Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

The Richard Wesley Play Anthology!

In honor of Black History Month, Applause Books is proud to present The Richard Wesley Play Anthology! The play anthology includes five full-length plays that collectively outline a cultural history of black America in the post-Civil Rights era. If you want to hear more about the book, there’s no better chance to do so than on Thursday February 18th, where author Richard Wesley will be discussing and signing his book over at The Drama Book Shop!

Enjoy an excerpt from The Richard Wesley Play Anthology below, where he discusses one of many black-themed dramas that emerged onto New York stages and the impact it had on young people of the mid-1960s!

00129709One weekend during my sophomore year at Howard University, Owen Dodson, the chair of the Department of Drama, returned to campus from a weekend spent in New York seeing various Broadway and Off-Broadway stage productions. He was gushing in class that following Monday—fired up in a way his students had never seen before. The excitement in Professor Dodson’s voice was like that of a prospector who has discovered a mother lode of rich, wonderful ore. The “rich, wonderful ore” he had encountered in New York that weekend was the play The Dutchman, authored by an exciting new playwright, then named LeRoi Jones but known throughout the world today as Amiri Baraka.

The Dutchman was only the latest, and perhaps the most explosive, in a series of black-themed dramas that had emerged on New York stages, beginning with Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun in 1959, and continuing with such plays as Purlie Victorius by Ossie Davis, The Cool World by Warren Miller and Robert Rossen, James Baldwin’s Blues for Mr. Charlie, and Jean Genet’s The Blacks. But Dutchman represented a boldness and blunt depiction of the unspoken rage that had roiled the psyche of African Americans for decades. If Raisin can rightfully be considered a historical breakthrough for African-American playwriting and theater in America, The Dutchman was a game changer, an announcement of the arrival of a new generation of African-American cultural artists. This was the play that generated nationwide conversation. Whenever and wherever the young people of the mid-1960s encountered Dutchman, minds were changed, and all of us immediately began to imagine new possibilities about what could and could not be said onstage.

LeRoi Jones transformed the cultural/political landscape in much the way that DuBois’s Souls of Black Folk announced a new generation of black thinkers at the turn of the twentieth century, Alain Locke’s The New Negro led to the famed Harlem Renaissance, Richard Wright’s The Negro and the Racial Mountain fired the imaginations of black intellectuals in the ’40s and ’50s, and James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son reflected the emergence of the civil rights generation. But those were books and essays whose contents were consumed over long periods of time, with readers reclining in chairs—with time to stop and think, mull and reconsider, riding in the subways and buses. Dutchman, on the other hand, was a play, performed by living, breathing human beings, where everything—passions, dreams, desires, fears, and most of all, the deep secrets and unexpressed emotions that underlie so much of the racial discourse in the United States—was visible, expressed, and immediate.


For more information on his book signing please visit

Bob Elliott 1923-2016

We are saddened to hear that comedian Bob Elliott passed away on February 2nd. His most notable work, as one half of the comedic duo “Bob and Ray”, will always be remembered and we offer our condolences to his family and friends. In memory of Bob Elliott, below is an interview from 2013 where he and David Pollack, author of  Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons spoke with radio legend Joe Franklin.


By the established comedy conventions of their era, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were true game changers. Never playing to the balcony, Bob and Ray instead entertained each other. Because they believed in their nuanced characters and absurd premises, their audience did, too. Their parodies – broadcasting about broadcasting – existed in their own special universe. A complete absence of show-biz slickness set them apart from the very institution they were mocking, yet were still a part of. They resisted being called comedians and never considered themselves “an act.”

Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons traces the origins and development of the pair’s unique sensibility that defined their dozens of local and network radio and TV series, later motion picture roles, Carnegie Hall performances, and hit Broadway show Bob and Ray – The Two and Only.

Together for 43 years (longer than Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello, and Martin and Lewis), the twosome deflected all intrusions into the personalities behind their many masks and the dynamics of their relationship, and rarely elaborated on their career trajectory or methodology. Now, with the full cooperation of Bob Elliott and of Ray Goulding’s widow, Liz, together with insights from numerous colleagues, their craft and the culture that made them so relevant is explored in depth.

Alisha Gaddis is a guest on “I Want Her Job” podcast

Alisha Gaddis, author of the comedic monologues series, was on the “I Want Her Job” podcast! She spoke about her new book Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues, her music, family, and more! Click on the link below to hear what she had to say!


00130749As humorist and writer Alisha Gaddis explains it, this is how the process goes. “You have an audition. One where you are supposed to be funny. Really funny. They want you to actually make them laugh…in an audition. And you want to be funny, so funny you book the job, land the part, steal the show!”

But, you can’t do that without a comedic monologue, and that’s where this series of books steps in. Never before have monologue books been written completely by people who are actually funny for a living.

The fourth volume in Gaddis’s groundbreaking series, Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (December 2015, Applause Books, $14.99) features an incredibly hysterical, cutting-edge collection of monologues will give an actor the extra bang she needs to land the perfect comedic role. Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues features more than 75 monologues by writers and comics who have written for or performed on Comedy Central, Backstage Magazine, Huffington Post, The Onion, Second City, E! and many more.

This book is the answer to the comedic monologue needs of teen girl actors everywhere!

Shelly Peiken’s lyrical works

Shelly Peiken has a book coming out in March about the songs that she has helped write and also written herself. Confessions of a Serial Songwriter may even feature some of your favorite songs! Check out the video below to see some of the many songs that she has written/co-written.

COASS-Final_CVR_152159Shelly Peiken, well known for writing culturally resonant, female-empowerment anthems such as Christina Aguilera’s No. 1 hit “What a Girl Wants” and Meredith Brooks’s smash hit, “Bitch,” looks back on her career and inside the business of songwriting in her memoir, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99).

A humorous and poignant pop culture memoir about Peiken’s journey, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter takes readers into the rarefied world of the music business. From a young girl falling under the spell of magical songs to a working professional writing hits of her own, Peiken describes how she built a career, from fledgling songwriter, pounding the streets of New York City to Grammy nominations, international hits, and the first Number One song of the millennium.

David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, calls Confessions of a Serial Songwriter “a great book [that offers] an insightful, honest, often funny, emotional look inside the good, the bad, the ugly, and ultimately the transcendent aspects of trying to lead a creative life inside a competitive career.”

In addition to the fascinating biographical trajectory, Peiken presents invaluable information for the aspiring songwriter, including tips about the creative process and how to adapt to the constantly changing currents. “Now more than ever, people who want to enter this topsy-turvy world of professional songwriting need to know how to handle the inevitable ups and downs that accompany what, for me, has a been an incredibly gratifying journey,” said Peiken.

In Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Peiken writes about personal growth, how to recognize your muse and navigate the creative process as well as the struggles that arise between motherhood and career success. While she’s not afraid to delve into the divas, celebrity egos and schemers, it is the talented and remarkable people she’s found along the way that predominate the text. And, finally, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter raises the obvious though universal challenge of getting older and staying relevant in a rapidly changing and youth-driven world.

John Kenneth Muir discusses The X-Files

Author of The X-Files FAQ, John Kenneth Muir, has reviewed the first episode of the television show The X-Files! Read below to see what he had to say.

00124644After far too long an absence from television, Chris Carter’s The X-Files (1993-2002) returned to television on Monday night with an episode titled, cannily, “My Struggle.”

That title — not coincidentally, I presume — is also the translated-to-English title of Adolf Hitler’s 1925 literary autobiography, Mein Kampf.

That historical fact may prove the key to understanding better this new starting point for the series.

When we consider Hitler and his particular “struggle,” we think immediately of genocide, totalitarianism, and fascism.

We think of a man who destroyed both individual freedom, and the lives of millions of innocent people. That autobiography, written in a jail cell, laid out one man’s mad dream essentially, for Germany and the world.

Unfortunately, Hitler made much of that mad dream a reality before his death.

And if viewers and critics believe that this new X-Files series doesn’t address those very same issues, they aren’t paying close enough attention.

The title should cue them in.

Specifically, our old friends Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) — now estranged — are informed of a terrifying conspiracy by an Internet celebrity and fear peddler: Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale). 

Think Alex Jones meets Glenn Beck, only better dressed.

O’Malley’s story of an “evil” conspiracy in “My Struggle” involves the invasion of America, illicit scientific experiments on American citizens, and the vast expansion of a totalitarian state. 

In other words, the tale concerns a 21st century threat to our freedom not entirely unlike the threat to Germany (and later the Allies) in the 1930s and 1940s.

I have often written of Carter’s powerful sense of anticipatory anxiety in relation to The X-Files, Millennium (1993-1996) and Harsh Realm (1999-2000). In the nineties, he feared that the Clinton Era of Peace and Prosperity couldn’t last. We were so distracted by the Economic Boom created by the Internet that many of us weren’t paying attention to the larger world.

And Carter was right, of course. The Age of Peace and Prosperity — the Roaring Nineties,if you will — came to a crashing end on 9/11/2001.

Read his review in its entirety here.

John Kenneth Muir was also interviewed by Geek Chic Elite. The interview is available below!


With twenty five reference books to his credit, author John Kenneth Muir’s latest release is called THE X-FILES FAQ, which explores the 1990’s series that aired on Fox for nine seasons. Recently, we had a chance to talk to John about the new book, the legacy of creator Chris Carter and what his thoughts were on the six part X-Files ‘event’ series.

Were you always interested in writing and how did you move into the world of literary critic?

Well, I began my career as a literary critic, I think it was when I was five years old. My parents had the knowledge or foresight to sit me down in front of a British science fiction series called Space: 1999 and the episode I watched was called ‘Dragon’s Domain’ and it was about the people in the year 1999 encountering this horrible tentacle monster that would suck people into its mouth and spit out steaming bones. I was five years old and this just sort of struck me, the idea of these people of the future, because then of course 1999 was the distance future as this was 1975, I thought the people of the distant future and all of their technology but they’re encountering a monster. It was like science fiction meets horror, high tech meets gothic, it just obsessed me and it started the next decade I guess, in the eighties, I read all of these things about shows that I love like The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Twilight Zone and no one had written a book about Space: 1999 and I thought one of these days I’m going to write a book about this show and the values it had as this sort of gothic show. So I went to college, I studied in film, I had a concentration of film studies and so I kind of learned the language of film through that and then I thought, but what if I could analyze Space: 1999 through film studies techniques and boom, I had my first book. By 1994 I guess I was twenty five, I had a contract for my first book about Space: 1999 using my film study background and I been doing it now for twenty years about other topics I love.

Read more here

5 Ways To Overcome Age Discrimination in the Music Business

Author of Business Basics for Musicians, Bobby Borg, has teamed up with Music Insider Magazine as a guest author on their page! You can’t avoid getting older, that’s what author Bobby Borg wants you to know, but there are some ways to deal with the age discrimination that may occur in the music business. Read below to see what more Bobby Borg had to say!


00139915Although age can be a sensitive subject for most musicians, you must accept that there’s a general prejudice against aging in the commercial music industry. Generally speaking, the industry views music as a youth-oriented business. While this might totally infuriate you, be sure that age discrimination can be overcome by reading these five tips. 

1. Understand the Rationale: The idea is that a musician’s life expectancy in the pop, rock, R&B, and rap genres parallels that of an athlete’s career span in the sports world. As you approach the age of thirty-five, your chances of succeeding have significantly diminished.

While this is somewhat paradoxical, since musicians’ skills tend only to improve with age and experience, understand that most larger record companies rely heavily on youth, vitality, and sex appeal to sell music. They also prefer signing younger acts that, if successful, can bring them a return on their initial investment for several years to come. Be clear that these companies are businesses just like any other, and bottom line profits comes first and foremost.


Read the entire article HERE.


Win TV Finales FAQ!

Applause books has partnered with Erie Gay News to give away a copy of TV Finales FAQ to one lucky winner! Visit the page below to enter the contest, but hurry contest ends on February 16th. Best of luck!

>>Enter Here<<

00127918borderFrom Mary Richards’ heartfelt goodbye to the WJM-TV newsroom in the classic finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show to the puzzling conclusion of the enigmatic adventure series, Lost, to the tumultuous final hours in the life of Breaking Bad’s Walter White, TV Finales FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Endings to Your Favorite Shows by Stephen Tropiano and Holly Van Buren takes an up-close, insightful, and entertaining look at the most memorable final episodes of television’s most popular prime time, daytime, and late night series.
Crafting the final episode to a long-running television series can be challenging for producers and writers who want to remain faithful to the show’s characters and history, yet, at the same time, satisfy the high expectations of its loyal fan base. TV Finales FAQ offers television viewers the inside story on the creation, broadcast, and aftermath of the most famous (and infamous) final episodes of more than 50 television series from the 1960s through the present day.

In TV Finales FAQ, Tropiano and Van Buren dissect the final episodes that broke ratings records, like The Fugitive and M*A*S*H; those that left us scratching our heads, like Roseanne and The Sopranos; and the ones that propelled characters into the future – successfully or not – like Dawson’s Creek and Will & Grace.  The book also looks at soap operas, daytime and late-night talk show finales, and, in a section called “Saying Goodbye,” looks a series finales that presented their main characters with only one option: close up shop and move on.  Finally, the authors make their case for the best series finales, the ones that left critics thrilled, fans satiated, and television history changed.
The closing acts of Mad Men, Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Dark Shadows, Donahue, Sex and the City, All My Children, and dozens more shows can be found in TV Finales FAQ. Packed with details about casts and guest stars, airdates, ratings, production, and episode plots, it is a delectable read for any TV buff.

John Kenneth Muir on After Hours AM!

John Kenneth Muir author of The X-Files FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week, spoke with Joel Sturgis and Eric Olsen about his book and the X-Files TV series! Listen to the podcast below to learn more!


00124644The X-Files FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week explores Chris Carter’s popular 1990s science-fiction TV series, which aired on Fox for nine seasons and inspired spin-offs, including feature films, TV shows, toys, novels, and comic books. The book explores the series in terms of its historical context and analyzes how many of the episodes tackle the events of their time: the Clinton era. The X-Files FAQ also tallies the episodes that are based on true stories, selects touchstone moments from the almost decade-long run, and organizes the series by its fantastic subject matter – from serial killers to aliens, from prehistoric menaces to ethnic and religious-based horrors.

The X-Files FAQ also features a foreword written by screenwriter Chris Carter who credits John Muir for his impressive and thoughtful musings. In the book you’ll read that the writing on the show, X-Files, was only half what made the show what it is today. The people who worked on the show were working in a visual medium, and as Chris Carter states in the foreword “the show somehow managed to turn that rectangle box we all viewed each week into something special and often unexpected.”

In addition, the book recalls the TV antecedents (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and descendants (Fringe) of The X-Files, examines the two feature films, and investigates Chris Carter’s other creations, including Millennium, The Lone Gunmen, Harsh Realm, and The After. Featuring numerous stills and the show’s most prominent writers and directors, The X-Files FAQ allows readers to relive the “Mytharc” conspiracy and the unforgettable monsters of the week – from the Fluke Man to the Peacocks. 

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.


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