A GWENT musician who lived through the “Swinging Sixties” has penned an autobiography detailing the highs and lows of his pop career.

Standing on the Sidelines follows the life and legacy of Llanbradach-born Roger J Simmonds, who now lives in Abergavenny. who set off to London as a teenager in 1958 to make it big, meeting many famous faces along the way.

As one of rock ‘n’ roll’s great nearly men, his journey dips into some of the most iconic and notorious events of the 1960s, from drinking with The Krays to playing the 2i's club in Soho.

73-year-old Mr Simmonds, who later toured with The Honeycombs, feels that now is the right time to tell his story.

He explained: “With the introduction of iTunes and Spotify things have changed in the industry and its becoming increasingly difficult for young performers to get a record contract.

“I’ve written my book for all those aspiring pop stars. Things can be difficult but also can be great if you persevere.”

As Roger’s career began to take off he spent time with some of the most influential performers in the music industry, including George Harrison, David Bowie, Brian Jones and latterly Shakin’ Stevens.

His strong working relationship with 1960s songwriter John Christian Dee, also brought Roger into contact with Janie Jones, the subject of a sex scandal that overshadows the BBC to this day.

While hiding in the cupboard to avoid wrongful arrests and brushes with 60s icons are commonplace in his story, the book also explores the darker side of show business.

When sleeping rough, hiding from police, suicidal thoughts and the occasional sex party became a a lifestyle, Roger became increasingly disillusioned with the industry.

He eventually moved back to his home in the valleys to focus on his family and wellbeing and currently lives in Abergavenny.

He added: “I decided to write my autobiography and was very lucky to be snapped up by the first publisher I approached. They were extremely interested in the years from 1958 – 1972.

“Throughout that period I have found myself living near Harley Street in the best part of London then falling to a slum in Somers Town.

“My career was difficult at times, but I never gave up, although I did come quite close on occasions.”

Standing on the Sidelines is released by Cardiff-based publisher Candy Jar Books and is available from candyjarbooks.co.uk, Amazon and can be ordered at most major booksellers.

For more information, contact shaun@candyjarbooks.co.uk