Maynard James Keenan on the PW LitCast

Maynard James Keenan along with Sarah Jensen took a moment with Mark Rotella of Publisher’s Weekly to discuss their joint effort and latest Backbeat Books release, A Perfect Union of Contrary Things, for the PW LitCast. The PW LitCast are conversations between Publisher’s Weekly editors and authors of new fiction and nonfiction books. Take a listen below.


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A Perfect Union of Contrary Things presents the outtakes, the scenes of disappointment and triumph, and the events that led him to take one step after the next, to change direction, to explore sometimes surprising opportunities.

The interview covered an array of topics including: how the book came to be, the relationship between Maynard and Sarah, the writing process, hesitations, Maynard’s wine venture, and more.

Maynard had contemplated writing a biography 7 years ago, but he put the idea on the back burner because it just didn’t feel right. The point of biography is to inspire readers, not air dirty laundry.

Most journalists are very sensationalists. They’ll try to latch on to the things that are gonna, you know, be click bait; gain headlines. Just kind of further their own career rather than tell a story.

-Maynard James Keenan

Included throughout are passages in Keenan’s own words, often humorous anecdotes that illuminate the narrative. There is also commentary by his family members, friends, instructors, and industry colleagues. The book also features a foreword by Alex Grey, an American visionary artist and longtime friend of Keenan, who has designed Tool’s album and stage art.

As for Maynard’s relationship with Sarah? The two have known each other for over 30 years as Maynard was best friends with her younger brother back in high school. He ended up asking her to write the biography one night at dinner as they were catching up.

If you know Maynard My initial reaction was total shock because were talking about a whole bunch of other things… It felt like everything I had ever done in my life had led to that moment. All the writing I had done. Everything I had learned about publishing. It just was like, okay, here we go.

-Sarah Jensen

The writing was so organic between them as they understood each other. The two were able to bond over the fact they both enjoyed storytelling and this interview gave further insight to that.

A Perfect Union of Contrary Things presents Maynard James Keenan’s story as a metaphor for the reader’s own evolution and an encouragement to follow our dreams, hold fast to individual integrity, and work ceaselessly to fulfill our creative potential.

Tom Harkins on The Meltdown

Pearl Jam has been nominated for the 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame among the likes of 19 other artists including: Janet Jackson, Journey, Tupac, and Electric Light Orchestra. Tom Harkins, co-author chatted with Meltdown on WRIF (Detroit) to discuss Pearl Jam FAQ. Listen to the interview below.


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00139507fcPearl Jam FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Seattle’s Most Enduring Band authors Thomas Edward Harkins and Bernard M. Corbett explore the entire arc of the band’s career, from their pre-Pearl Jam days to the present. Each of 30 chapters explores a different aspect of Pearl Jam’s fascinating history.

In the interview with Meltdown, To shared the chemistry of the band, who should be inducted when they get in the RNR Hall Of Fame, the battle with Ticketmaster, plus more. While Harkins said he is not the die hard fan as the co-author, he was able to share his personal touch and insight to the band and their story.

A band has a life cycle like a human and it’s a story of coming of age.

-Tom Harkins

Beyond the music, Pearl Jam FAQ takes a long look at the way Pearl Jam adapted to an ever-changing media landscape where MTV, not radio, is the major power broker. The book also addresses their battles with Ticketmaster and explores about the roots of their socio-political activism.

When asked what surprised Tom the most about the band:

I think the level of their social political activism. Their dedication to causes beyond themselves.

Pearl Jam FAQ dives into the band members’ successes, failures, and tragedies prior to joining forces, as well as their early days as Mookie Blaylock and the unusual manner in which they came up with the name finally stuck. Harkins and Corbett go inside the studio and analyze each of their albums in turn and hit the road with them as they set out to conquer Seattle, the West Coast of the United States, and then the entire world.

With a view of the band from every angle and in every context – on CD, on vinyl, on the radio, on television, on film, in videos, onstage, backstage, on the road, in the air, and at home – through the eyes of Pearl Jam enthusiasts, Pearl Jam FAQ presents a must-have text for band devotees to devour.

 

Tribute to Leonard Cohen

Musician and poet, Leonard Cohen, has died at age 82. In celebration of his 80th birthday back in 2014, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows by Harvey Kubernick was published. The book is a celebration of the life, music, and poetry of the unique artist and music legend. Kubernick sat down with Talk Radio Europe when the book was released to discuss the book and life of Cohen. Take a listen below.


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00126365Cohen arrived at the 1960s pop-music party fashionably late, releasing his debut album – Songs of Leonard Cohen – in 1967. At the age of 33, he was the adult in the room, a room brimming, then as now, with literary pretension and artistic self-importance. But Cohen, already established as a respected poet and novelist, was the real deal. In the decades since, he has battled with drugs, love, and bankruptcy; become a Buddhist monk while simultaneously reaffirming his Jewish faith; and recorded 11 more albums of unfailingly affecting beauty.

The interview with Talk Radio Europe discussed the evolution and mastermind of Leonard Cohen. From his song ‘Suzanne’ to the infamous ‘Hallelujah,’ Harvey Kubernik gave Talk Radio Europe listeners a snapshot into it all. In addition to the art of Cohen, Kubernick discussed their countless encounters providing further insight into Cohen’s personality and legacy.

I think the songs continue because they can be done by rock bands and  they can be done instrumentally. They can be done by female and male vocalists. I think almost superseding the legacy of music. I know things started on the printed page and he started as a writer, but I also know people that buy Hallelujah, or see it, or want to sing along with it; not all of them in the audience have Leonard’s books or anthologies. So there’s something about what he’s offering on stage.

-Harvey Kubernik

With an insider’s knowledge, author Harvey Kubernik reviews Cohen’s unique achievements, beginning as a young poet in Montreal through his 2012 album, Old Ideas, and his acclaimed worldwide concert tour. Illustrated with 200 rare photographs and items of memorabilia and featuring the recollections and comments of those who have worked with him and are close to him.

The man. The music. The poet. The visionary.

Kit O’Toole on Classic Pop Culture

Michael Jackson a name that will cemented in history forever. Kit O’Toole, author of Michael Jackson FAQ,sat down with Steve Ludwig of Classic Pop Culture to discuss the book in addition to how Michael revolutionized modern music and pop culture.


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00125022Michael Jackson FAQ 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.

The purpose of this book was not to focus on the controversy surrounding Michael or even his life, this was to focus on him as an artist. Kit explained that so many books has been written about those topics, but she wanted to stress his contribution to music and pop culture instead.

He did so many thing and revolutionized music video. He made an impact opening doors for a lot of African-American artists.

-Kit O’Toole

The interview continued with O’Toole sharing 10 songs from Michael’s solo and years with the Jacksons going more in depth with a few sharing the art of the songs from his vocals to the writing and collaborations. Steve Ludwig went through each of the 41 chapters pin pointing a few here and there for further discussion. This interview zoned in on the art and musical genius of Michael Jackson.

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.

The interview touched on Michael’s relationship with his brother, Jermaine, in reference to the chapter ‘Whenever You Need Me I’ll Be There: The Unique Singing Chemistry of Michael and Jermaine Jackson.’ O’Toole also discussed Michael’s friendships with Queen’s Freddie Mercury and producer/songwriter, Rod Temperton. The friendships that Michael Jackson created in the industry was displayed in his music as he was the pioneer of fusing Rock, R&B, and Pop.

Most importantly, 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.

That’s what I hope that people walk away with is renewed appreciation of what he did, what he left us, and how his legacy is enduring.

-Kit O’Toole

The Bass Book Interview with Bass Musician Magazine

Authors of The Bass Book: A Complete Illustrated HistoryTony Bacon and Barry Moorhouse, sat down for a live Skype interview with Raul Amador of Bass Musician Magazine. Bass Musician Magazine is a free online bass magazine speaking directly to tech-savvy bass players, gear enthusiasts and industry professionals around the world.


This revised and refreshed third edition of The Bass Book offers all there is to know about the story of the bass guitar in one stylish and up-to-date volume.

The interview covered the idea behind the book and the evolution of the bass. There was discussion of the instrument once being the headliner, but recently has faded to the back becoming more of a footnote. There’s a lot of innovation in the bass from the design to how many strings. What doe the future hold for the bass?

The bass guitar is a very seductive instrument, but used properly it can change the course of a piece of music.

-Tony Bacon

Bass cover frontThe Bass Book is the first to study its story, with the full low-down of the most important bass players and bass makers. Brands featured in the book include Alembic, Danelectro, Epiphone, Fender, Fodera, Gibson, Hofner, Ibanez, Lakland, Line 6, Music Man, Peavey, Rickenbacker, Sadowsky, Spector, Squier, Steinberger, Warwick, and Yamaha. The lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums that would define pop music found its heart with the Fender bass. The bass guitar provided the solid foundation upon which much modern music is still built.

As Raul suggested in wrapping up this interview, for someone that is into the instrument, this book is great reference on the history.


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, History Of The American Guitar, and many others. He lives in Bristol, England.

Barry Moorhouse founded the Bass Center, his specialist bass-guitar retail and distribution operation, in London in 1984. Now in its fourth decade, it continues as a worldwide operation. Through his associate company House Music, Moorhouse represents Brian May guitars in partnership with the Queen legend.

Shelly Peiken Talks Politics

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, has weighed in on tomorrow’s presidential election on her blog. She titles it ‘Eeny, Meeny, Miny-Moe.’ Check out the excerpt below:


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I don’t post about politics. I’d much rather stick to musical musings. But I keep writing about thissong and that session while chaotic un-presidented (not a typo) pre-election activities are in my face 24/7. I feel like I’m ignoring the elephant (and the donkey) in the room. So here goes…

I’ve always been a registered Independent. I pride myself on straddling the middle…reserving my options. (I also drive a convertible but rarely put the top down—shame on me—but when I do, I love it and I’m happy to have the choice.)

There’s a lot of unrest in this country. Voices haven’t been heard—voices that fear they still won’t be heard if we stay within the boundaries of established politicians, even if they are “qualified.” Nobody wants a dynasty.

Then again, to have someone who isn’t the most suitable change agent promise change, is also cause for dismay.

There’s no turning back now, however. We all knew about her privacy and his audacity when we voted in the primaries. We made our beds and here we are. I’ve unfollowed friends on Facebook to shield myself from the vitriol and sarcasm. I hope we learn from the toxicity and perhaps there’ll be a silver lining to all this madness in the future.


 

Read the full blog post here.


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Confessions of a Serial Songwriter is an amusing and poignant memoir about songwriter Shelly Peiken’s journey from young girl falling under the spell of magical songs to working professional songwriter writing hits of her own. It’s about growing up, the creative process – the highs and the lows, the conflicts that arise between motherhood and career success, the divas and schemers, but also the talented and remarkable people she’s found along the way. It’s filled with stories and step-by-step advice about the songwriting process, especially collaboration. And it’s about the challenge of staying relevant in a rapidly changing and youth-driven world

Susan Masino Talks AC/DC on The Slacker Morning Show

AC/DC FAQ author Susan Masino shared her account of her three decade friendship with the band on The Slacker Morning Show (101 The Fox, Kansas City) listeners. With AC/DC playing in the background, this fast paced interview took listeners along with Susan on a stroll down memory lane. Take a listen below.


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00120817fcAC/DC FAQ captures that danger and that insanity. Rock journalist and author Susan Masino spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973 and covering everything from their earliest days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

Susan Masino was one of the first American journalist to interview AC/DC during their first U.S. Tour. She met them before their stardom when they were playing in clubs. She watched their evolution and transformation in rock music as they moved up the ranks eventually opening for KISS and Aerosmith.

Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history.

“It was a horrible tragedy for the band. It’s just an amazing rock and roll miracle that they found Bryan Johnson, continued the recording of Back in Black, and as they say the rest is history.

-Susan Masino

Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album, Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest-grossing tour in history.


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Susan Masino has been a rock journalist for more than 30 years and has written six books, including Family Tradition: Three Generations of Hank Williams, published by Backbeat Books, and The Story of AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, which has now been published in 11 languages. She also appears in the Van Halen DVD The Early Years and the movie AC/DC: Let There Be Rock.

The Art of Horror Wins at the World Fantasy Convention

Following it’s Bram Stoker award win earlier this year, Stephen Jones’, The Art of Horror: An Illustrated History, has received an award at the World Fantasy Convention. The awards were presented on the during this years convention in Columbus, Ohio at the World Fantasy Awards banquet. Awards ranged from lifetime achievement to various aspects of art and literature.


Since it’s beginnings in 1975, The World Fantasy Convention has continued as an annual gathering and reunion of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of light and dark fantasy art and literature. The Art of Horror was nominated in the category the Special – Professional category.

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In The Art of Horror: An Illustrated History  multi-award winning horror and dark fantasy writer and editor Stephen Jones brings together thrilling visuals of the horror genre that have bewitched audiences since the 19th century. These images continue to inspire nightmarish creatures that wander the streets every Halloween; the tradition of bone-chilling campfire stories; and let’s not forget the psyche-scarring films audiences can’t get enough of.

It is a celebration of frightful images, compiled and presented by some of the genre’s most respected names, including a foreword by cult favorite Neil Gaiman. Readers will be ensnared by the shockingly lurid and hauntingly beautiful color photos and illustrations representing every aspect of the horror genre since Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the 19th century.

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, demons, serial killers, alien invaders, and more, it’s all here. From early engravings – via dust jackets, book illustrations, pulp magazines, movie posters, comic books, and paintings – to today’s artists working entirely in the digital realm. Stephen Jones and his exceptional team of contributors have sourced visuals from archives and private collections (including their own) worldwide, ensuring an unprecedented selection for those discovering the genre and the most committed fans. The Art of Horror is the ultimate collection to indulge the dark side in everyone.

Stephen Jones  is the leading authority on the fascinating history of horror. He is a Hugo Award nominee, the winner of four World Fantasy Awards, three International Horror Guild Awards, four Bram Stoker Awards, twenty-one British Fantasy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Horror Association. One of Britain’s most acclaimed horror and dark fantasy writers and editors, he has more than 130 books to his credit.


To order a copy of the book, click here.

Dracula FAQ with Pop Culture Tonight

Just in time for Halloween, Dracula FAQ and Pop Culture Tonight unite!

Dracula FAQ author, Bruce Scivally, sat down with Patrick Phillips of Pop Culture Tonight for the Halloween segment, ‘Monsters of Pop Culture,’ to discuss the little known facts and history of Count Dracula. Pop Culture Tonight is a half-hour, internationally syndicated talk radio show with a focus on All Things Entertainment; without the scandal or sensationalism!


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What exactly is a vampire? Are they real? Is it all a myth? Author Bruce Scivally explored this topic among others in his discussion on Pop Culture Tonight. He went on to explain that every culture has a different belief in vampires. The more modern take stems from Eastern-European, but the common notion is that they either suck the blood or life from someone.

00127075fcAs for the evolution of Dracula Bruce discussed not only the creation of the character, but its infamous portrayals including Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. Lee in particular was the first to portray the mainstream vampire with the notorious fangs. The character has changed hands, depending on the interpretation, to portray not just a sexier character, but the evil that the mainstream knows so well.

For all the Twilight and True Blood fans, Bruce shared that there’s actually a metaphor that lies behind the characters. As for the common myths when it comes to vampires? In most books to kill them you’d have to drive a stake or a silver dagger through its heart while in movies they’re killed with direct exposure to sunlight.


Dracula FAQ unearths little-known facts about both the historical and literary Dracula. The 15th-century warlord Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler and Dracula (son of the Dragon), became a legendary figure in his native Wallachia. Four hundred years later, Irish author Bram Stoker appropriated Dracula’s name for a vampire novel he spent seven years researching and writing.

It’s a book you can really sink your teeth into.

-Bruce Scivally


Be sure to take a listen!

LGBTQ Comedic Monologues Creators Chat With FreakSugar

LGBTG Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny author Alisha Gaddis, along with contributors Ilana Turner and Jamison Scala, sat down with FreakSugar to discuss the book among other topics.


Before I get into the compilation, what can you tell me about your backgrounds?

00146677Alisha: I have been incredibly fortunate to perform all over the world in different capacities as an actor and comic (my first love). I’m in a band for children that has a kids’ television show, Lishy Lou and Lucky Too, which my husband and I created, produced and star in for PBS. Along with my husband, I also run an Artist Consulting company empowering other artists. I write books and articles, and I get to travel doing what I am passionate about. It is pretty spectacular, and I am very grateful to have success in order to keep doing what I do!  (And winning an Emmy and Grammy doesn’t hurt things…)

Jamison: I grew up in NJ and went to college in Philadelphia, Temple to be exact. I moved to LA right out of college and when traditional acting classes didn’t inspire me, I got involved in improv at The Second City. I quickly fell in love and improv and sketch has become a large part of my life, taking me all over the world performing comedy.

Ilana : Having this monologue, Sugar Coat It, included in LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funnyis lovely because monologues were the first theatrical things I ever wrote. I’ve always written in one form or another, but when I started to take acting seriously, at Hampshire College, we had to write and perform a short solo show — basically a monologue. I was always terrified of writing dialogue, but I could write monologues. When I started to work on what became my first full-length play, O Réjane, I was trying to write myself a full-length solo show — a vehicle as an actress — but I could never get it to work. Thankfully, I fell in love with writing dialogue and the play was much better for it. I cast someone else in the lead role, played a supporting role and that turned out to be a great decision. That lead actress, Cara Pifko, won the first ever Stage Raw LA Theatre Award for Leading Female Performance and I was nominated for Playwriting — which felt like a huge win. I’ve continued writing plays ever since O Réjane premiered in 2014.

As an actress, I’ve been lucky enough to work in commercials, with some great directors, on stage and in indie film. I’ve done a bit of TV, too, like HBO’s Big Love and several what they call ‘back-door’ pilots.

Alisha. what can you tell us about the genesis behind LGBT Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny?

Alisha: LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny was a natural progression in the Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny series for Hal Leonard/ Applause Acting.  Prior, I had put out the Women’sMen’sTeen Girl’sTeen Boy’s, and Kids’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny versions — and there was still a large gap of LGBTQ performers left within the performing arts population.  I am an advocate for trying to represent all persons in every way, so this book was a good way to start.

Ilana and Jamison, how did you become involved with contributing to the compilation?

Ilana: I used to do a lot of improv iO West, and I met Alisha Gaddis there. Alisha helmed all the books in the Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny seriesWhen she put out a call for material for this book, I immediately sent her my pitch. Thankfully, she liked it!

Jamison: Great news, Facebook isn’t just for spending hours comparing yourself to other people! Through Facebook, my friend JP (also a contributor to the book) connected me with Alisha who was looking for writers.

Alisha, I really enjoyed the compilation, but, after having read it, I realized that there has been a bit of a guff in terms of a lack of these types of monologues available for LGBTQ actors. Was that one of the impetuses behind bringing this project together?

Alisha: This is the VERY FIRST book of its kind.  That was a HUGE wake-up call for me. As an ally to the LGBTQ community- when I would go to bookshops and see my books alongside others in the same genre- I first got really excited!  But then realized there is a massive hole in the representation of this community- for actors who are LGBTQ and also actors auditioning for roles that are LGTBQ (which are becoming more and more “mainstream” by the minute- thankfully!) This had to be changed ASAP!  I am grateful to have publishers who felt the same.


To read the interview in its entirety, click here.


 LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny is the first and only book of its kind. This cutting-edge and incredibly hysterical monologue book is specifically for actors auditioning for LGBTQ roles. It features works by LGBT writers and comics (and their allies) who have written and/or performed for Comedy Central, Backstage magazine, NBC, the Huffington Post, the Onion, Second City, E!, and many more. This collection is the go-to source for the comedic monologue needs of actors seeking LGBT material, as well as a paean to LGBT characters and artists.