Rebellion has played a factor in many a musicians life, whether through their lyrics, or the often hard lifestyle that comes with the territory of being on the road, and being surrounded by fame and fortune. Some are more known than others for their debauchery. Below are two great reads on the rebellious country singing legend Johnny Cash, and the punk purveyor, Shane MacGowan. Although the music is distantly different, the stories are quite similar.

Interviews and Encounters with Johnny Cash

Cash on Cash offers unprecedented insight into one of the most significant American cultural figures of the twentieth century. As an interviewee, Cash was an exemplary communicator to an astonishingly broad spectrum of people: always open and articulate, part friend, part spiritual authority, part flawed hero. Throughout a decades-long career, as Cash took risks, embracing new technologies, formats, and attitudes, he cleaved to a simple, core message of unvarnished truth.

A comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash interviews and feature stories, some widely published and others never previously transcribed, culled from the 1950s through the early days of the new millennium, Cash on Cash charts a singular evolution. From hardscrabble Arkansas poor boy to rockabilly roustabout; international fame to drug addiction and disgrace; born again Christian to gimlet-eyed chronicler of spiritual darkness; TV and movie star to Nashville reject; redemption to loss and back again, several times.

Cash’s story, told in his own words, shines unfiltered light on a journey of archetypal proportions that resonates still.

Available from IPG

Robert Burke Warren is a published novelist, musician, educator, and journalist based in the Catskill Mountains of New York. His music writing has been published in VulturePasteSalon, the Woodstock TimesLongreads, the Rumpus, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s publications, and the 2006 Da Capo Press anthology The Show I’ll Never Forget.

A Furious Devotion – The Life of Shane MacGowan

While the story of The Pogues has been well-documented, the complete and extraordinary journey of their notorious frontman from outcast to national treasure, has never been told—until now

Punk protagonist, legendary drinker, Irish musical icon. The complete and extraordinary journey of the Pogues’ notorious frontman from outcast to national treasure has never been told – until now. A Furious Devotion: The Life of Shane MacGowan vividly recounts the experiences that shaped the greatest songwriter of his generation: the formative trips to his mother’s homestead in Tipperary, the explosion of punk which changed his life, and the drink and drugs that nearly ended it. As well as exclusive interviews with Shane himself, author Richard Balls has secured contributions from his wife and family, and people who have never spoken publicly about Shane before: close associates, former girlfriends and the English teacher who first spotted his literary gift. Nick Cave, Aidan Gillen, Cillian Murphy, Christy Moore, Sinead O’Connor and Dermot O’Leary are on the rollcall of those paying tribute to the gifted songwriter and poet. This frank and extensive biography also includes many previously unseen personal photographs.

Available from IPG

Richard Balls is a writer and journalist. He has previously published Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury and Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.