’t seem like they’ve done much growing…this story came out just a few weeks ago:

[2] See Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” video for a typical example.