Rock God Memories of Ledbury Writer.

INTERNATIONAL ROCK CRITIC: Mark Beech, of Ledbury.

INTERNATIONAL ROCK CRITIC: Mark Beech, of Ledbury.

First published in News

IF you've drunk whisky with Keith Richards and upset Madonna's PR men, you must be Mark Beech, of Donnington.

Mr Beech, aged 53, is often hailed as the "the world's most followed rock critic", and now his life among rock and pop's superstars has led to a book, "All You Need Is Rock, A Decade Of Music Writing".

Mr Beech, who grew up in Evesham and moved to Donnington, near Ledbury, twelve years ago, is Bloomberg's rock critic.

As such, his work is "syndicated to 500 newspapers from Miami to Mumbai", and he has gained access to stars including Sting, Brian Eno, Bono and Amy Winehouse.

His one regret is never having met John Lennon; but he has enjoyed a four hour drinking session with Keith Richards in a London hotel bar, when Mr Beech encouraged the Rolling Stone to move on from Bourbon to single malts, for a change.

Mr Beech's shorthand, on that occasion, became increasingly wobbly, perhaps understandably, and that particular interview is not in the book. But an occasion when Amy Winehouse served him a triple gin in a London pub is on record.

And Mr Beech will go on record to say that many rock gods and goddesses are surprisingly friendly before

a note book or tape recorder.

He said: "A lot of people get bad press, like Sting or Bono. But I've met them and both were nice guys. They might have the reputation of being arrogant and difficult, but that's not my experience at all.

"You have fun interviews, such as with Lemmy of Motorhead. I met him in a Birmingham hotel bar, and he was a sweet guy."

Afterwards, at a concert, the visually-intimidating Lemmy dedicated a rendition of "Ace of Spades" to the rock critic, and Mr Beech is still wondering what that might have meant, exactly.

Other interviews did not go so smoothly.

When he asked Morrissey if he liked performing live, the former frontman of the Smiths walked out of the interview, saying he was "not a performing seal".

Mr Beech has not always been complimentary to Madonna, and at times he has suffered the wrath of her PR department.

He has never met Madonna face to face, except in press conferences, and he added: "I don't know if I want to".

This is mainly down to the clauses interviewers must sign, before meeting the pop diva.

Mr Beech has another book in the pipeline and will carrying on listening to the 1000 CDs he gets each year, to review.

He tries to listen to three CDs a day and, when one takes his fancy, he'll listen to it three times, before starting to write.

"All You Need Is Rock", published by Thistle, is available on Amazon (from July 31), as both a Kindle and a printed version.

Copies are already available now from Ledbury Books and Maps, in the High Street.

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