Happy Birthday, Ringo!

00333865Ringo Starr, the most famous drummer there ever was, turns 75 today! Backbeat Books is marking the day with the publication of Ringo: With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr (no relation!).  Here’s a link to Michael’s recent visit to Good Morning America, and 15 fun facts you may not have known about Ringo!



Tony Sclafani Talks About the Grateful Dead’s Farewell Concerts on WGN Radio

As the band’s farewell concert neared, Tony Sclafani, author The Grateful Dead FAQ, spoke with Brian Noonan on WGN Radio about the cultural and musical impact of the Grateful Dead.


00333698The Grateful Dead rose out of San Francisco’s ’60s underground rock scene with an unprecedented sound and image. Its members, steeped in rock, folk, classical, and blues; their instrumental prowess; and their refusal to bow to commercial conventions helped originate jam band music. Unapologetic in its advocacy of drug use as a means toward mind expansion, the Dead helped catapult psychedelic music. After performing at the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock, the group became iconic without ever scoring a hit single. A large, devoted fan base – “Deadheads” – began to follow the band everywhere. The group suffered a tragedy when bandleader Jerry Garcia slipped into a coma in 1986, but returned the next year with a top-selling album and surprise hit single, “Touch of Grey.” By 1993, the Dead was the top-grossing live act in the United States. The band ended when Garcia died in 1995, but the music lives on with a stream of live releases.

In Grateful Dead FAQ, Tony Sclafani examines the band’s impact and influence on rock music and pop culture. This book ventures into unexplored areas and features a host of rare images, making it a must-have for both Deadheads and casual fans.

Max Mobley on WAAF!

Max Mobley, author of Rush FAQ, talks with Mike Hsu of WAAF about his book and Rush’s “R40 Live 40th Anniversary Tour”!


00110231Rush FAQ documents the amazing story of the world’s greatest Canadian prog rock power trio, from its origins in a church basement in Willowdale, Ontario, to its induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Covering 40 albums, 10 DVDs, thousands of mesmerizing live shows, and millions of rock’s most loyal fans, the story of Rush is as epic and unique as its music. Rush has been maligned by the press for decades, and misunderstood by a legion of mainstream rock fans and rock glitterati. And yet only the Beatles and Rolling Stones have earned more gold and platinum records. Few artists, if any, have been as influential as Rush’s three virtuoso – bassist-keyboardist-vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer-lyricist Neil Peart.

Rush’s focus has always been about its muse and its music. As such, Rush FAQ studies the evolution of the band’s sound, from the early days of Zeppelin-esque blues-rock to complex, synth-laden opuses to the return of concept-album bombast with the critically acclaimed Clockwork Angels.

With wit, humor, and authority, music industry veteran and unabashed Rush geek Max Mobley examines the music, gear, personalities, and trials and tribulations of one of rock and roll’s truly legendary acts. It is a story Rush fans will treasure and rock and roll fans will admire.

“Shout It Out Loud” Trailer

Coming soon in Fall 2015 from Backbeat Books 

Shout It Out Loud: The Story of Kiss’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon

00141630How does an underground oddity become a cultural phenomenon?

For over 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 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.

Brian Solomon on WGN Radio

Brian Solomon, author of Pro Wrestling FAQ, talks with Nick Digilio of WGN Radio about his new book!


00126963Sport? Entertainment? Art form? Perhaps a bit of all three, with a certain intangible extra something thrown in for good measure, making professional wrestling a truly unique entity unto itself. From its origins in carnivals and sideshow attractions of the 19th century, right up to the multimillion-dollar, multimedia industry of the present day, and all the bizarre, wild, and woolly points in between, Pro Wrestling FAQ delves into the entire history and broad scope of one of popular culture’s most enduring yet ever-changing spectacles.

With chapters devoted to the many fascinating eras in the history of the business, as well as capsule biographies of some its most memorable and important figures, this book will serve as the ultimate one-volume reference guide for both long-time wrestling nuts and initiates to the grappling phenomenon.

Revisit the legendary 1911 “Match of the Century” pitting World Champion Frank Gotch against archrival George Hackenschmidt, “the Russian Lion”; experience wrestling’s TV golden age in the 1950s, a time of such colorful personages as Gorgeous George and Antonino Rocca; relive the glory days of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, when WWF impresario Vince McMahon took the business mainstream; and get the lowdown on recent favorites, such as John Cena, CM Punk, and others who have taken the business boldly into the 21st century.

Susan Masino on BBC Suffolk

Susan Masino, author of AC/DC FAQ, talks with Stephen Foster of BBC Suffolk about AC/DC and her new book! Listen here or visit their website!


00120817AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973. This book covers everything from their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

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. 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. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

The Guitar Amp Handbook: Updated and Expanded Edition

The Guitar Amp Handbook: Updated and Expanded Edition is now available! Dave Hunter, author of this newest edition, has provided us with some words about the book and how it differs from the previous edition!

Guitar-Amp cover REVISE.qxdWhen we talk about “the electric guitar,” the thing that makes it electric in the first place is the amplifier. The electric guitar simply isn’t a musical instrument in any meaningful, expressive way without major assistance from this glowing box of tricks, and, in fact the majority of its sonic capabilities and unfettered versatility are generated within the amp itself. To the non-guitar-playing observer, it might seem odd to be updating and expanding a book that, when first published ten years ago, celebrated a long-outdated technology. But tube amps continue to be the first choice of tone-conscious guitarists around the world—amateur and professional alike—and designers and manufacturers are today producing amps that are better sounding and more varied in their capabilities than ever before. As such, the Updated And Expanded Edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers And Getting Great Sounds accounts for the full spectrum of tube amps available to the player today, taking the reader inside the pulsing, glowing hearts of these powerful tone generators in a quest to better equip guitarists for their own creative endeavors.

The original edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook covered everything you as a guitarist need to know to better understand what’s going on under the hood, how tubes help to generate great tones, how to choose the right amp for your music, and how to make the most of whatever tube amp you might already own. Chapters took the reader step-by-step through the basic signal chain inside the amp, explored the crucial components and how different ingredients can lead to variations in tone, put the main circuit stages under the microscope, looked under the hood of several classic tube amps with full-color inside-the-chassis photos and detailed notes to examine how they tick, discussed speakers and cabs, offered amp maintenance tips, and much more. Now, the Updated And Expanded Edition takes it all to another level.

“Tube technology might be considered archaic compared to other realms of consumer electronics, but that doesn’t mean the guitar-amp world has sat still since I wrote the original edition ten years ago,” says the book’s author, Dave Hunter. “So much has happened meanwhile, and guitarists’ thinking about tube amps, the way they use them, and what they expect to get from them has evolved considerably, too. Tube amp design and construction remains a living art, into which new developments are born every day, and getting this popular book back up to speed demanded a major re-think, and a lot of extra work.”

Bringing a boatload of new information to the reader and a lot more value along with it, the Updated And Expanded Edition improves upon and adds to the original edition in several ways.

  • Every chapter has been thoroughly re-examined by the author and, where possible, updated in line with new developments and a deeper understanding of the tube-amp market as it exists today. 
  • Coverage of modern, high-gain, and channel-switching amps has been considerably expanded.
  • Newly released components are discussed, and new insights are shed on many of those previously examined.
  • Several extra models have been added to the popular “Inside The Amps” chapter, including detailed examination of the Matchless DC-30, Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+, Fender Blues Junior, Komet Aero 33, Hiwatt Custom DR103, Supro Model 24, and Tone King Sky King, in addition to the amps probed in the original edition.
  • New and exclusive “Meet The Makers” interviews are included, adding Reinhold Bogner, Brian Gerhard of TopHat, Steven Fryette, Holger Notzel of Komet, and Mark Bartel of Tone King to the original selection.
  • A thorough update and revision of the “Building An Amp” DIY project has been undertaken, including the author’s own refinements to the original Two-Stroke design, details about Victoria Amp Company’s rendition of the kit, and clarified parts lists and building instructions.

The original edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook was already the most comprehensive and insightful guide available to the guitarist seeking to understand where his or her precious tone really comes from. With its many new additions and some serious re-consideration of much of the original material, the Updated And Expanded Edition now makes it an amp book without equal.