Book Review: “From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars” by Virginia Hanlon Grohl

“From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars”
Author: Virginia Hanlon Grohl
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 204 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When Virginia Hanlon Grohl first saw her son perform in front of thousands of screaming fans she knew that rock stardom was meant to be for her son. And as Virginia watched her son’s star rise, she often wondered about the other mothers who raised sons and daughters who became rock stars. Were they as surprised as she was about their children’s fame? Did they worry about their children’s livelihood and wellbeing in an industry fraught with drugs and other dangers? Did they encourage their children’s passions despite the odds against success, or attempt to dissuade them from their grandiose dreams? Do they remind their kids to pack a warm coat when they go on tour?

All those answers and more are contained in “From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars”. Over the course of the books 204 pages you get a unique behind the scenes look like never before. However not from the stars themselves but from their mothers! Yes that’s right their mothers. Along with author Hanlon Grohl own story of motherhood we hear from other moms including Verna Griffin (Dr. Dre), Janis Winehouse (Amy Winehouse), Hester Diamond (Mike D of the Beastie Boys) and Bettye Moses and Harriette Brown (mother & step mother of Zac Brown) as they recount the years before, during and after their sons and daughters became house hold names. I don’t recall a book like this ever being released which adds to the appeal because who is better to ask about those earlier childhood years than one’s own mom.

The candid firsthand accounts are what really kept me turning page after page. “From Cradle to Stage” is a fun, fast read unlike any biography I have come across before. While the book does a great job showcasing several mothers’ journeys its underlying story about the bond between parents and children is its greatest attribute. Not only is this a great read for parents but also for anyone looking for a different look at some of music’s biggest artists and the moms who impacted their lives.

Book Review “Nella the Princess Knight” by Christine Ricci

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Nella the Princess Knight” is the latest new animated preschool series to come out of Nick Jr. This show quickly became one of my 5 year old’s favorite series. The show is cheesy and drives me nuts personally but my girl loves it and that is all that matters to me. This is the first book in the “Nella the Princess Knight” series and tells the story of “Nella’s Unicorn Rescue”. Since receiving this book, it has become a staple for my daughter at bedtime. If your kids has discovered this show I would recommend the book for sure…and if you haven’t discovered the show my daughter would highly recommend it.

Keeping it with the family, the story is written by Christine Ricci, which is a curriculum consultant on Nick Jr. shows like “Blaze and the Monster Machines” and “Team Umizoomi”. The show is cute and works well for kids because it focuses on relationship development and positive messaging for preschoolers and promotes them to be courageous. That is a message that I want my daughter to have as she is soaking up everything around her and growing up. I look forward to future books from Random House Books for Young Readers and I hope they continue this series for “Nella the Princess Knight” for a while!

Book Review: “Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol”

“Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol”
Author: Steve Jones
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 308 pages

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol” recounts the life and times of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Through the nihilistic songs, amphetamine-fueled music, and influential fashion that turned a one-time street urchin into a founding member of a genre-defining band “Lonely Boy” offers a truly in-depth portrait of one of punk’s founding fathers.

For anyone with even the smallest bit of knowledge related to Steve Jones and his band The Sex Pistols I don’t have to tell you what to expect from “Lonely Boy”. Sex, drugs and rock and roll it’s all here told directly from the man who lived and breathed it. Throughout the books 308 pages Jones takes the reader on a cringe worthy ride that starts off with detailed accounts of Jones traumatic childhood which was rout with abuse and neglect. As the book progresses the reader is treated to firsthand accounts of the early incarnation of The Sex Pistols and how it morphed into what the world would see as the band were made into the poster boys of punk rock for generations to come.

Not just your everyday run of the mill biography. “Lonely Boy” delves much deeper than other books in the genre. Jones forges straight on into rough waters as he recounts the events that would shape who he has become today. From the ups and downs his band The Sex Pistols created to his struggles with severe drug addiction this book is not for the queasy as it probably as real as one can get. At times I found the stories to wander and be a bit lengthy however pushing through there was always light at the end of the tunnel as each chapter blended nicely into the next. Also worth noting are the photos which are included in the book. Many of them were ones I had not seen before only adding to the books unique story and making “Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol” is a must read for any and all music fans.

Book Review “The Art of Moana”

Series: Art of
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
November 15, 2016

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me start with the fact that “Moana” is my favorite film of 2016. It is a beautiful movie with beautiful songs. The colors are just jaw-dropping and the design is a work of art. “The Art of Moana” is the latest title from Chronicle Books that dives into the stunning artwork going behind-the-scenes in “Moana” with some outstanding character designs, storyboards, colorscripts, and much more. If you loved this film then this book will only make you love it more

Official Film Premise: Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world ventured across the Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped—and no one today knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios, Moana is a CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui and together they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.

When I see that Chronicle is releasing a new Art of Book, I go wild because they really know how to put together an amazing book. I really enjoyed the exploration of what was or could have been in this book and how certain characters and aspects of the film have developed over the years. Other than just the photos, the text in the book delivers a nice story to complement them and educate you on the process as well. This movie is simply beautiful and the book is a perfect companion to the film.

New Book Series Ancient Aliens: Marradians and Anunnaki by Acclaimed Authors Ilil Arbel and Gary Morgenstein

WHO WERE THE MARRADIANS? 

FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE SHOCKING TRUTH BEHIND

THE EXTRATERRESTRIALS WHO CHANGED HUMANITY FOREVER 

NEW BOOK SERIES ANCIENT ALIENS: MARRADIANS AND ANUNNAKI  BY ACCLAIMED AUTHORS ILIL ARBEL AND GARY MORGENSTEIN  

NEW YORK – November 10, 2016 – Who were the Marradians? Long forgotten, these ancient aliens profoundly shaped humanity’s evolution through inter-breeding and advanced science and technology. It’s a story that’s been suppressed – until now.

The new book series Ancient Aliens: Marradians and Anunnaki from acclaimed exraterrestrial expert Ilil Arbel, Ph.D, and science fiction writer Gary Morgenstein will, for the very first time, reveal how the Marradians changed the course of mankind‘s history while battling their bitter rivals and cousins, the Anunnaki – with Earth the pawn in this galactic struggle.

Arbel and Morgenstein will use ancient texts and new research to finally bring to life the history, culture, traditions, religion, politics, food, science, technology, songs, sexual practices and customs of this previously obscure alien race, who’ve been misnamed The Grays by global intelligence services to hide the extraterrestrials‘ existence.

The first volume, Extraterrestrial Holidays, will teleport readers inside the worlds of the Marradians and Anunnaki through their holidays, from deity Cimric’s birthday, the Miracle of Egok the Cross-Limbed, the Sh‘ Holidays of Awe, as well as New Year’s and Breeding celebrations..

To blunt any attempts to subvert the truth, the authors are revealing select chapters before the official date of publication. The first selection, Ashar Marrad, about the Marradian day of thanks, will be available on November 15, 2016 at http://madmelsavestheworld.com/marradian-and-anunnaki-books/.

ILIL ARBEL is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including factual biographies of alien hybrids (descendants of Anunnaki), as well as extensive research on both the Anunnaki and the Marradians. In addition to biographies, memoirs, novels, mythology/folklore, and metaphysics, Arbel has contributed numerous short stories and articles on the subjects of natural history, personal histories, biography, health, education, social commentaries, and Judaic myths to many publications. Arbel has a Ph.D. in liberal arts and has lived and studied in Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York.

GARY MORGENSTEIN most recently wrote the critically acclaimed off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem – Ayn Rand Meets Hunger Games. His plays range from A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx and Right on Target to Ponzi Man, and his novels include Jesse’s Girl, under option to actress Ksenia Solo’s (Orphan Black) production company OnFireFilms, Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman, Take Me Out to the Ballgame and The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees. He is currently completing the first novel in his science fiction trilogy, set on the eve of the 22nd Century after the United States lost World War Three.

 

The popular sci-fi radio drama series, Mad Mel and the Marradians, is based on the stories of the Marradians and can be heard at madmelsavestheworld.com and iTunes.

Please visit us at @madmelsaves

For further information contact:

Gary Morgenstein/garythewriter1@gmail.com

 

 

Book Review: “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”

“Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”

Author: Laura Jane Grace w/ Dan Ozzi
Hachette Books
Hardcover 320

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Tranny” is the intimate story of Against Me!’s enigmatic founder, weaving narrative of the band’s history, as well as Grace’s, with dozens of never before seen entries from the piles of journals Grace kept. More than a typical music memoir about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll “Tranny” is an inside look at one of the most remarkable stories in the history of rock.

Like the in your face title suggests “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” pulls no punches and is direct and extremely real in its approach. First time Author Laura Jane Grace paints a gritty picture of her unique journey not only through her transition from male to female but also the path her and her band mates took as they navigated a completely different type of transition being that of moving from small independent records labels to the major label markets. From an outsider looking this may seem like a no brainer however Grace does a great job of describing the bands hardships as it clearly was not all big checks, fancy cars and massive notoriety.

“Tranny” is a real life account of two very different types of transitions. The two run parallel with one another providing an interesting continuity which keeps the reader’s attention page after page. The realness taken from Grace’s journal entries do a tremendous job and showcasing the inter turmoil she felt not only as an artist in a changing music market but also on a direct personal level as it relates to her own internal and external transformation from male to female. You will be extremely hard pressed to find another story like that of Laura Jane Grace’s “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”.

Book Review “Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale”

Authors: Nick Nunziata, Mark Cotta Vaz
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: October 18, 2016

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

This seems to be the year of “Pan’s Labyrinth” getting a resurgence. The film is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary (can’t believe that it has been that long already). This film has been one of my favorites and one of the best from Guillermo Del Toro. When it comes to a visual eye, he is the man to deliver and this film is overloading with beauty and style. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale” gives us an exclusive look into the making of this wonderful modern marvel and does not disappoint. It also is stocked tight with a foreword by Guillermo Del Toro himself. I love his passion and it shows how much work and effort in each one of his films. This is a must owe book for any fan of “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

Official Premise: To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this acclaimed fantasy, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinthprovides the definitive account of the film’s creation. Written in close collaboration with the director, this volume covers everything from del Toro’s initial musings, through to the film’s haunting creature designs, the hugely challenging shoot, and the overwhelming critical and fan reaction upon the its release.

The book dives deep into the production of this amazing movie with some beautiful concept art and rare set photos. If you are looking for the ultimate behind-the-scenes look into Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth then look no further than this book! It is not just pretty photos though this book also has interviews with the film stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdu, and Doug Jones and also key players like producers Alfonso Cuarón and Bertha Navarro; and director of photography Guillermo Navarro. This film is a classic and this book represents it perfectly!

Book Review “The Art of Trolls”

Author: Jerry Schmitz
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Cameron + Company
Release Date: October 11, 2016

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you had seen the movie “Trolls”, it is colorful and a ton of fun! I know that the “Art of” book would have to be equally as filled with color and excitement to make me happy…and it was and more! Looking through this book each page explodes with energy and vivid color. I was cracking up as my 4 year old looked with me and was making comments on all the other designs for each character on whether she liked them or not. I was actually able to share this with her because she already knows and loves this film and its characters. Highly recommended if you enjoyed the film and looking for an inside look into the making of process

Official Premise: Based on the popular troll dolls created by Thomas Dam, Trolls is a 3-D computer-animated musical comedy from DreamWorks Animation, directed by Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After). Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is an upbeat, if slightly naïve, Troll who inherits her crown on the day her people face the first challenge that can’t be solved with a song or a hug. Accompanied by Branch (Justin Timberlake), they venture out on a quest that tests their strength. Full of playful designs, The Art of Trolls showcases hundreds of pieces of concept and production art to illustrate how DreamWorks’ team of talented artists created an enchanting reinterpretation of the Trolls phenomenon that has gripped popular culture for decades.

The author of the book is Jerry Schmitz, who is no stranger to Art of books. He has done previously “The Art and Making of the Peanuts Movie”, which coincidentally was another that I shared (and loved) with my daughter last year. He also authored “The Art of Shrek Forever After”, which is cool be because the director of “Trolls”, Mike Mitchell, also directed “Shrek Forever After”, so that is a cool connection between those titles and films. Jerry delivers a great combination of art and making of with this book and delivers a book that not only adults but also kids as well.

Book Review: “I Am Brian Wilson”

“I Am Brian Wilson”
Author: Brian Wilson w/ Ben Greenman
Da Capo Press
Hardcover: 307 pages

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

In October Da Capo press released “I Am Brian Wilson” the in-depth story of Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson. Together with writer Ben Greenman the enigmatic Wilson documents the poetic lyricism, inspiration and creativity behind his vast discography while at the same time showing a man who is over-time coming to terms with his past.

After reading just one chapter of “I Am Brian Wilson” I wanted more. Over the course of the books 307 pages Wilson and Greenman delve deeper than anyone has ever been as they recount the life and times of one of music’s most reclusive figures. This book is simply not a tell-all as it relates to the Beach Boys. Though that might disappoint some readers for others it will be a breath of fresh air and shine the light on a number of areas related to Wilson and his music. The writer is extremely candid about all subjects ranging to his relationships with Beach Boy members past and present, the failed and subsequent revival of the album “SMiLE” and also about his long struggle with mental illness. No stone is left unturned as the man who penned such classics as “I Get Around”, Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Good Vibrations” talks about some of his biggest insecurities and how he has been able to battle his internal demons during several rough patches in an effort to be able to keep doing what he loves to do.

You aren’t going to find any other story like that of Brian Wilson’s. Very rarely if ever will you find a person with Brian’s notoriety be as truthful and forth coming as he is in this book. “I Am Brian Wilson” is an emotional roller coaster for both the story teller and the reader making this one ride that is definitely worth the price of admission.

Book Review: Keith Morris’s “My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor”

“My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor”
Author: Keith Morris w/ Jim Ruland
Da Capo Press
Hardcover: 309 pages

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Keith Morris is known the world over as the real deal, a seminal figure in hardcore punk, revered by any fan of the genre. As a co-founding member of Black Flag and as the front man for the seminal west coast punk band Circle Jerks “My Damage” is a memoir that covers not only covers Keith’s forty-year history in music but also his struggles with his health and drug use, told straight through the eyes of someone who shared the stage with just about every major figure in the industry.

From page 1 to page 309 “My Damage” keeps the reader’s attention making this a hard book to put down. Through candid accounts of Black Flag/Circle Jerks front man Keith Morris’s early struggles within the Hermosa Beach community to the reincarnation of “FLAG” close to 40 years later the book covers immense ground in an easy to follow format which for readers who may not be as familiar with Morris’s work is a great feature. The books drive matches that of the author as it moves quickly and is unrelenting in details. No matter how edgy or unsettling the story may be Morris pulls no punches and tells the story as it was from his perspective. No phony names or reader friendly versions here folks.

The sheer realness of “My Damage” makes this book appealing to not only punk rock music fans but to readers looking for a candid takes-no prisoners approach to storytelling. Keith cuts out the unneeded drab and quickly gets to the guts of his life and his experiences in the music business. At times over shadowing those story is his struggles with drugs and alcohol which at several points made me question just how the author is still with us and able to recount his journey in detail he does. “My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor” is a must read for biography and music fans.

Book Review: Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk”

“Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk”
Author: John Doe w/ Tom DeSavia and Friends
Da Capo Press
Hardcover: 227 pages

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk” was written by X vocalist/bassist John Doe along with help from Tom DeSavia and laundry list of who’s who from the late 70’s and early 80’s L.A. punk scene. For the first time in one place the true story of a scene often overlooked is told in all of its gritty and grimy detail by none other those who experienced it and by those who helped create it. This is not your typical memoir however as this book tells not only of how the scene began and developed but also how it went on to change music forever.

Before I get into my review of the book I want to point out that if you are unfamiliar with the scene this book documents or the bands that appear grab a copy of Penelope Spheeris film “The Decline of Western Civilization” as a majority of the people’s names and a lot of the places featured in the film coincide with those who are also in the book. After a very brief forward by Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong we are quickly whisked back to the not so glamorous side of Los Angeles. Just a few brief years before hair metal would dominate the sun set strip bands like X, Black Flag and the Minute Men were the bands to go see. John Doe does a great job recounting his stories from this era with vivid detail and truthfulness that make you want to keep turning the page. As an added element to Doe’s story there is often even more colorful commentary provided by other musicians or friends who were there to experience everything as well. Not only does this add different angles to a previously told story but it fills in gaps with intricate firsthand accounts. For me this only pulled me further into the already captivating story. To go along with the stories there are several black and white photo sections which are chocked full of rare photos that by themselves are worth the price of the book.

From cover to cover Doe and DeSavia and crew nail it. Aside from actually being around during this specific time I don’t think you could get any closer nor could it be anymore real. There were a few times when I wished Doe had kept going from his perspective as sometimes when the story teller switched you were in a sense re-reading some of what was just told however, that aside “Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk” is a great book for not only punk rock fans and music but for those wanting to learn about a period of time in Los Angeles that isn’t sugar coated with all the normal glitz and glamour LaLa Land is often associated.

Fat Mike of NOFX talks about the bands new book “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”.

Mike Burkett better know to the world as Fat Mike is the bassist/lead vocalists for California punk rock band NOFX and owner of Fat Wreck Chords. Together with first time writer Jeff Alulis and his band mates Eric Melvin, Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta and Erik “Smelly” Sandin the guys have just released their first tell autobiography aptly titled “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”. The book which is being released via Da Capo Press is a down and dirty tale of punk rock debauchery told candidly by those who lived it. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Fat Mike recently about the book and also about the bands upcoming album and tour.

Adam Lawton: Where did the idea for you guys to do a book come from?

Fat Mike: It was something that we had been talking doing now for awhile. It wasn’t until I read “The Dirt” by Motley Crue that I started to take doing our own book seriously. Once I read that book it got me thinking that NOFX could do a really good book because I think our stories our better. Our stories are a little less rock and roll. I had also read the book “Please Kill Me” which really changed me as I thought the book was just so good. Our story is right up there but totally different so we said “let’s do a book”.

AL: Did the other members of the band have any reservations about doing this type of book being that it was going to go pretty deep?

FM: There were things that I knew the guys were going to be a little uneasy to talk about. Eric Melvin had never talked about being molested before and Smelly never wanted to talk about his times with Courtney Love. Those guys went in and gave it all up for the book. Smelly really told everything which makes the book his in a lot of ways. We had to wait this long to do this because 10 years ago guys wouldn’t have wanted to tell these stories. You have to get to a point in your life where you are comfortable to talk about these things. For me the chapter which talks about cross dressing was something we added at the last minute because as of 2 years ago I wasn’t ready to talk about that publicly.

AL: Was it difficult revisiting some of those darker memories that make it into the book?

FM: The chapter where I talk about killing my mom was from a very hard part of my life but at the same time I think it was one of the best things I have ever done. My mom brought me into this world and raised me and I was able to give her the greatest gift I could ever give by helping her when she needed it. I wanted to put this in the book because it’s a heroic thing to be able to do that when someone needs your help in that way. Just letting the doctors take care of it is bullshit. That’s what a coward would do. My lawyer didn’t want me to put that stuff in the book so there’s a line stating that it’s the only part of the book that’s not true. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like going back and reading some of the chapters written by former band members?

FM: The chapter with Dave Casillas was really funny because he denied a lot of the stuff at first but then by the end of his interview he said “I guess it could have all happened”.  During the older days of the band when everyone was doing a lot of drugs I only drank beer so my memory from those years is really good. I remember stuff no one else does. It’s the past 15 years that I have a problem remembering. (Laugh)  I just remember those early days so well. Nowadays we will do a House of Blues tour or something like that where everyday kind of blends into the next however, when we first started we would stay at some ones house and sleep on their floor for 3 days, get crabs and then get told not come back. (Laughs) Those are the things you remember.

AL: Were there pieces of the book done separately or were there portions that everyone worked on together?

FM: Everything was done separately. That was something that Jeff Alulis wanted so that we would be able to open up more. What I love about the book is that after reading it we all learned things about one another that we had never known. There was one part of the book I had to call Eric Melvin about just to give him a warning about what he was going to read because it’s a pretty hard thing to read.

AL: What was it like working with Jeff in this capacity as compared to the group’s previous video work with him on “Backstage Passport”?

FM: It was difficult and very trying at times. He didn’t change any of our stories but he did change some of the wording to make himself look like a better writer. (Laughs) He used words that I would have never said. It was still the same thing but he just cleaned it up a bit and made it readable. We went with someone who had never written a book before because we didn’t want someone with a lot of experience who would take our experiences and change them. Jeff felt his way through the book and the early reviews have been great so I think we made the right decision. I am really proud how it turned out.

AL: Did you notice any similarities between writing a book and writing an album?

FM: Our new album is I think our most personable album yet. For me it was like peeling off my skin. The new album which will come out in June is the first album that I wrote and recorded a lot of while I was using drugs. In the past I have always gone into the studio and recorded sober. What I found while working on this album was that I cared more. After I would do a line I became extremely focused on making whatever song I was working on the best it could be. A lot of this came from not only writing the book but also from when I was working on the “Home Street Home” musical. With a musical you can’t put in one word that’s not needed as you have 2 hours to tell an entire story. You can’t waste a word. You will definitely be able to tell the influences of the book and the musical on this new album.

AL: With a book and album coming out this year what are the bands tour plans?

FM: When we make a record we tend to not tour like a lot of other bands do. Our schedule generally doesn’t change in that we will do a two week tour, have six weeks off and then we will do another two week run of shows. With having a book out we really want it make the New York Times Best Seller list so we are going to be doing a bunch of signings and stuff like that to help promote the book. The book was already in its fifth run of printing prior to the release on April 12th so we are really excited for everything.

Be sure to check out our review of NOFX’s “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” in the book review section of the site.

 

Book Review: NOFX: “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”
Author: NOFX w/ Jeff Alulis
Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 368 pages

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

NOFX has been called one of the worlds most influential and controversial punk bands, but its full story has never truly been told until now. The band has sold over 8 million records, toured six continents and founded one of the most successful indie labels in the world. Together with writer/filmmaker Jeff Alulis “NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” takes a look back on more than three decades of completely inexplicable success told directly from those who lived it providing a close-up look at the punk-rock music genre and the punk-rock life.

Growing up as a skateboarding, punk rock music fan of late the late eighties and nineties I was extremely anxious to get a hold of this book. Written much like Motley Crue’s famous/infamous tell all “The Dirt” “NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” is a similar tale of debauchery minus the excess and stereotypical “Rock n Roll” life. Instead you get an in-depth look at the seedier underbelly of rock n’ roll bastard step son know as Punk Rock. Over the course of the books 368 pages band members from past and present tell their tales of trial and tribulations while wading through a cesspool of filth consisting of drugs, murder, suicide and the occasional S&M occurrence. After reading some of these stories it’s a complete miracle that the band is around to tell these let alone have enough memory to recount the tales so vividly and in such detail. Bassist “Fat Mike” Burkett, Guitarist Erik Melvin, Drummer Erik “Smelly” Sandin and Guitarist Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta along with a list of other notables keep your attention page after page making this book damn near impossible to put down. Spread out amongst the tales of punk rock madness are tons of rare photos and show fliers from all stages of the bands career which only seem to add to the books over all appeal.

“NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” is definitely not for the faint of heart. The book and its writers pull no punches as they are both candid and real as they can be in this mesmerizing tale of the true punk rock life. Even if you have never heard of the band NOFX or its members do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book!

Also be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Fat Mike in the interview portion of the site.

Book Review: Barney Hoskyns “Small Town Talk”

“Small Town Talk Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock”

Author: Barney Hoskyns
Publisher: Da Capo
Hardcover: 402 pages

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

In the 1960’s when musicians in the New York City folk scene decided to “get it together in the country,” they headed to Woodstock. There manager Alan Grossman established his personal fiefdom of studios and restaurants where the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield and Todd Rundgren mixed and mingled with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. “Small Town Talk” tells Woodstock’s story from its earliest days as a bohemian arts colony to its ongoing life as a cultural satellite of New York City.

Author Barney Hoskyns delves deep into a period of time when some of the period’s biggest singer/songwriters were leaving the crowded cities for the peaceful wooded areas which lay waiting just a few hours away. Tons of great stories are heard here for the first time as the book evolves just as the scene in the Catskills did. As you read page after page you never know who you are going to bump into from that time period which was something I found kept me looking forward to that next page. Hoskyns doesn’t only include just the big players of the time but does a great job of incorporating the community that this scene engulfed and how that era shaped what the town became and how it still remains to this day. “Small Town Talk” is simply not just a book for fans of the 60’s or its accompanying soundtrack as it has a little something for everyone. Woodstock was and is more than just a mud filled 3 day music fest and Barney Hoskyns latest book proves that.

Book Review: Lita Ford “Living Like A Runaway”

“Living Like a Runaway”

Author: Lita Ford
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Hardcover: 272 pages
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Living Like a Runaway” provides a never before glimpse into the life of musician Lita Ford. The child of immigrants, she had a near idyllic southern California upbringing until she was thrust onto the hedonistic rock and roll scene at the age of just 16. With nearly unmatched skills, Lita along with Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and under the guidance of Kim Fowley brought the band the Runaway’s to a meteoric rise during the mid to late 1970’s. After the groups break up Lita go on to see tremendous success as a solo artist in the 1980’s. Fearless, revealing and, compulsively readable the long awaited memoir from a true rock pioneer is finally here.

“Living Like a Runaway” is a quick read that keeps the reader’s attention over the course of its 272 pages. Ford speaks candidly about her upbringing and how she was thrust at an early age in to the male dominated hard rock music scene. The book covers the early days of the Runaway a group who had to practically fight for everything they had before ultimately imploding after only 3 albums. From there Ford recounts her career as a solo artist from not knowing where to start to her chart topping duet with Ozzy Osbourne. It is all here. The part of the book that really struck me as odd as over the books 15 chapters Ford has no problem speaking of past sexual encounters with various hard rock legends however when it comes to explaining more of her issues related to former band members and the divorce which left her alienated from her two sons Ford quickly skirts around the issue either saying she doesn’t understand or in the case of the later includes a statement flat out saying she is refusing to talk about it. In the age of the internet where nothing is private what is the sense of putting out a “tell all” type memoir if that’s not exactly what you are going to do? At least you are able to tell your side.

Despite whatever the reasons were for omitting certain details the book is still a decent read for fans of Lita and her works. With not a lot of behind the scenes info on the Runaway’s especially there time in Japan, Lita Ford’s “Living Like a Runaway” does an ok job filling that void.