Black Sabbath are one of the most outrageous yet longest-lived bands in the history of rock 'n' roll. This informative, idiosyncratic and beguiling book paints a vivid picture of their colourful early history - interwoven with all the most crucial news stories of the time- from Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and the space programme. Where Rat Salad diverges from routes taken by most rock biographies, however, is in its detailed analysis of the band's first six albums. These chapters - think Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head meets Spinal Tap - occupy about half the book and persuasively explain the appeal of the music, its compositional artistry and its frequently audacious inventiveness. Original and passionate, Rat Salad embraces a remarkably diverse cast of characters - from Ozzy Osbourne himself and the other members of the band through to Edith Sitwell, Breugel the Elder, John Milton and Doris Day. The author's hand looms large in the piece. We see him both as a boy and man - from schoolboy ingenue to inveterate devotee - as he looks back at a life populated with love, sex, drugs and death played out against a backdrop of crucifixes and power chords.
Paul Wilkinson was raised in the Peak District and graduated with a degree in Psychology in 1983. Since then, he has worked extensively in the arts and entertainment industry and currently manages an arts centre in east London, close to where he lives. He has played guitar and sung in a number of failed pop outfits- most notably, inept Beatles-copyists The Originals, and close-harmony, cabaret joke-band The Stallions of Love. He has been a fan of Black Sabbath for over thirty years. Rat Salad is his first book.