Lou Gramm hit the heights with Foreigner, but as his book reveals, it’s not always easy at the top. Gramm’s quite open about the increasing conflicts he had with fellow founding band member Mick Jones over the years, which ultimately led to his leaving the band (coupled with an ill-advised return to live performance after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor).

The road to fame was a climb as well. Gramm details how he hoped his previous band, Black Sheep, would find success, only for their gear to be stolen right as they were heading out as opening act for Kiss. The band broke up as a result, which led to Gramm’s joining Foreigner, leaving you to wonder; if that theft hadn’t occurred, would Black Sheep have still tried to grab the brass ring, thus depriving Foreigner of their future lead singer? Ah, the twists of fate.

Gramm relates his story in a straightforward, unadorned fashion. He doesn’t avoid areas of controversy, but doesn’t dwell on them either. Fans would probably like some more detail on how songs were written, and it’s when Gramm opens up that the book becomes most interesting; the indignity of watching a faux Foreigner performing live without a single original member, for example, or discussing Foreigner’s exclusion (so far) from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (amusingly, he says he heard that Jones lost his temper while discussing the issue with those in charge of nominations, earning a rebuke from one official who told him that as a result “it would be a cold day in hell before Foreigner gets in”).

It’s also something of a wistful look back at a time when radio DJs really could make or break your career because they had the power to choose what they play, and before the “double-edged sword” of MTV appeared (leaving groups that played good music but didn’t have a visual image to match it behind). Foreigner’s mainstream sound has often been maligned by critics, so it’s fitting that Gramm finally has the chance to share his side of the story.