Signing On For The Devil: Sheffield Metal Capital of the 80s – Neil Anderson


Now, this is a book that came out of nowhere and turned out to be a real treasure due to the sheer amount of info that I wasn’t aware of; truth be told here I wouldn’t find almost anywhere else. Upon purchasing “Signing On For The Devil” I wanted to see what the author had in store for us regarding the early days of Def Leppard…at least that was my initial goal. Instead I thoroughly enjoyed Anderson’s colorful description of Sheffield’s nightlife (and not only) in the 80s and early 90s and at the same time I really liked his accurate narration of Leppard’s rise to stardom.

Neil Anderson is an exceptional author with a very immediate and “to the point” style of writing embracing the ever familiar, phlegmatic British humor. Basically, he is the ideal tour guide for Sheffield as he tracks a long gone but not forgotten era. So, what we get with this book is not only info about Leppard, Pete Gill and Bruce Dickinson (both born in Sheffield or at least a few miles outside of Sheffield) but mainly what went on during the heyday of the rock club era where music was the king, and the fans stormed the bars and venues. Most predominantly, we get to see and relive the glory of the legendary Wapentake bar and how Olga Marshall run the place with an Iron Fist!

Last but certainly not least, it would be a mishap if we didn’t mention Anderson’s separate chapter on the mighty Sheffield City Hall where almost every rock artist of the day played there at some point in time. “Signing On For The Devil” is a pleasant reading experience that for me personally came out of the blue and all credit should go to Neil Anderson who delivered a spectacular arsenal of information about this revolutionary period. Highly recommended!