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Publisher's Summary

I was 29 years old, living in my parents’ basement and working at my father’s stereo shop. That’s when the phone rang.... A week later I was suddenly the lead singer of a famous hard rock band, touring America and preparing to cut an album for a major label. 

Aerosmith’s Joe Perry needed a new singer for his Joe Perry Project and I got drafted. For me it was like winning the lottery. Much better though, because lotteries only pay cash. For the next two years I would be experiencing things in life that money just can’t buy. Living on the road with the swaggering rock star, playing adventurous, unbridled hard rock at famed venues to big crowds. Singing and signing autographs, finding romance, and partying with my idols. Just like that, I was on top but...since quitting Aerosmith, Joe Perry was bottoming out. Health failing, marriage falling apart, and deeply in debt. 

In order to stay one foot ahead of the tallyman, Joe jumped into a van and hit the road, taking me and a few other newbies along on a mad dash across the USA and beyond. Taking any gig he could get.

On the road with The Joe Perry Project in the big '80s. The untold story is unveiled in amazing detail. Captivating, riotously funny, frighteningly frank, exhilarating, and at times deeply moving.

The audiobook includes everything from the original “diary” plus bonus untold stories and a whole new final chapter.

With added commentary from radio personality and author Carter Alan.

And surprise visits from Joe Perry Project members Danny Hargrove and Charlie Farren.

©2019 Mark N Bell (P)2020 Mark N Bell

What listeners say about Once A Rocker Always a Rocker: A Diary

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Incredible Book!

You know, going into this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I was originally not a huge fan of Once a Rocker as an album because I was such a fan of Ralph and Charlie’s work. It took me a lot longer to get into as it was so different from the first 2 project records. Moreover, I still read this book with high expectations from what I had heard from other project fans, and I was not disappointed. This book puts you right in each scene with the Project. Earthquake does a great job setting up each scene and Cowboy does an amazing job narrating. His voice is nowhere near boring and it was so nice listening to the audiobook having already read the book once. Hearing Cowboy’s voice brought new life to the book and it has made the reading experience a lot better considering that I’m a pretty slow reader as it is. Because of this book, I found a whole new respect for Once a Rocker as an album and it is now easily my favorite of the 3 project records. I couldn’t put this book down and now I can’t stop listening to Once a Rocker. I highly recommend any Project fan, Aerosmith fan, Joe Perry fan, or rock and roll fan in general to read this book. It is absolutely worth your time.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely fantastic! Bravo Cowboy Mach Bell!

Incredible access to what it was like to join a rock band in the early 80's, with one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Cowboy Mach brings us from start to finish with lots more on either side and in between. But it doesn't stop there with very cool insight from special guests who were there during those times. You don't get this from most books. I couldn't wait to start up my listening each day I could commit the time. Brilliant, self deprecating, honest and unfiltered. Lots of information on the band and the New England/U.S./ Canada rock scene that I wasn't aware of. NEVER boring. Can't recommend enough.

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Cowboy

Wonderful read. Look, I know Mach from sharing a studio and playing a few shows together, but I had no idea how much of the story I missed out on. Bonified rocker, yes,but even better story teller! Loved every minute, thank for keeping the journal Mach!

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A great story and a great book!

I really enjoyed this book! Mach was a great narrator who told his story with enthusiasm. Without a doubt the most detailed look into the lives of rock musicians that I have ever heard. and what a ride it must have been... I highly recommend you give this a listen

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One of the best rock bios out there!

Like the "This is Anvil" movie, you don't have to be a fan of Mach Bell, Joe Perry Project, or Aerosmith to dig this . . . though I'm a huge fan of all three! This bio isn't a tell-all but it gives a completely unique,heartfelt insight into the life of a touring hard rock band trying to take it to the next level. For Joe Perry fans who thought that they knew the whole story, you will learn a lot that isn't anywhere else but here. Interesting that the book ends at Joe's 50th birthday party, just hours before the attacks of 9/11/2001 were launched from nearby Logan Airport, but makes no mention of the latter. This was a good choice though. in any case, this audiobook is well worth your time and your hard earned dollars. highly recommended!

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Better than reading!

It's a rare thing for an audiobook to be better than reading the actual book but this one is! Mach's reading (and occasional singing) is engaging and animated. I lived with a popular rock band in Boston during the mid-70's and this book brought back so many memories of that time. An unvarnished look at life on the road, playing at dingy clubs like the Rat and the ups and downs of being a musician. A must listen for any rock and roll fan.

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I hate reviewing things

i like this book, get over it. extra words. more extra words. even more extra words.

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New Reverence For The Cowboy Mach Bell Era

I was in deep for the Joe Perry Project. Ralph Morman wowed me, Charlie Farren I fell in love with, and then came Cowboy. Who was this guy, why was his hair way too curly and blonde, and why didn’t he sing like the others? I was *not* on board. Yet, I bought the record and went to the show. After a while I moved on, thinking, “not into it.” After decades of poo-pooing the Cowboy era, I hear about this book. Regardless of how I felt about that third album line up, I had to check it out. Cowboy revealed himself as a good, hard working dude, and like-able in every way. As I listened, I began to revisit the Once A Rocker album. For thinking I wasn’t into it, I sure as hell remembered every song, so I must have listened to it a hell of a lot for not being “into it.” In fact, the joy brought on by Cowboy’s incredible stories and the soundtrack to them, at times, moved me to tears. There have been a few audio versions of rock bios lately, but this one might be the best. Any music geek fan of the JPP needs to listen to this, and then buy the hard copy, ‘cause you’re gonna wanna give the Cowboy something back for his efforts. And oh. The Joe Perry impersonations are riotous.

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Brilliant

The best. Wish it didn’t end.
I have nothing else to compare to. This is the only audio book I’ve heard.

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Really enjoyed this

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book especially the perspective in which it’s written. Fun performance as well . As a result of this I have gone and discovered the JPP catalog in the process . Looking forward to another listen this week

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  • Frank D
  • 09-26-20

A must for Aerosmith and Joe Perry fans!

An audiobook that brings a great story to life. It tells the story of the 2 years before Joe Perry rejoined Aerosmith in 1984, by the Joe Perry Project singer Cowboy Mach Bell.

It tells of the highs and lows of playing live, writing with and recording an album with Joe 'Effin' Perry.

Where it goes above and beyond the regular book is the way it's voiced in multiple characters AND that there's a few extra hours of bonus content including a new final chapter and reminisces from JPP members Charlie Farren and Danny Hargrove.