Category Archives: Music Fans

James Campion on the Rock School radio show!

Author of Shout It Out Loud: The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon, James Campion, spoke with Professor Joseph Burns of the radio show ‘Rock School’. They talked about the book and the influence that KISS had over time. Click play below to learn more about what they had to say!



00141630For more than 40 years, the rock band KISS has galvanized the entertainment world with an unparalleled blitz of bravado, theatricality, and shameless merchandizing, garnering generations of loyally rabid fans. But if not for a few crucial months in late 1975 and early 1976, KISS may have ended up nothing more than a footnote.

Shout It Out Loud: The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon by James Campion (October 2015, Backbeat Books, $24.99) is a serious examination of the circumstance and serendipity that fused the creation of the band’s seminal work, Destroyer – including the band’s arduous ascent to the unexpected smash hit, Alive!; the ensuing lawsuits between the band’s management and label; the pursuit of the hot, young producer, Bob Ezrin; a grueling musical “boot camp;” the wildly creative studio abandon; the origins behind an iconic cover; the era’s most outlandish tour; and the unlikely string of hit singles.

Extensive research from the period and insights into each song are enhanced by hundreds of archived materials and dozens of interviews surrounding the mid-’70s-era KISS and its zeitgeist. Campion’s new interviews with major behind-the-scenes principals in the making of an outrageously imaginative rock classic animate this engaging tale.

As Campion writes in his introduction, “Destroyer is the indisputable KISS mission statement—the realization of a dream that stridently reflects the extraordinary time from which it was fashioned. Destroyer is ’70s rock: loud, yes, and decadent, you bet, but mostly it is pompous, weird, and fantastical….It is a cartoon fantasy’s parody of excess. Its message is fun and doom all rolled up in a thunderous package of melodramatic farce.”

Shout It Out Loud is the story of how an underground rock and roll oddity became a cultural phenomenon.

Buck ‘Em! with Randy Poe

Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens is now available in paperback! And, if that weren’t enough, a second two-CD set of Buck’s music has just been released by Omnivore Recordings!  Learn more about both in this video…

00151800Born in Texas and raised in Arizona, Buck Owens eventually found his way to Bakersfield, California. Unlike the vast majority of country singers, songwriters, and musicians who made their fortunes working and living in Nashville, the often rebellious and always independent Owens chose to create his own brand of country music some 2,000 miles away from Music City – racking up a remarkable 21 number-one hits along the way. In the process he helped give birth to a new country sound and did more than any other individual to establish Bakersfield as a country music center.

In the latter half of the 1990s, Buck began working on his autobiography. Over the next few years, he talked into the microphone of a cassette tape machine for nearly one hundred hours, recording the story of his life. With his near-photographic memory, Buck recalled everything from his early days wearing hand-me-down clothes in Texas to his glory years as the biggest country star of the 1960s; from his legendary Carnegie Hall concert to his multiple failed marriages; from his hilarious exploits on the road to the tragic loss of his musical partner and best friend, Don Rich; from his days as the host of a local TV show in Tacoma, Washington, to his co-hosting the network television show Hee Haw; and from his comeback hit, “Streets of Bakersfield,” to his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In these pages, Buck also shows his astute business acumen, having been among the first country artists to create his own music publishing company. He also tells of negotiating the return of all of his Capitol master recordings, his acquisition of numerous radio stations, and of his conceiving and building the Crystal Palace, one of the most venerated musical venues in the country.

Andy Babiuk speaks with Music Radar about “Beatles Gear”

Andy Babiuk, author of Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition, spoke with Music Radar about his book and how he came about certain instruments.


00333744The original Beatles Gear book was published back in 2001 and, over the past decade-and-a-half, it’s become the go-to bible for anyone with an interest in the extensive equipment the Fab Four dabbled with during their incredible albeit brief career.

The new expanded Ultimate Edition, which has recently hit the shops, provides fascinating new interviews, 650 new and previously unpublished photos and a slew of surprising recent gear-related discoveries that author Andy Babiuk has helped uncover.

One astounding addition to Beatles Gear is the inclusion of John Lennon’s original 1962 Gibson J-160E acoustic, which had been lost for over 50 years. This was the guitar that Lennon wrote many of The Beatles’ early hits on before it was stolen in December 1963 at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London.

“This one happened last summer when a guy contacted me on the phone,” explains Andy, “I get a lot of people calling and emailing with stuff but 99% of the time, it’s nothing or just nonsense.

“Anyway, this guy said, ‘My friend’s got John Lennon’s J-160E’. So I was like, ‘Hey, right, okay… well, send me the picture’ and sure enough, he sends the picture and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to talk to this guy!’

“The grain looked similar. It belonged to some guy in San Diego who bought it for 175 bucks after he got out of Vietnam in ’69 or something. It was just his personal guitar ever since. When I examined it personally, the grain was an exact match: it was John Lennon’s J-160E.

“No-one knows how it made it out of England and made it to Southern California but that’s just one of the wacky stories that are in this book.” [NB. Since we chatted to Andy, the guitar sold for a staggering $2.4 million at auction.]


Read the entire article over Music Radar!

Kit O’Toole on Moose FM

Kit O’Toole, author of Michael Jackson FAQ, spoke with Shane Button of 93.1 Moose FM. They spoke about her book and what inspired her to write it, as well as her favorite Michael Jackson song. Click play to hear more of what they had to say!

>>LISTEN<<

00125022Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop, but his influence extends much further. From his childhood years with the Jackson 5 through his astonishing solo career, he consistently broke sales record, pioneered the modern music video, and infused dance into rock and pop.

In Michael Jackson FAQ Kit O’Toole takes a fresh look at Jackson’s four-decade career, covering his work in three acts – the Jackson 5, the Jacksons, and his solo years. Along the way, O’Toole reveals details such as Michael’s earliest musical influences; the Jackson 5’s start on the Steeltown label; the key players truly involved in the group’s discovery; Michael’s transformation in to a prolific songwriter; his explorations of genres, from soul to disco to pop and hip hop; the tours, videos, and notable television appearances; his best-selling albums (Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous); outtakes and obscure tracks; and more.

Michael Jackson FAQ also takes a long look at Michael’s work in films (The Wiz, Captain EO); his guest vocal appearances; and his collaborations with such music makers as Quincy Jones, Bruce Swedien, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, and Diana Ross.

And there’s more! O’Toole covers the tumultuous, but successful, Victory album and tour of 1984; Michael’s major dance influences, including Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire; the recurrent themes in Michael’s songs; and the posthumous releases through 2015, including Michael Jackson’s This Is It (1009) and Xscape (2014).

Finally, Michael Jackson FAQ celebrates Michael’s legacy – his influence on countless artists from New Edition to Justin Timberlake, as well as his widespread impact on artistry across many media, from music to choreography to videography to fashion.

Packed with detail and keen insight, Michael Jackson FAQ is essential reading for devoted fans and pop culture buffs alike.

Susan Brumfield on Folk & Acoustic Music!

Susan Brumfield, co-author with folk music legend Jean Ritchie, of Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose, spoke with Michael Stock, host of Folk & Acoustic Music on 91.3 WLRN in Miami. She spoke about her book, teaching children authentic children songs, and the experience of creating this book with Jean. Click below to hear more!

>>LISTEN<<

00139968Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is a collection of songs, rhymes and stories recalled from childhood by the legendary folk singer, who died in June 2015 at the age of 92.

The youngest of 14 children in a singing family from Viper, Ky., she grew up surrounded by the ballads, hymns, play-party songs, singing games and dulcimer tunes that formed the Ritchie Family repertoire. Toward the end of her life, returning to the earliest memories of the songs and the stories surrounding them, Ritchie joined forces with coauthor Susan Brumfield to create this charming anthology.

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose includes a CD, featuring 50 of Ritchie’s recordings, including those of her singing with famed collector Alan Lomax in the 1940s and ’50s and for Brumfield in the 2000s. The book itself has reader-friendly transcriptions of the songs and rhymes, enlightening notes on history and performance, and related stories that colorfully evoke Ritchie’s Appalachian childhood.

This richly illustrated volume also features photos from Richies’s family collection, and by her husband, photographer and filmmaker George Pickow, as well as never-before-published drawings by beloved artist and children’s author, Maurice Sendak.

Full of Ritchie’s spirit and a delight for the eye and ear alike, Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is both a fascinating window into a musical icon’s beginnings and a fitting tribute to the memory of a true American treasure.

Motley Crue the Final Tour

On April 24, 1981, Mötley Crüe played their first two shows at the Starwood in West Hollywood, Calif., opening for San Francisco’s Y&T. Tonight, they are back in Los Angeles to play their final show at the Staples Center. To mark the occasion, here’s an excerpt from Martin Popoff’s book, Kickstart My Heart A Mötley Crüe Day-By-Day, a wild trip through the band’s 35-year career.


00138052Perhaps there’s no heavy metal band so much a Sunset strip rock-dawg cliché as the four mutts of Mötley. And once that’s said, it’s easy to frame Vince, Mick, Nikki, and Tommy as the heavy metal cartoon characters most associated with the ’80s, each—bless their hearts—character offering endless hours of fun by proxy, each living lives so fast and flash that, if positives be proffered, they were beloved by millions as inspiration toward . . . I dunno, taking no shit or something like that.

But all through that neon decade, you couldn’t miss the Mötley guys, that’s for sure. And let’s not forget, in 1981, they were in a sense leaders. Loud and large guitar rock had died a death the world over, with the wilting and/or end of (to name a few) Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Kiss, Uriah Heep, Boston, Rush, Derringer, Starz, Montrose, and Rainbow. One bridge band lit like a comet across the punk and postpunk breach and that was Van Halen. An aberration . . . I don’t know where to even put them . . . let’s just bow for a moment of silence.

Move into the ’80s, and LA had a bunch of baby Van Halens that no one would sign—but then came Mötley, and this is where Nikki, as visionary, was at the leading edge of hard rock, arguably for the first and last time. Frankly, Too Fast for Love was the first hair metal album, with most similar slabs not coming for fully two more years. But it was a record
with a kooky depth. The lead singer had twang, the guitarist, way too much dirty power for the sweet songs written, and then welling up from the rhythm section was a breathing, organic open architecture.

This band had more in common with Van Halen and the Who than pretty lead singers; there was a loose life to the tracks that instantly connected with the LA underground starved for something more electric hot plate than the ridiculous preciousness of skinny tie new wave, which didn’t even offer the guitars of punk. And there’s nothing more exciting than a buzz band pushed up on top of the police cars by the people, and that’s what Mötley were.


The book is available wherever books are sold and at the Backbeat Books website.  Click here to learn more!

Sanford Josephson on Inquiry!

Sanford Josephson, author of Jeru’s Journey: The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan, was Mark Lynch’s guest on Inquiry, heard weekly on WICN in Worcester, Mass., where they talked about Mulligan’s influence in jazz and beyond.

>>LISTEN<<

Mulligan6In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Gerry Mulligan was revered and recognized as a groundbreaking composer, arranger, bandleader, and baritone saxophonist. His legacy comes to life in this biography, which chronicles his immense contributions to American music, far beyond the world of jazz. Mulligan’s own observations are drawn from his oral autobiography, recorded in 1995. These are intermingled with comments and recollections from those who knew him, played with him, or were influenced by him, as well as from the author, who interviewed him in 1981.

Jeru’s Journey – The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan vividly recounts all the major milestones and complications in Mulligan’s extraordinary life and career, ranging from his early days of arranging for big bands in the 1940s to his chance 1974 meeting with Countess Franca Rota, who would have a major impact on the last two decades of his life. In between were his battles with drugs; his significant contributions to the historic 1949 Birth of the Cool recording; the introduction of an enormously popular piano-less quartet in the early 1950s; the creation of his innovative concert jazz band in the early ’60s; his collaboration – personal and professional – with actress Judy Holliday; his breakthrough into classical music; and his love of and respect for the American Songbook.

Elliott Landy interviewed by Night Flight

Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs: 1968-1969, was interviewed by Night Flight! Elliot talks about the Kickstarter campaign that launched the project, and how he was able to create such an intimate portrait of The Band.


 

00146104The Band’s organic debut Music from Big Pink came out in 1968 during a year that included the psychedelic Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles and heavy acid blues of Cream’s Wheels of Fire. Here was a group that was consciously avoiding the LSD-tinged sound and visuals that nearly every other major rock band of the day was cashing in on.

The Band not only looked they were from the 1800’s, they even wrote songs about it (their second album included “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”). In an era when the Yippies were suggesting that teens and twenties should (metaphorically) “Kill Their Parents” — and everyone between the ages of 15 and 25 were battling the ‘Generation Gap’ — the inside of the Big Pink album proudly displayed a photo of The Band with all of their next of kin, primarily their mothers and fathers!

Elliott Landy’s new book of vintage photographs of The Band doesn’t look like images of a classic rock band. The (mostly) black and white images appear to be five guys from a previous century (think of Mathew Brady’s iconic photos of Abe Lincoln) who’ve been given instruments and equipment from the future. The hardcover book is 12×12, album cover size, allowing for the intimate photos to be as large as possible (and the printing quality is top notch).

There’s a 160 pages worth of photos — only about 30 of which which are previously published, behind-the-scenes shots inside the studio, backstage at gigs, at home in the kitchen, plus expected guests: manager Albert Grossman, promoter Bill Graham, and, of course, Bob Dylan. There’s out-takes and alternate album cover photos, even The Band having lunch at a local Saugerties diner.

The book was initially financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised the money needed to print and review about 8000 photographs from the original negatives.

As Landy pointed out to me when we spoke on the phone this week– and he was remarkably down to earth for a man who has walked among giants — The Band in 2015 just aren’t commercially viable for a publisher to invest all that start up money.

That said, once the heavy lifting was done, Backbeat Books stepped up the plate for the copies being offered at retail and online stores like Amazon, while deluxe editions are available at Landy’s website. The casual fan can get a copy of The Band Photographs 1968-1969 at any good bookstore for the list price of $45 (which is a deal), but for those who want something a bit more fancy there are other options:

LANDY: “The copies that I offer on my website are signed and they also have something that is called a tri-fold sheet in it, which is the index, the thumbnails and the captions of all the images are on the fold-out sheet, so that when you’re sitting and you’re looking at these pictures, because there are no captions in the book, I put all the captions in the back of the book, but if you wanna sit down in an armchair, you can fold out this tri-fold sheet and read about each picture, rather than having to go back and forth, to the index in the back of the book, which is actually a very important part of the experience to do that.”

Then we made 325 deluxe copy editions, again the same essential book, but in that is an original print of The Band with the dog named Hammond, who was Bob Dylan’s dog, and it’s the same setup as the Music from Big Pink photographs but the dog got in the picture. I made an 8×10 fine art pigmenting print that will last two hundred years without fading, and I signed each one, it’s printed in my studio. I signed and numbered each one so that’s included, along with really nice slipcase and also the tri-fold sheet. That’s now $500. We have a hundred of those left, by the way. I made 325 and I’m down to probably less than a hundred now.”

Click here to read the full interview!

 

James Campion on 93 Rock FM!

James Campion, author of Shout It Out Loud: The Story of Kiss’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon, was featured on WIMK Radio! Watch the video below to hear what he had to say!

00141630Shout It Out Loud is a serious examination of the circumstance and serendipity that fused the creation of the band’s seminal work, Destroyer – including the band’s arduous ascent to the unexpected smash hit, Alive!, the ensuing lawsuits between its management and its label, the pursuit of the hot, young producer, a grueling musical “boot camp,” the wildly creative studio abandon, the origins behind an iconic cover, the era’s most outlandish tour, and the unlikely string of hit singles.

Extensive research from the period and insights into each song are enhanced by hundreds of archived materials and dozens of interviews surrounding the mid-’70s-era Kiss and its zeitgeist. New interviews with major principals in the making of an outrageously imaginative rock classic animate this engaging tale.

James Campion on All Access with Rick Stuart!

James Campion, author of Shout it Out Loud, was on All Access with Rick Stuart! They talked about the book and answered questions sent in from the listeners, in this unique and informative podcast. Click on the link below to listen, and let us know what you think!

All Access with Rick Stuart

00141630Shout It Out Loud: The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon by James Campion is a serious examination of the circumstance and serendipity that fused the creation of the band’s seminal work, Destroyer – including the band’s arduous ascent to the unexpected smash hit, Alive!; the ensuing lawsuits between the band’s management and label; the pursuit of the hot, young producer, Bob Ezrin; a grueling musical “boot camp;” the wildly creative studio abandon; the origins behind an iconic cover; the era’s most outlandish tour; and the unlikely string of hit singles.

Extensive research from the period and insights into each song are enhanced by hundreds of archived materials and dozens of interviews surrounding the mid-’70s-era KISS and its zeitgeist. Campion’s new interviews with major behind-the-scenes principals in the making of an outrageously imaginative rock classic animate this engaging tale.

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