Joel McIver

Joel McIver (born 10 February 1971) is a British author. The best-known of his books is the best-selling Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, first published in 2004 and appearing in nine languages since then. McIver's other works include biographies of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Thunder, Ice Cube and Queens Of The Stone Age. His writing appears in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian[1], the Daily Telegraph and Classic Rock, and he is an occasional guest on BBC and commercial radio and television.

Joel McIver
Joel McIver in 2013
Born (1971-02-10) 10 February 1971
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh


McIver has written 32 English-language books since 1999, with at least 75 more editions available in various other languages.[2] In the introduction to Neil Daniels' 2009 book All Pens Blazing, veteran writer Martin Popoff described McIver as "probably the top [rock] scribe in the world".[3] In a review in April 2012, Classic Rock magazine described him as "by some distance, Britain's most prolific hard rock/metal author".[4]

As well as writing his own books, McIver also co-writes the autobiographies of rock musicians. The first of these was the memoir of sometime Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes, published in 2011.[5] Other autobiographies written by McIver include those of Max Cavalera of Soulfly[6] and Megadeth bass player David Ellefson,[7] which include forewords by Dave Grohl and Alice Cooper respectively.

In April 2016 Pan Macmillan announced the publication later in the year of sometime David Bowie drummer Woody Woodmansey's autobiography, Spider From Mars: My Life With David Bowie, for which McIver is Woodmansey's co-writer. The book includes a foreword by Bowie's producer and friend Tony Visconti.[8]

Since 2012, McIver has been the editor of Bass Guitar magazine; and since 2018, also editor of Bass Player after the two publications merged.

McIver is an alumnus of Backwell School[9] and the University of Edinburgh.


As Editor of Bass Guitar (magazine), McIver received the 2018 Award of Excellence for Best Educational Project from the Players School of Music in Clearwater, Florida.

The same year, Sony's 35th-anniversary-edition reissue of The Alan Parsons Project's 1982 album Eye In The Sky, for which McIver wrote extensive liner notes, won its category at the annual Prog magazine awards.[10] Parsons, along with surround mastering engineers Dave Donnelly and PJ Olsson, won the Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album for the box set at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards[11].

Also in 2018, McIver co-hosted a podcast called Dead Rock Stars with fellow writer Mick Wall. In June that year, the Guardian named Dead Rock Stars their podcast of the week.[12]


As writer

  • Extreme Metal (foreword by Jeffrey Dunn of Venom, 2000)
  • Slipknot: Unmasked (2001)
  • Nu-Metal: The Next Generation Of Rock And Punk (foreword by Casey Chaos of Amen, 2002)
  • Ice Cube: Attitude (2002)
  • Erykah Badu: The First Lady Of Neo-Soul (2003)
  • Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica (foreword by Thomas Gabriel Fischer of Celtic Frost and Triptykon, 2004)
  • Extreme Metal II (foreword by Mille Petrozza of Kreator, 2005)
  • No One Knows: The Queens Of The Stone Age Story (foreword by Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland, 2005)
  • The Making Of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik (2005)
  • The Making Of The Sex Pistols' The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (2006)
  • Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (2006)
  • The Bloody Reign Of Slayer (foreword by the members of Municipal Waste, 2008)
  • The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists (foreword by Glen Benton of Deicide, 2009)
  • Unleashed: The Story Of Tool (2009)
  • To Live Is To Die: The Life And Death Of Metallica's Cliff Burton (foreword by Kirk Hammett of Metallica, 2009; updated with afterword by Frank Bello of Anthrax, 2016)
  • Holy Rock'N'Rollers: The Kings Of Leon Story (2010)
  • Crazy Train: The High Life And Tragic Death Of Randy Rhoads (foreword by Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society, afterword by Yngwie Malmsteen, 2011)
  • Overkill: The Untold Story Of Motorhead (foreword by Glenn Hughes, 2011)
  • Machine Head: Inside The Machine (foreword by Chris Kontos, formerly of Machine Head, 2012)
  • Ultimate Rock Riffs (foreword by Robb Flynn of Machine Head, 2013)
  • Know Your Enemy: Rage Against The Machine (2014)
  • Sinister Urge: The Life And Times Of Rob Zombie (foreword by Jeremy Wagner of Broken Hope, 2015)
  • The Complete History Of Black Sabbath: What Evil Lurks (foreword by Robb Flynn of Machine Head, 2016)

As official biographer or co-writer


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