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Fried and Justified Reviews

Fried and Justified by Mick Houghton

Fried & Justified

Hits, Myths, Break-Ups and Breakdowns in the Record Business 1978-98

Mick Houghton

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 4 Jul 2019
ISBN: 9780571336821

The list of bands and artists Mick Houghton worked with in an illustrious career in the music business reads like a Who's Who of some of the greatest, most influential and downright dysfunctional cult groups of the post-punk era and beyond - Ramones, Talking Heads, The Undertones, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Felt, Sonic Youth, The Wedding Present, Spiritualized and Elastica among them.

4 stars out of 5
2 Aug 2019

"An entertaining memoir recalls 20 heady years at the centre of the British music business"

There is no sensationalism here, though, nor kiss and tell. Houghton was always discreet. Drug use is dealt with as a matter of fact, tortured genius viewed through the eyes of a friend and confidant. Instead of eye-popping revelations, there are portraits of the artists and glimpses into the mechanisms of pop mythologising — especially intriguing in the sections on KLF, who in five years went from a one-off 12-inch single to burning a million pounds as an art event.


4 stars out of 5
Barbara Ellen
1 Jul 2019

"...takes the reader on a wild rock’n’roll fairground ride of the damned, where you’re simply not allowed to get off"

As signalled by the subtitle’s reference to the “record business”, Fried and Justified focuses on old-school music industry mores, with chapters unfolding in chunks of time. As a publicist, Houghton found himself uniquely placed as both an insider and outsider, watching acts morph from bright young things to industry deities to burn-outs and back to being creative again. Such trajectories involved brilliance, stupidity, ambition, dysfunction, madness, love, hate, sex, alcohol, drugs, bust-ups – and gigantic egos... Ultimately, Fried and Justified takes the reader on a wild rock’n’roll fairground ride of the damned, where you’re simply not allowed to get off. Towards the end, Houghton writes of Drummond, the Bunnymen and Cope: “There’s something deep inside them that binds them by an invisible thread, a consequence of the circumstances that aligned in Liverpool to bring them together.” By the end of Fried and Justified, it’s clear that it binds him too.