Jimmy McDonough is a biographer and journalist. He is perhaps best known for his biographies of Russ Meyer, Andy Milligan and Neil Young. He is noted by critics for his remarkably exhaustive accounts and for his tendency to avoid romanticizing his subjects' lives. For this reason, he was described by The Times as "a literary Terminator". Time's Richard Corliss declared his first published work The Ghastly One "a masterpiece" and John Waters has repeatedly named it one of his favorite books(this was actually McDonough's second effort; the first, Shakey: The Biography of Neil Young, had been held up by a lawsuit over the claim that Young had tried to prevent publication). Other reviewers decry the inclusion of his personal experience/reactions often found in his books as a sort of biographical treason. In addition to the aforementioned biographies, McDonough has authored profiles on Jimmy Scott, Gary Stewart, Hubert Selby, Jr., the Ormond family and Link Wray, and over the span of his career he has written for a number of publications including: The Village Voice, Film Comment, and Variety.
In 2010 McDonough's biography of Tammy Wynette was published and the book was optioned by director David O. Russell, who had also optioned the author's Russ Meyer biography, but neither movie ever materialized. McDonough assisted musician John Fogerty with his 2015 autobiography Fortunate Son and that same year the director Nicolas Winding Refn published a book of exploitation movie posters largely based on McDonough's collection. Soul Survivor, the author's biography of singer Al Green, was published August 29, 2017. This book appears to be just as contentious as his previous works, with one early reviewer declaring that "McDonough presents himself as someone who, like Green, simply does not give a f**k about what others think."
In 2017 McDonough (along with his cat Buster) became an animated character in the two-part episode on George Jones and Tammy Wynette for Mike Judge's Tales From the Tour Bus. He also edited "Regional Renegades," the first volume for Nicolas Winding Refn's byNWR.com site, which went live in the summer of 2018. McDonough contributed articles on Texas honky-tonk singer Frankie Miller, Wayne Cochran, and the women in Texas exploitation director Dale Berry's films. He is managing editor for the site.
McDonough currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where he divides his time between writing and 3D photography (his hobby). He is somewhat enigmatic about himself, as revealed in a rare 2011 (internet conducted) interview with Jonathan Penner.
- McDonough, Jimmy (2002). Shakey: Neil Young's biography. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-42772-8. OCLC 47844513. For an uncompromising online review of the Young biography by Slate magazine, see Weingarten, Marc (2002-05-24). "Bio Warfare". Slate. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- "Shakey: Neil Young's Biography". Anchor Books. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- Corliss, Richard (30 November 2001). "That Old Feeling: Milligan's Island". Retrieved 6 July 2018 – via content.time.com.
- "My 10 Favorite Books: John Waters". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- "Neil Young Sued By Bio Author". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- McDonough, Jimmy. "LITTLE JUNIOR, KING OF THE HONKY-TONKS The life and death of Gary Stewart". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Great Balls Of Fire" (PDF). FilmNashville Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 16, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- "Perfect Sound Forever: Link Wray tribute". www.furious.com. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- Maslin, Janet (March 3, 2010). "Book Review - 'Tammy Wynette - Tragic Country Queen,' by Jimmy McDonough". NYT. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Jr, Mike Fleming (18 March 2011). "Fox Searchlight Negotiating Deal For David O. Russell To Direct Russ Meyer Story". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- "DRIVE Director Nicolas Winding Refn on His New Exploitation Movie Poster Book THE ACT OF SEEING - Nerdist". 24 September 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- results, search (29 August 2017). "Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green". Da Capo Press. Retrieved 6 July 2018 – via Amazon.
- "Soul Survivor: by Jimmy McDonough". Spectrum Culture. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- Penner, Jonathan (June 24, 2011). "Ball of Fire: An Interview with Jimmy McDonough". Los Angeles Review of Books.