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Tom Harkins on Talk Radio Europe

Tom Harkins, one of the authors of Pearl Jam FAQ, was on Talk Radio Europe to speak about the book. He talks about Pearl Jam’s success and how the book came together with co-author, Bernard Corbett. Listen to the entire interview by clicking on the link below!

>>Listen<<

00139507With record sales of nearly 32 million in the United States and an estimated 60 million worldwide and with no end in sight, Pearl Jam can stake its claim to being the most successful, enduring, and influential band to emerge from the Seattle (or pretty much anywhere else) in the 1990s.

 

In Pearl Jam FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Seattle’s Most Enduring Band (May 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99), 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.

 

Pearl Jam FAQ looks 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. Then, 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.

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.

 

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.

Coming in 2019: 25 Years of Grace

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Jeff Buckley made only one album, but the one he made has proved to be seminal.

In 2019, Backbeat Books will publish 25 Years of Grace: An Anniversary Tribute to Jeff Buckley’s Classic Album, a lavishly illustrated volume by photographer Merri Cyr with Buckley biographer Jeff Apter, recalling the making of Grace and looking at the influence it has had on artists and their music in the ensuing quarter-century.

Cyr, widely recognized as Buckley’s official photographer and author of A Wished-For Song: A Portrait of Jeff Buckley, published by Backbeat Books, documented his career from his days at the East Village coffee shop Sin-é to his iconic Grace cover shoot to his rigorous world tour promoting his unprecedented debut. Apter is the author of A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley, also from Backbeat Books.

“I photographed Jeff over the course of almost four years,” Cyr said. “Some people have asked me why it is that I photographed him so much. Mostly, it was fascinating to watch him grow musically at lightning speed, even from one day to the next. I had the opportunity to witness and document his evolution—as a person and an artist.”

25 Years of Grace will feature new interviews with Buckley insiders – including producer Andy Wallace, band mates Matt Johnson and Mick Grøndahl, string arranger Karl Berger, A&R man Steve Berkowitz, and veteran music publicist Howard Wuelfing – who reveal details of Buckley’s signing to a major label, the role of the band in creating arrangements, finding the right creative direction for the multifaceted songsmith, the songwriting process and final song selections, key meetings and collaborations, recording techniques, memorable moments in the studio, and more.

The book also will include reflections about Buckley and Grace from an array of artists, including Lenny Kaye, Butch Walker, Pete Yorn, and Holly Miranda.

“I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in various Jeff Buckley-related projects over the years,” said Apter. “But this has been the first time where not only have all the key players been willing and able to contribute, but in a manner that was, without an exception, frank, open and forthcoming. Their revelations are deeply felt, sometimes highly emotional and always very revealing. Collectively they’ve painted a portrait of Jeff and the Grace era that I think will become the definitive statement on the man and the time.”

 Featuring many never-before-seen photographs, the recollections of those who worked alongside Buckley, and tributes by some of the many influenced by him, 25 Years of Grace will take a fresh look at the making and legacy of this incomparable album.

25 Years of Grace is a celebration of Jeff Buckley’s contribution to music,” explained Backbeat Books Associate Editor Bernadette Malavarca, who acquired the title. “The book brings into sharp focus the timelessness of Grace and gives it its due as a true classic. The interviews peel back the curtain on the events that led to the album and the creative process involved, its reception in the context of its time, and its lasting power. The artist reflections show the widespread influence of Buckley and Grace on countless musicians.

“We are fairly deep into the text development, photo editing, and design plans,” Malavarca added. “It’s been an inspiring experience thus far, and with the book, we hope to invoke that same inspiration in readers and Buckley fans who revere his music as we do.”

Additional components of the project will be announced in the coming months. 25 Years of Grace will be published in Fall 2019.

Author Event with Shelly Peiken!

Author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Shelly Peiken, will be at Parnassus Books tomorrow June 30th to talk about her book and also sign a few books! The even takes place in Parnassus Books which is located in Nashville, TN. It starts at 6:30pm so anyone who is in the area be sure to drop by! If you’d like to know more about the event and Parnassus Books, click on the link below.

>>Click Here<<

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.

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.

Banjo: An Illustrated History

Author of Banjo: An Illustrated History, Bob Carlin, was interviewed by Fox News 8! In it he spoke about his book, what you can expect from it, and it’s evolution from the many other Banjo related books that he has written. Click on the link below to watch the video to learn more about Bob Carlin and his book, Banjo: An Illustrated History.

>>Click Here<<

00142046The banjo is emblematic of American country music, and it is at the core of other important musical movements, including jazz and ragtime. The instrument has been adopted by many cultures and has been ingrained into many musical traditions, from Mento music in the Caribbean and dance music in Ireland. Virtuosos such as Béla Fleck have played Bach, African music, and Christmas tunes on the five-string banjo, and the instrument has had a resurgence in pop music with such acts a Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers.

In Banjo: An Illustrated History (June 2016, Backbeat Books, $35), author, broadcaster, and acclaimed banjoist Bob Carlin offers the first comprehensive, illustrated history of the banjo in its many forms. He traces the story of the instrument from its roots in West Africa to its birth in the Americas, through its coming of age in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

Banjo: An Illustrated History profiles the most important players and spotlights key luthiers and manufacturers and features 100 “milestone instruments” with in-depth coverage, including model details and beautiful photos. It offers historical context surrounding the banjo through the ages, from its place in Victorian parlors and speakeasies through its role in the folk boom of the 1950s and 1960s to its place in the hands of songwriter John Hartford and comedian Steve Martin.

Folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock – the banjo has played an important part in all of these genres. Lavishly illustrated, and thoughtfully written Banjo: An Illustrated History is a must-have for lovers of fretted instruments, aficionados of roots music, and music history buffs.

Shelly Peiken: A letter to her father

Shelly Peiken, Grammy nominated songwriter and author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter,  was a contributor to The Huffington Post blog. In it she dedicated a letter to her dad in honor of Father’s Day, which happened this past Sunday. Read what she had to say in the excerpt below!


COASS-Final_CVR_152159Dear Daddy,

Since you’ve been gone the world has gone a little mad. I miss you so, but there are things I’m happy you didn’t have to witness.

In 2001, terrorists flew a plane into the World Trade Center and both buildings crumbled to pieces. We watched it in real time on TV. Thousands of people lost their lives. It was horrible, Daddy. I’m so glad you didn’t have to see that.

In 2012 this crazy kid stormed into an elementary school and shot 20 little children. Can you imagine their parents’ heartbreak? You’re lucky you didn’t have to.

I also take heart in knowing you didn’t have to read about the guy who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Florida. And a few days ago fifty people from the LGBT community (an acronym we now use for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender), were gunned down at a nightclub and a young girl was a fatally shot signing autographs after her concert. I knew this girl, Daddy. I can’t stop thinking about her.

There’s so much gun violence…in movie theaters, shopping malls, army bases, college campuses, even churches. Nothing is sacred.

Then there were these two brothers who left a bomb in a knapsack at the Boston marathon. They were part of this extremist militant group called ISIS. I’ll spare you the details of what they’ve been up to.

What I’m trying to say is…as much as I wish you were still here I take comfort in knowing you escaped some very painful times. At least that’s what I tell myself when I want to feel better about missing you so much.

On a lighter note (or maybe not), the political climate is a circus. One of the big issues during the presidential debates this year was whose penis was larger. Can you imagine Kennedy and Nixon having that discussion?


Read more HERE

Workshop with Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, is hosting a Live online workshop today! Just pay what you want and login to start watching. You can also receive the Almost There album download for just 10 dollars! The live online show starts today at 8pm, you don’t want to miss it!

>>Click Here<<

00145576The Complete Singer-Songwriter is the ultimate guide for the modern performer, chock-full of tips, tools, and inspiration for both aspiring troubadours and those looking to take their craft and career to the next level. Author Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers draws on firsthand interviews with songwriting legends and rising stars; expert advice from managers, agents, lawyers, and publishers; and his own experiences as a performing songwriter. He offers this invaluable companion for singer-songwriters on their journey from idea to song to the stage, studio, and beyond.

 

 

 

A look inside The Complete Singer-Songwriter

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, offers some tips on how to keep your ideas flowing. Courtesy of SonicBids Blog we have a inside look at some of these tips. Read below for more!


00145576Every songwriter needs a nudge sometimes to keep writing. There’s no better way to learn and grow creatively than by simply finishing songs, but that can be easier said than done. What do you do when inspiration is not sweeping you off your feet, and the song ideas that you come up with seem dull and hackneyed?

One approach used by many songwriting groups is to play different kinds of creative games that involve writing a song according to specific parameters and setting a deadline. Yes, this is a form of songwriting homework, but the process of writing to spec like this can be playful and fun. It’s a relief sometimes to be given direction rather than always having to find your own way, and it will lead you to very different songs than you would typically write. Here are a few types of games that can help keep the ideas and songs coming.

1. Wordplay

The simplest songwriting game is to start with a word or phrase and write a song that incorporates it – the word or phrase doesn’t have to be the title or even a central element; it just needs to appear somewhere in the lyrics. This is the game notably played by Jason Mraz and the email songwriting group led by Austin musician Bob Schneider. As Mraz told me, his hit duet “Lucky” with Colbie Caillat, for instance, started from the phrase “me talking to you” (the opening lines are “Can you hear me? I’m talking to you”). Everyone in the group takes a turn giving the prompt – which might be as simple as brown or as odd as the nonsense word gumanema.

It’s possible to play this game solo and choose words for yourself, maybe by randomly picking words from a book or introducing another element of chance, but it’s more interesting to do with a partner or group – input from others forces you out of your usual patterns of thinking.

Once I was booked for a songwriter showcase and given the task of writing/performing a song with the phrase “the shortest straw.” At first I was flummoxed – I couldn’t imagine what to do with those words. But before I even had a chance to think more about it, I found myself imagining a character who feels perennially shortchanged in life, and ad-libbing lyrics over an E minor groove. Even though “the shortest straw” is just a minor detail in the resulting song (titled “Prayer”), this assignment gave me the impetus and the deadline to finish what turned out to be a keeper.

When playing this game, I recommend using words for physical/tangible things, and it’s a bonus if they have multiple uses or meanings. For instance, in my songwriting group we’ve used key and ticket (resulting, for me, in the songs “I’ve Got It Here Somewhere” and “Closer”).

You can also use words that define a theme or concept but don’t have to appear in the song itself – the game could be to write about envy, winter, or working in a cubicle. Avoid cliché themes (the road, breakups, Saturday night), and pick something that points the lyrics in an unexpected direction.

2. Storytelling style

Another area to explore in songwriting games is the way the story is told. There are so many possibilities beyond the usual contemporary style of describing your own experiences in first person. Here are a few prompts you might use in a songwriting game:

  • Write entirely in second person – not singing to you (as in “I want you”) but placing you at the center of the action, as in the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (“Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly…”).

  • Write in third person (he/she), even if the story is autobiographical. Writing about your own experience in third person may help you feel free to tweak the details, like a fiction writer, in order to make a better story.
  • Write in first person but make the story specifically and obviously not about you. Tell the story of someone from a different era, or living in a different kind of place, or older/younger than you are. Writing from the perspective of someone of the opposite sex is tricky but worth trying.
  • Write in the voice of an unlikeable, unreliable, or otherwise flawed character. Two masters of this are Richard Thompson and Elvis Costello, who have brought us inside the heads of some downright scary narrators. Remember that it’s essential to empathize somehow with your character, however awful he or she may be, so that the listener can connect emotionally with the story.


Read the rest of the tips here!

Elliott Landy talks with Clash Music

Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs 1968-1969, was interviewed by Simon Harper of Clashmusic.com. They spoke about the photographs he took of The Band, his memories of their time together, and about some exclusive photos that will only be seen at an exhibition in London in Proud Camden from June 6th to July 24th. Read an excerpt of the interview below!


00146104Have you previously exhibited these photographs in London?
No I haven’t, actually. I made maybe two shows in London in the past, and maybe one or two were scattered throughout these shows, but no, in general it’s really, for most of them, the first time that they have been shown as fine art prints.

Apparently there will be some unseen photographs in this exhibition?
Yes. What I did for this is that I went through 12,000 negatives with my assistant – actually, she went through 12,000 and I went through about 1200 that she picked out – and then I just chose a whole lot of pictures that are just really nice and that had never seen the light of day before. I just picked out what I thought were the best photographs.

This exhibition and the popularity of your book is really a testament to the international and enduring appeal of The Band. I don’t suppose that when you were taking these pictures that you thought they would have this life of their own…
That’s true.

But did it feel special at all? Were you aware of what potential these guys had?
No I wasn’t, and that was part of the reason that I was able to photograph them as intimately as you describe and as the pictures show: because there was no ulterior motive or ulterior thought. It was only what was happening at that moment and how can I get the best picture of it. And nothing in my mind was impure – by ‘impure’ I mean having a second reason for doing something rather than the thing itself that you’re doing. The second reason for doing something would be because they’re gonna be worth money in the future, they’re gonna be famous in the future, and so on, so none of that was part of my mental space.

When you first started working with them, they were pretty much unknown to you, right?
They were unknown to everybody. I mean, they didn’t exist as an independent band. Well, actually they did; they were The Crackers, but nobody knew them, they had no album out, and I guess if you went to certain bars you may have seen them, but they really were unknown as a public entity.

How did it come about that you first shot them? You were accosted by their manager, Albert Grossman, I believe?
He had sourced some pictures I had taken of [his other client] Janis Joplin that were really, really nice photographs, and then when The Band – they didn’t have that name yet – were looking for a photographer, he came up to me one night in Club Generation, which is the space that later became Electric Ladyland, and he tapped me on the shoulder and waved for me to come to the back of the room with him into like a broom closet. I didn’t know if he was going to throw me out or what was going on, but he said to me, ‘Are you free next week to take a picture up in Canada?’ I said, ‘Yeah. Who’s it for?’ He said, ‘Well, they don’t really have a name yet, but if you’re interested you can go and meet some of them – they’d like to see your pictures.’ So, I went up to the studio in New York City where they were recording, and that was it. (Laughs)


Read the entire interview HERE!

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group Launches Backwing

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, long the reader’s first choice for books on music, film, theater, television, and popular culture, is proud to announce the launch of backwing, a new digital community for creatives and fans.

Backwing will provide visitors with a vast array of information curated by and for aspiring and established actors, artists, authors, gurus, musicians, songwriters, producers, luminaries, entertainers, and, most broadly, fans. Every article on the site also serves as an open forum for those interested in a sustained discussion of any given topic.

“For nearly seven decades, Hal Leonard has provided consumers with the highest quality information available,” said Group Publisher John Cerullo. “We know who our readers are and what knowledge they crave. Backwing offers us a dynamic new means of reaching them, responding to their feedback, and cultivating conversations around our content in real time.”

Backwing is comprised of three main components. The first two—exclusive content pertaining to or drawn from HLPAPG products and a resource database populated with all manner of performing arts-related materials—will feature, in tandem with a vivacious comment section, multimedia created by and for HLPAPG authors and the publisher’s myriad industry associates.

“Since we reside at an intersection frequented by all manner of clientele, from nonprofits, educational organizations, and professional coalitions to gear, equipment, software, and instrument manufacturers, our contacts quite literally run the gamut of the performing arts world,” Cerullo explained. “We now aim to bring these brands together at backwing for the exclusive benefit of visitors to the site.

The third component, a direct-to-consumer sales portal featuring daily deals, giveaways, contests, and a slew of weekly/monthly special offers (many of which are also available to third-party vendors), can be found at backwingstore.com—an entirely separate domain.

Why two distinct websites? For the sake of every visitor’s experience, according to Cerullo: “Since backwing was designed with the end user foremost in mind, we’ve decided against tangling content and commerce. As such, multimedia content and resources are hosted at the deliberately noncommercial domain backwing.com while consumer products and services are restricted to the backwing Store.”

Thus, while backwing.com visitors may elect to peruse the site unencumbered by crass commercialism, backwingstore.com is always available to those who wish to explore HLPAPG’s catalog of more than 2,000 titles, take advantage of promotions featuring new releases and backlist titles, and enter contests to win fantastic prizes.

To get backwing off to a rousing start, HLPAPG is giving away great prizes for devotees of the performing arts, including an Epiphone guitar for music fans; a Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music package along with gift certificates to digitaltheatre.com for theater lovers; subscriptions to online streaming services for film and television buffs; and Met Opera on Demand Gift Subscriptions for classical music and opera enthusiasts.

HLPAPG encourages all performing arts enthusiasts, regardless of their skill level, industry status, or background, to join the creative conversation at its new digital hub. Welcome to backwing!

Inside look at Confessions of a Serial Songwriter

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was a guest contributor on Huffington Post Arts & Culture. She gave us all a look inside her newly released book with an excerpt titled “Suddenly”. Take a look down below and get your copy today!


COASS-Final_CVR_152159SOMETIMES I HEAR Simon and Garfunkel singing, “Slow down you move too fast.” They’re in a little bubble following me around as I scurry about my day. They’re in my underwear drawer as I hurry to get dressed. They’re in my coffee cup as I grab it to go. Those two heavenly voices; they sing extra loud when I’m multitasking. And I usually am.

See, I get caught up with work. I don’t turn things down. I take a meeting and listen to lip service from the A&R exec who says he thinks my song is perfect, but I know he will ultimately use the one from a writer of whom he gets a piece. I get angry with myself when someone’s album is finished and I didn’t try hard enough to get a song on it. I go to a writing camp to try to raise my batting average, even though there’s a decent chance the artist we are rallying around may be dropped. I often have a choice to make: write yet another song or go to lunch with the girls. I usually write another song.

Recently, things changed. I had had a tiny bump on my breast for years. It was barely noticeable and I had been assured it was nothing and would never turn into something. I’d been so busy, that I barely noticed it was getting bigger. So I went to my doctor. The second he touched it he said, “I don’t like this”…and that’s when things suddenly started to seem surreal. I thought about how my life might slip away from me in the next few months. I’d have to put everything on hold at least until I could find out just how much life I had left. He didn’t waste any time. He made some appointments for later on in the day. It was a Friday. He didn’t want to “have to wait out the weekend” to see what “we were up against.” I liked how he said “we” even though it was actually just me!


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