Vicky Hamilton’s “Appetite For Dysfunction” is a guided tour into the realm of the steamy side of the rock scene in Hollywood during the 80s where an “anything goes” attitude ruled and the women that flocked to see bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, Guns N’ Roses and Faster Pussycat were required to be strippers if they were to move beyond being a “fan.”
Dubbed a cautionary tale, this first-hand account is by no means sugar coated nor is it a PG read. Be prepared to go for a quite a ride on the rock n’ roll highway to hell. It starts out a bit slow as Hamilton tells her readers about her early life in West Virginia and Fort Wayne, Indiana and then she hits you with her earliest rock n’ roll experience that sent her on a course that took her into the darkest realms of the strip scene in Hollywood, CA.
Hamilton lands in Hollywood with only a few dollars to her name and gets to work on her dream…work in the business of music. Sooner than later, Hamilton is den mother to some of the most famous bands of the 80s.
This path is not paved with riches and fame for Hamilton in the beginning and she had to sue to get what was due more than once, but the ride getting there is fraught with many interesting ins and outs.
There are some very funny and interesting anecdotes that are woven into the tapestry of Hamilton’s life as a den mother to some amazing talent. One of my favorite tales is about Motley Crue and witchcraft, which brought in some undesirable energy that made things move about their living quarters.
Once Hamilton arrives at the pinnacle of success and acknowledgement, she finds that sexism is alive and well and thriving in the A&R section of the music business. Hamilton tells it like it is and as only an insider can deliver it…raw.
One story that she talks about is how music mogul David Geffen got on her case about her reaction to being disrespected and how he minimized her act “Little Napoleon” by telling her that they should create a “Little Tour” with “Little America,” “Little Ceasar” and “Little Napoleon.” Jeez, David, could you have been any more insulting and sarcastic?
Interestly, Hamilton has had to reinvent herself more than once in order to stay relevant and on top of her game. She has also had to let go of several bad habits that were not serving her best interests. The habits include cocaine and smoking as well as trying to get her lavish spending habits under control so she could live on the $100,000 she was earning working for Geffen Records as a Street Level A&R representative.
Hamilton liked to throw lavish parties for her friends, crew and clients which contributed to her blowing through her earnings more. So when disaster struck there was no “nest egg” to fall back on.
It is important to note that one of her crowning achievements was creating a best selling-album with June Carter Cash. She won a Grammy for this effort and yet no one in the industry that she loved and worked for ever congratulated her for this work that took her into the realm of country music where she didn’t have a clue, but did know good music when she heard it.
Hamilton is a pioneer for sure when it comes to carving out a career for herself where she could scout talent and be able to get the talent a record deal. She delivered on that more than once.
This book is like a who’s who in the music business and you will recognize many of the players and what they are really like. In other words “Trust No One” as they say on the “X-Files.”
It’s sad to think that of all the bands that she has brought up through the ranks of super stardom there are only a few that have stayed close such as Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and vocalist Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat.
It doesn’t sound like Bret Michaels from Poison can be trusted and as a whole, Poison doesn’t fare well in the human being departement as well as in Hamilton’s book.
While it distresses me that Poison behaved so despicably toward Hamilton, I cannot say that I am surprised. I never thought that they were all that to begin with.
While reading Hamilton’s book, I really wished that I had known her as I would have helped her in the early days of her career. And I am so very sorry that she had to go through the vicissitudes that she did in order to make it and pave the way for other females to follow.
At the end of her book Hamilton asks for an AMEN which I am more than happy to provide. Hamilton survived the wild ride that she was allowed to take with her very famous clients.
Today, Hamilton has transcended the limits that were put upon her as an A&R representative for two major record labels and now has her own record company, Dark Spark Music, which manages acts and works on fund raising for her many music projects. She is also an author of several articles as well as her book.
Several of my friends have read the book and loved it. Each reader has arrived at a different part of the book and all say the same thing “WOW.” I’m thinking that perhaps I should form a book club so we can gather and discuss this what not to do primer.
Buy the book and see for yourselves why she is one of the most respected women in rock n’ roll by women as well as men. Read how the music business really is and how women are treated.
Read “Appetite For Dysfunction” and see what obstacles Hamilton has had to overcome in spite of her instincts for the next “Big” deal. Learn from her mistakes and don’t allow anyone to take you off your course.