Home— London, England.
NME, feature writer, 1974-81.
McCartney, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.
Billy Bragg: Midnights in Moscow, Omnibus Press (London, England), 1989.
(Compiler, with Adrian Boot)Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Experience, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Adrian Boot)Punk: The Illustrated History of a Music Revolution, Boxtree (London, England), 1996.
Oliver Stone, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Firefly: Noël Coward in Jamaica; Original Photographs by Noël Coward and Others from the Archives of the Noël Coward Estate, Victor Gollancz (London, England), 1999.
(With Suzanne Fenn and Chris Browne)Third World Cop(screenplay) Palm Pictures, 1999.
Rude Boy: Once upon a Time in Jamaica, Gollancz (London, England), 2000.
Mick & Keith(screenplay), Orion (London, England), 2001.
(With Adrian Boot)Reggae Explosion: The Story of Jamaican Music, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2001.
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, Faber & Faber (New York, NY), 2007.
Also author of the screenplay D.O.A.,1980. Contributor to periodicals, including the Sunday Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Conde Nast Traveler, Q, Mojo, Face, and Time Out.
Chris Salewicz is a journalist whose writings have focused on documenting popular culture. He is also the author of numerous biographies, most of which have delved into the lives of rock & roll greats. Salewicz collaborated with Adrian Boot on several works, including Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom, a biography of the iconic reggae star. Eric Levin commented in People: "Visually it's a definitive volume for collectors, including color reproductions of early Marley record labels, family snaps, posters, performance shots and more."
Salewicz and Boot also collaborated on Punk: The Illustrated History of a Music Revolution, which includes more than 200 period photos taken by Boot. Focusing primarily on the British punk scene, the book includes an in-depth look at bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. "This punk tome is more evocative than most," wrote Gordon Flagg in Booklist.Library Journal contributor Bill Piekarski felt that the authors "accurately chronicle the movement, commendably attending to such important but neglected artists as Nick Lowe."
Reggae Explosion: The Story of Jamaican Music, another Salewicz-Boot collaboration, was called "an engrossing account of the history and cultural impact of Jamaica's most popular musical export" by Chicago Tribune contributor Lynn Van Matre. The authors trace the evolution of reggae music, beginning in the 1950s as various forms of music eventually evolved into the reggae style of the 1960s and 1970s. They also delve into the music's relationship with poverty, politics, Jamaica's struggle for independence, and the Rastafarian religion. In addition to question-and-answer interviews, the book includes 400 photographs, both vintage and contemporary.
As the author of Rude Boy: Once upon a Time in Jamaica, Salewicz focuses on Jamaican reggae music and musicians. A big fan of reggae, Salewicz provides a context for reggae music by including a history of Jamaica and its culture as he portrays the lives of various reggae stars and other people in Jamaica. He also provides some reminiscences of his own as a reggae fan who has spent considerable time in Jamaica. "There is a good feel to the autobiographical bits in the book," wrote a contributor to the Uncarved Web site. Zenga Longmore stated in the Spectator: " Rude Boy reads very like a love letter in the style of Oscar Wilde's De Profundis, an ardent outpouring made up of equal dollops of passion and recrimination."
In his 2007 book,Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, the author writes of the former front man for the punk band The Clash. Strummer, who died in 2002, was "the cool outlaw rock icon, whose impassioned politicized lyrics, humour and confrontational stance as The Clash front man projected him to dizzying heights of fame," according to by Paul Hawkins in Blogcritics. Salewicz, who was Strummer's close friend, told Hawkins in an interview on the Web site: "The day after Joe's funeral, on December 30, 2002, I sat down to write all my thoughts and impressions of what had just occurred. I finished two weeks later, with exactly fifty pages written. Speaking to my agent, I mentioned what I had been doing. He asked to see it. Then he came back to me and said, ‘Do you realize you've just written the first chapter of a book?’ By that time I sort of did, and we went from there."
Drawing on countless interviews with Strummer's friends and colleagues, the author does not focus on the sordid scandals and drug use that is often associated with biographies of rock stars. Instead, he examines Strummer's young life, which began as Johnny Mellor, and his career. As expected, the author pays particular attention to Strummer's role in The Clash, a highly political band whose song lyrics, which Strummer wrote, often focused on the political issues of the day. Nevertheless, Salewicz does not shy away from depicting Strummer's human weaknesses. Referring to Redemption Song as an "epic, meticulously researched 600-page biography," Esquire contributor Zac Crain observed that the author "also reports plainly on his mood swings, infidelity, and basic irresponsibility." Writing in Mother Jones, Ben Gill predicted: "Both scholars of punk history and casual fans should enjoy this surprisingly frank and entertaining biography."
In an interview with Peter "Tab" Walker for AnneCarlini.com, Salewicz provided his thoughts about why Strummer became such a noted personality who was held in wide renown even after The Clash's demise: "Longevity, a phenomenal body of work, a way with a nifty phrase in interviews, extraordinary, possessed, stage performances, and an essentially accessible and quite palpable humanity," listed the author. "But above all, Joe had the biggest heart in punk and his—and The Clash's—energy can still be felt globally. It's ironic, of course, that it was Joe's heart that let him down in the end."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Austin Chronicle, June 1, 2007, Dan Oko, "Rock & Role Books," review of Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer.
Booklist, December 1, 1996, Gordon Flagg, review of Punk: The Illustrated History of a Music Revolution, p. 636; April 15, 2007, Benjamin Segedin, review of Redemption Song, p. 15.
Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of Redemption Song, p. 34.
Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2001, Lynn Van Matre, review of Reggae Explosion: The Story of Jamaican Music.
Entertainment Weekly, June 15, 2001, review of Reggae Explosion, p. 82.
Esquire, June, 2007, Zac Crain, "Meet Joe Strummer … the Most Important Man in the History of Rock," review of Redemption Song, p. 40.
Guardian(London, England), December 9, 2006, Nicholas Wroe, "Hits and Myths," review of Redemption Song.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of Redemption Song.
Library Journal, April 1, 1986, review of McCartney, p. 152; February 1, 1997, Bill Piekarski, review of Punk, p. 79; April 1, 2007, Heather McCormack, review of Redemption Song, p. 95.
Mother Jones, May-June, 2007, Ben Gill, review of Redemption Song, p. 85.
Music Box, August, 2007, Douglas Heselgrave, review of Redemption Song.
New York Times Book Review, June 3, 2007, Robert Christgau, "Combat Rocker," review of Redemption Song, p. 47.
Observer(London, England), September 17, 2006, Sean O'Hagan "Anything but an Ordinary Joe," review of Redemption Song.
People, March 6, 1995, Eric Levin, review of Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, February 28, 1986, review of McCartney, p. 113; November 28, 1986, review of McCartney, p. 70; March 5, 2007, review of Redemption Song, p. 52.
Seattle Weekly, Hannah Levin, June 6, 2007, review of Redemption Song.
Sight and Sound, November, 1999, review of George Lucas: The Making of His Movies, p. 33.
Spectator, January 22, 2000, Selina Hastings, review of Firefly: Noël Coward in Jamaica; Original Photographs by Noël Coward and Others from the Archives of the Noël Coward Estate, p. 3; February 10, 2001, Zenga Longmore, review of Rude Boy: Once upon a Time in Jamaica, p. 35.
Times Literary Supplement, April 20, 2007, Mark Kidel, "A Wound to the Heart," review of Redemption Song, p. 18.
Tribune Books(Chicago, IL), June 24, 2001, review of Reggae Explosion, p. 5.
Variety, January 10, 2000, Joe Leydon, "Third World Cop," p. 113.
AnneCarlini.com,http://www.annecarlini.com/ (November 6, 2007), Peter "Tab" Walker, "Chris Salewicz (‘Redemption Song: Joe Strummer’)."
Blogcritics,http://blogcritics.org/ (June 29, 2007), Paul Hawkins, "Interview with Chris Salewicz, Author of Redemption Song: A Biography of Joe Strummer. "
Brink,http://www.brink.com/ (November 6, 2007), Paul Hawkins, " Redemption Song —Salewicz on Strummer."
Chris Salewicz Home Page,http://www.chrissalewicz.com (November 6, 2007).
Generalist,http://www.thegeneralist.co.uk/ (October 16, 2006), "Chris Salewicz Interview."
Harp Magazine,http://harpmagazine.com/ (November 6, 2007), Jeff Tamarkin, review of Redemption Song.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (November 6, 2007), information on Chris Salewicz's film work.
Uncarved,http://uncarved.org/ (June 22, 2001), review of Rude Boy.