The X-Files FAQ

The X-Files FAQ

All That’s Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week

 by John Kenneth Muir


The 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. 

6.0″ x 9″
400 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


John Kenneth Muir is the author of 25 reference books, including Horror Films of the 1970s and Horror Films FAQ. John’s blog, Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV, was selected as one of the Internet’s “100 top Film Study” sites in 2010. In 2009, John appeared in the documentary Nightmares in Red, White and Blue with John Carpenter and Joe Dante. Muir is a communications and journalism teacher at South Piedmont Community College.


Alan Parsons discusses his Abbey Road lecture series at MusicRadar!

In advance of his lecture series at Abbey Road Studio, Alan Parsons author of, Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording, sat down with Tim Cant of MusicRadar.  Alan talked about his book (and the DVD set of the same name) and why he avoids using compression.

00333735Let’s get straight down to brass tacks. Tell us about your favourite desks!

“I think I’ve had the best luck with Neve, but having said that my biggest claim to fame, Pink Floyd’s //Dark Side of the Moon// was actually done on an EMI desk. I recently did an album with Stephen Wilson of Porcupine Tree, I did an album with him called The Raven That Refused to Sing and that was on a vintage Neve [RCA Custom 8028] Console at a studio here in California called EastWest, the same people that do the orchestral samples.”

Was there anything you particularly liked about that desk?

“Well, the opportunity is there to use external mic pre’s, that seems to be the way of the world right now, but I was perfectly happy to use the onboard pres most of the time. I’m a great believer in simplicity. It just complicates matters when you choose one mic pre for the kick drum, another one for the snare, a different one for the overheads…

“I just like to keep things simple. Having said that, my favourite mic pre which is also a limiter/compressor is the Universal Audio 6176… I’m looking at it right now. I’m also a big fan of the original dbx 160.”

Have you used the Universal Audio plugins?

“I use them all the time, I love their plugins, particularly their EMT plates! I use them on everything, any time I need reverb that would be my go-to.”

What about their range of compressors?

“I prefer to use external compressors and limiters. I tend to avoid compression and limiting, I never compress mixes, and I only ever usually limit two things: vocals and bass.”

Records are mastered very loud these days, so if you’re not compressing at the mixing stage the mastering engineer…

“I resist even letting the mastering engineer limit or compress. I mean, maybe just a dB of brickwall limiting for the peaks but otherwise no, I’d much rather leave it alone. If the consumer says it isn’t loud enough, turn it up! Do you think records sound as good as they used to?”


“Absolutely. The level war is the worst thing to happen to audio in years. Interestingly though there has always been a level war, even on vinyl.”

Read the rest of the interview over at MusicRadar!

The SG Guitar Book

The SG Guitar Book
50 Years of Gibson’s Stylish Solid Guitar

 by Tony Bacon


Backbeat Books’ acclaimed author Tony Bacon has written a new book that will appeal to all vintage guitar aficionados: The SG Guitar Book hits the shelves this month. In the tradition of Tony Bacon’s bestselling series of guitar books, The SG Guitar Book is three great volumes in one package: a collection of drool-worthy pictures of the coolest guitars; a gripping story from the earliest prototypes to the latest exploits; and a detailed collector’s database of every production SG model ever made.

To many guitar fans, it seems inconceivable that in 1960 Gibson dumped the sunburst Les Paul and, during the following year, introduced a completely new design. We know that design now as the SG – a name that stands, quite simply, for Solid Guitar. At the time, sales of the Les Paul were faltering, and Gibson decided to blow a breath of fresh air through its solidbody electric guitar line.

The company described the result as an “ultra-thin, hand-contoured, double-cutaway body.” The modernistic mix of bevels and points and angles was a radical departure, and this new book tells the story of all the SG models that followed and the success of this sometimes overlooked and underrated guitar.

All the stories are here of the classic Standards, Specials, Juniors, double-necks, Customs, and TVs, and also the lesser-known SGs, such as the Tributes, the Deluxe, the Supreme, and the Diablo, as well as related guitars like the Melody Maker and signature models for guitarists from Robby Krieger to Jimmy Page.

The book features also interviews with and stories about Gibson personnel through the years, and all the major SG players, including Pete Townshend, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Angus Young, George Harrison, Gary Rossington, Tony Iommi, and Derek Trucks.

The SG Guitar Book is another title that guitar players will not want to miss in their collection.


8.5″ x 11.0″
135 pages
BackBeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation


Tony Bacon writes about musical instruments, musicians, and music. He is a co-founder of Backbeat UK and Jawbone Press. Tony’s books include The Ibanez Electric Guitar Book, The Ultimate Guitar Book, and History Of The American Guitar. He lives in Bristol, England.Gretsch, Sg cover

Harvey Kubernik on Thrasher’s Wheat Radio Show!

Harvey Kubernik, author of Neil Young: Heart of Gold was a guest on Thrasher’s Wheat Radio Show on Neil Young’s Birthday, November 12. They spoke about some pivotal moments that really inform and shape the book and what Harvey Kubernik learned while writing it! Listen below and let us know what you think!


00138576Just in time for Young’s 70th birthday last week, veteran music writer and pop culture historian Harvey Kubernik, explores every aspect of Young’s remarkable life and career in Neil Young: Heart of Gold. Kubernik’s exclusive interviews with fellow musicians, record producers, engineers, music journalists, film directors, and loyal fans combine with a wealth of photographs, many previously unpublished, to create a unique tribute to a true rock legend.

Among those featured are musicians Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren, and Richie Furay; filmmaker Jim Jarmusch; photographer Henry Diltz; and many more.

With a retrospective commentary on Neil Young’s studio and live albums, a complete discography, and photographs and memorabilia from throughout his career, Neil Young: Heart of Gold places Young’s musical achievements within the context of his life – an essential and timely celebration.

Confessions of a Serial Songwriter

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, coming in March from Applause Books, has given us an insight into her journey of making her book a reality on her blog at It wasn’t an easy journey and it certainly wasn’t quick either but that hasn’t stopped her from making it happen. Take a look at what she had to say about her journey, below!

COASS-Final_CVR_152159We songwriters are like children. We start talking about things way too early. Like a new tune that P!nk might record or an upcoming single. When we’re excited about something we just can’t help it. It’s in our nature.

For instance, I’ve been yapping about my book “Confessions of a Serial Songwriter” for over a year now.  When I embarked on my journey I had no idea what I was doing or how to even get started. Much like how I felt when I wrote my first song. Stumble. Fall. Get up. Stumble again. Keep going. All I knew is that I was confused by a changing music business and I felt a need to write about it and tell everyone that I was doing so.

Well, I thought sure I’d have the book out by last March but was humbled to find that the completion of a book is a lot more complicated than a 3 minute song. You keep thinking you’re finished. But you’re not.

When I thought I was finished for the fifth time, I sent my manuscript into Backbeat Books, a publisher whose passion is music, songwriters, musicians. I felt sure Backbeat would be the perfect home for my story.


So I went on to Plan B: I’d find an agent who could make proper introductions to publishers. Of particular interest to me was a woman whose name I’d seen credited in several music related publications: Ronny Schiff. But Ronny had no website. No Facebook Page. She was un-findable. Next!

Read the rest of her story over at her blog,

Michael Beinhorn on Recording Studio Rockstars!

Michael Beinhorn, author of Unlocking Creativity was a guest on the Recording Studio Rockstars Podcast, hosted by Lij Shaw.  They spoke about his book and his career as a music producer, Beinhorn also talked about his experience working with artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Korn. Listen to the full podcast below!


00122314Here, record producer Beinhorn reveals how to deal with interpersonal issues record producers face when they work with artists one on one or in small groups. The situations and solutions are based upon the author’s personal and professional experience working with a variety of different artists, such as Herbie Hancock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soul Asylum, Hole, Soundgarden, Ozzy Osbourne, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Social Distortion, Korn, and Mew.

Beinhorn’s unique methods and perspective, applied to record producing and music making in the studio, opens the door to successful collaborative efforts. The author shows you how to find what he calls your sensory connection to the creativity process, which ultimately helps you find the intent behind your creative choices. You can read dozens of articles and books that feature a hundred different people talking about what microphones they used when they recorded Record X or how they set their stereo buss compressor, but you will never find out what prompted them to make these choices. Beinhorn’s focus on collaborative effort enables record producers and artists to find solutions while working as a creative team.

This perspective is especially valuable as it is transdisciplinary and can be applied to many occupations and modes of creativity outside of record production.

Michael Jackson FAQ

In this video, Kit O’Toole introduces her book Michael Jackson FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of Pop!  Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

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 (November 2015, Backbeat Books, $19.99) 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.

What Will the Music Business Look Like in 2020?

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, is back to give us some new insight on the music business! It’s impossible to actually know what the future holds for any of us, but in this blog post from Sonicbids, Bobby Borg has some predictions from music industry professionals.. Check them out below!

So, what can we expect in the year 2020? Let’s see what this group of attorneys, music publishers, managers, and music industry entrepreneurs had to say.

001399151. Copyright laws will catch up with new trends and technologies

“Several trends have emerged and will continue to emerge as the music business evolves into a service-based business. More and more people are tuning in to all-you-can-listen streaming programs like Spotify and Rdio.

“In this same vein, younger fans want all of their content to be accessible on all of their devices, but do not care whether they own the content or not. They also want the opportunity to interact with the music they listen to, be it through remixes, mash-ups, or fan videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, our copyright laws are antiquated and do not allow these trends to develop.

“Over the next five to 10 years, I think we will see an overhaul of the United States’ copyright system. I also expect to see artists further expanding their brands into nontraditional revenue streams. Soon, fans will be able to surround themselves almost entirely with their favorite artists through branded products, multi-media projects, and other avenues we have not even begun to explore yet.” – Dina LaPolt, LaPolt Law, P.C.


2. Focus will shift to exciting music – not the latest technical trends

“Good music will always be the future, whether it be 2015, 2020, or 2025. When jazz arrived on the scene, it was controversial, exciting, and real – as was rock, rap, and EDM. It propelled the business forward and gave it life. But what’s next?

The year 2020 must be marked by a new direction in music that shakes up the world and puts the focus back on the art and the creators – not on the latest technical trend. Who cares about downloads, streaming, or whatever new technology is invented? In 2020, music will shine again! Those who create something unique will thrive.” – Mike Gormley, LA Personal Management; former manager of the Bangles, Oingo Boingo, and Danny Elfman

Read the rest of the article over at Sonicbids.

Facts about A Chorus Line FAQ

Masterworks Broadway recently reviewed Tom Rowan’s book A Chorus Line FAQWhile this is an FAQ book, Peter Filichia points out that Rowan doesn’t set it up as a simple question and answer book. Instead Rowan “gives a straightforward account of how one of the most beloved of Broadway musicals got started and succeeded.” To celebrate the musical’s 40th anniversary, Filichia soured A Chorus Line FAQ, for 40 fun facts…

In honor of the show’s fortieth anniversary, here are the forty facts from A Chorus Line FAQ that most interested me:

  1. Baayork Lee, the original Connie, calls A Chorus Line “the first reality show.” (All right, not quite, but I see her point.)
  1. The real Coco Chanel liked director-choreographer Michael Bennett so much that she “tried to persuade him to give up the theater in favor of the fashion industry.”


  1. Co-librettist Nicholas Dante’s real last name was Morales – a name that was certainly put to use in the finished product.
  1. Dante was one of two finalists for the ensemble of Applause; the other was Sammy Williams, who five years later would tell Dante’s story as Paul in A Chorus Line.
  1. Co-librettist James Kirkwood’s life story is one, as Jack Kruschen sings in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, “that only Turgenev maybe could write.” (How harrowing! I won’t spoil it for you here.)
  1. Bobby Thomas, a drummer, turned out to be far more important to the show than the average drummer is on a musical. (Once again, I won’t give away the story.)
  1. “Hamlisch was irritated by Kleban’s smoking.” So should we all have been; it cost the lyricist his life at the much-too-earlyage of forty-eight.
  1. Many who were involved early on doubted that the show was ever going to amount to anything, but the day that Hamlisch and Kleban performed “At the Ballet” gave them newfound hope.
  1. For the finale, the original plan was to have Zach, , the martinet director-choreographer, choose a person from the audience who would then be the centerpiece and star of “One.” (This isn’t in the book, but Number Eight started me thinking: How about a benefit performance of A Chorus Line in which our favorite female stars – Chenoweth, Foster, LuPone, McDonald, Menzel, Peters, et al. – take turns in being the star celebrated in “One”? As H.C. Curry says in 110 in the Shade, “I’d like to see that.”)
  1. There was much discussion on whether to keep to the time-honored two-couple structure of the average musical; you know, Billy and Julie aren’t alone in Carousel, for Carrie and Enoch are there, too. For a while, the Chorus Line creators thought that Zach and Cassie shouldn’t be the only ones with a romantic history, but that Sheila and Don should have previously been lovers, too.

Read the rest of the facts over at Masterworks Broadway!

Dave Thompson on The Peter Tilden Show!

Haunted America FAQ author, Dave Thompson, was a guest on The Peter Tilden Show on KABC in Los Angeles! He spoke with Peter about how and why he decided to write Haunted America FAQ and also talks about the most pointed out some of the most haunted locations in Los Angeles and around the country.  Listen to the full podcast below!


00128461Asked if she believed in ghosts, Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand (1697-1780) replied, “No, but I am afraid of them.”

Whether you share the Marquise’s position or not, there is no doubt that the idea visitors from the afterlife has gripped humankind since time began. Ancient cultures East and West took spirits for granted, and reported sightings continue to this day—many of them close to home in every corner of the United States.

In Haunted America FAQ, Dave Thompson has created a fast-paced survey of the ghosts, ghouls, and associated denizens of the country’s haunted history. Tracing local ghost stories back to Native American legends and then forward through horror tales both ancient and modern, the book revisits some of the best-known haunted locales, as well as some of the most obscure creepy places, in America.

Delving deep into the cultural history of American hauntings, Haunted America FAQ features chapters on ghosts in cemeteries, amusement parks, government buildings, hospitals, and more, as well as ghostly books, movies, and television. Also included are a roundup of reality-TV ghost hunts and a state-by-state gazetteer of haunted spots.

Haunted America FAQ will amaze believers and skeptics alike with the history and range of spectral sightings it uncovers from around the country and, maybe, just around the corner.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers