“Pro Wrestling FAQ” Trailer

Now available from Backbeat Books: Pro Wrestling FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s Most Entertaining Spectacle

Sport? 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.

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Happy Birthday, Angus Young!

Angus Young turns 60 today, and — not coincidentally — today is the official pub date of the latest addition to the Backbeat Books FAQ series: AC/DC FAQ by Susan Masino.  Here’s a tribute to Angus from Susan, who first met AC/DC nearly forty years ago and remains today the biggest fan of “the world’s true rock ‘n’ roll band!”

00120817AC/DC’s diminutive schoolboy guitar player, Angus Young, turns 60 years old today, a milestone birthday for anyone, but, as Angus proved to the world with his performance on the Grammys this year, in his case at least, 60 must be the new 40.

Blazing through the single, “Rock or Bust,” from their new album of the same name, AC/DC flawlessly segued into their classic hit, “Highway To Hell,” with everyone from Katy Perry and Paul McCartney to Blake Shelton and Lady Gaga singing along. Some sporting glowing devil horns, no less!

Joining his big brother Malcolm’s band over 41 years ago, Angus used to run home from class and take off for band rehearsal still dressed in his schoolboy outfit. After trying several wardrobe options in the seventies, the band settled on jeans and black t-shirts, but Angus kept his schoolboy uniform and, armed with his trusty Gibson SG, magically became a force to be reckoned with.

Recording a brand new album in the spring of this year, appearing live on the Grammys for the first time ever, and launching a European summer tour, AC/DC showsno signs of slowing down. When they hit the United Kingdom for the first time back in 1976, a journalist marveled at Angus’ unbridled ability to play his guitar, never missing a note, while in perpetual motion. The writer remarked that seeing the then 21-year-old Angus maintain that pace once he turned 25 would be something to see. What an understatement that was!

It brings to mind one of my all-time favorite Angus Young quotes. Asked back in 1990, after turning 35, if he was getting too old to rock and roll, Angus quickly shot back, “The name’s Young, always has been, always will be.” With that sentiment in mind, I’d like to wish Angus Young the happiest of birthdays, filled with high octane rock and roll. It’s the only kind of music AC/DC will ever play, which will continue to be celebrated by millions of fans for many more birthdays to come.

Listen: C. Eric Banister on Pop Culture Tonight with Patrick Phillips!

C. Eric Banister, author of Johnny Cash FAQ, talks with Patrick Phillips of “Pop Culture Tonight” about Johnny Cash’s musical legacy and Banister’s book.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00119344Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003. In addition to these albums, there were also some posthumous releases in the years after his death. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched them all. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended genres and became a superstar around the globe.

Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, and how he sustained a fantastic nearly 50-year career.

 

Dale Sherman: KISS Update

00122479With the upcoming release of Dale Sherman’s latest FAQ book (Coming in March!), Quentin Tarantino FAQ, Dale is celebrating by going back to his previous books in the series to pull up some new details for readers! This week, he has provided additional information on KISS!

In KISS FAQ I cover the making and ramifications of the notorious television movie, KISS Meets the Phantom of the ParkThe chapter of the book certainly held no surprises to readers in the acknowledgement that the movie contains wooden acting, a bizarre musical soundtrack (namely in the televised version; not as much in the later theatrical one), bad special effects, and a clunky script, but one myth that was put to rest was of KISS Meets the Phantom being one of the highest rated television programs of 1978. NBC certainly wished that had been the case, as they pre-empted a showing of their popular cop series, CHiPs for the movie in hopes of gaining a good chunk of young viewers.

It was a gamble that NBC needed, as they were floundering; the network had only two 00333153programs with ratings high enough to place in the top twenty-five programs of the 1978-1979 television season: the family-oriented drama about frontier life, Little House on the Prairie, and the police series CHiPs. Even so, a gamble on using the CHiPs timeslot earlier that October for a two-part showing of Rescue from Gilligan’s Island had earned a 40 share for NBC, making Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park in the same time the last Saturday of October a seemingly good risk.

However, when the ratings came out, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park was nowhere near the Number One slot. It wasn’t even in the top 25 for the week. It finished at #45, leading to Variety , to proclaim “NBC had its worst Saturday of the year,” with the KISS movie being the reason. Its failure in drawing interest as a television movie was only the starting point of concern for those connected to the film, as it was about to be released as this type of filmic albatross in theaters overseas. But that story and other details about the movie can be found in the pages of KISS FAQ.

Check out the rest here!

Rock-n-Roll.biz Interview with Peter Aaron

In a recent interview, Rock-n-Roll.biz spoke with Peter Aaron about the multi-faceted nature of musician as an artist:

Rock-n-Roll.biz: You also wrote a book about Ramones? I grew up in Forest Hills where Ramones started out and I could tell you I understand the angst and ferociousness of their music to the core. Why did you decide to embark on this project?

I did. Sort of. It’s more of a book about stuff that relates to the Ramones. It’s called If You Like the Ramones… and IYLramonesCoverwas published last year by Backbeat Books as part of the If You Like series. I was in negotiations about doing a book for the series—originally I was going to do If You Like Frank Sinatra…, but Backbeat ran into legal problems with the Sinatra estate and took that project off the table—and the idea of a Ramones book came up, so I jumped on it. In keeping with the IYL concept, the aim is to steer new fans toward the artists and other entities (certain movies, cartoons, comic books, TV shows, etc.) that influenced the Ramones, were influenced by the Ramones, or are connected with the Ramones in some way. Obviously it mostly targets neophytes, but I did try to cover some stuff that even long-time fans might not know about.

Rock-n-Roll.biz: How important is it for a musician to get out of the music world and focus his energies elsewhere? Is it for sanity’s sake or mere detachment?

Very. The music world is like the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s a sanctuary for musician-freaks like me, who was never going to fit into the general population. And yet the music world, especially the underground music scene, is a bubble, an alternate reality that we’ve created to escape the insanity of mainstream society. I don’t at all advocate joining the masses, but I do believe it’s healthy to keep things in perspective by venturing outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself at least once in a while. I can’t help but think of all the interesting music, art, ideas, and people I would have missed had I remained stuck in the same New York rock scene I inhabited in the 1990s—which, from what I can tell, continues to be a largely tail-swallowing environment. Not only does trying new things make you grow as a person, but as a musician it makes what you do richer and more interesting.

Rock-n-Roll.biz: Are there any other arts you are dabbling with? Any more books on the horizon?

FAQ_LOGOwebRight now I’m working another book for Backbeat, The Band FAQ. It’s for their FAQ series, which is more in-depth than the recently discontinued If You Like series. So this one will cover everything connected with the Band and dig more deeply into topics connected with them—the music that influenced the Band and has been influenced by them, but also their history collectively and as individual members; examinations of each of their albums; their time as Ronnie Hawkins’s band, the Hawks; outside figures associated with the group; The Basement Tapes and their years with Bob Dylan; solo albums; their contemporaries and collaborators; their best and worst music; the Toronto and Woodstock scenes they were part of; books; movies; etc., etc. Since I’ve lived in the area that gave birth to Music from Big Pink and The Basement Tapes for over a decade, have covered the local music scene for both the main area newspaper and the arts magazine Chronogram (of which I’ve been the music editor since 2006), and even got to interview Levon Helm, I’m kind of sitting right in the bullseye for this one. I’m also planning an illustrated anthology of the many profiles of Hudson Valley musicians I’ve written over the years, which includes everyone from the Bad Brains to Pete Seeger, Sonny Rollins, Graham Parker, Pauline Oliveros, and others. And of course I’d like to write a memoir, which in addition to my time in the Chrome Cranks and the ’90s Lower East Side scene would cover my participation at the start of the East Coast hardcore scene, my years in the 1980s Boston and Midwest scenes—I was a promoter when I lived in Ohio and booked most of the touring underground bands of the day (Nirvana, Flaming Lips, Pussy Galore, etc.)—and perhaps some of the Hudson Valley stuff.

Check out the rest of the Rock-n-Roll.biz interview with Peter Aaron here: http://rock-n-roll.biz/multifaceted-nature-musician-artist-interview-peter-aaron-chrome-cranks/

A New Generation of FAQs: Lifestyle and Pop Culture

Soccer FAQBeginning in the spring of 2015, Backbeat Books will take the FAQ series beyond performing arts and publish Lifestyle and Pop Culture FAQs. The debut titles will include Tattoo FAQ, Soccer FAQ, UFO FAQ, The Beat Generation FAQ, Pro Wrestling FAQ, Beer FAQ, Dracula FAQ, and Cocktails FAQ.

Since its 2007 launch, the FAQ series from Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group has evolved into a robust, successful line of books. Originally conceived by pop culture historian Robert Rodriguez, the FAQ series offers books

Beat Generationthat are one-stop sources of info, history, and minutiae on a given subject—from a music artist to a film genre to an iconic television show. Packed with a staggering amount of data and rare photographs and period ephemera, these reader-friendly volumes are presented in a lively, engaging style. Each chapter serves as a freestanding article on any aspect of the story, allowing readers to put down and pick up the book with ease.

In the past seven years, Backbeat Books and Applause Books have published more than 30 FAQ titles, earning critical acclaim as well as success in the marketplace. Library Journal called James Bond FAQ, “A complete and appealing volume of information,” going on to say that “Bond aficionados, movie buffs, and trivia junkies will enjoy this title and refer to it often.” Vintage Guitar said of Bruce Springsteen FAQ, “Flip to any page and you’re bound to find something to grab your attention.”

Wrestling FAQ

“The FAQ series has had great success within the subject area of music, film, and TV, appealing to passionate fans who wants to know all that’s left to know about a given subject,” explained Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group publisher John Cerullo. “It is a natural evolution to take the series into subject areas beyond performing arts with the logical next step being pop culture.”

The fast-paced, entertaining format and depth of coverage that define the series are no longer limited to fans’ favorite bands, films, or television shows. Book lovers can now enjoy the same stimulating reading experience with their favorite hobbies and varied interests.

Keep an eye out next Summer for the introduction of new lifestyle FAQs!

 

Stephen King Films FAQ

Stephen King Films FAQScott Von Doviak’s Stephen King Films FAQ, the latest in the series from Applause Books is now available, with all that’s left to know about the king of horror on flim.  While his book looks back the four decades during which Stephen King has made his mark at the movies, Von Doviak is also looking forward.  Here are his thoughts on what this year may hold for Stephen King film fans.

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Two things we know to be true: Stephen King is one of America’s most prolific authors, and Hollywood is always hungry for material. So it’s not surprising that the Stephen King movie has become a genre unto itself, spanning nearly four decades since the 1976 release of Brian De Palma’s Carrie. This year is shaping up to be one of the most King-heavy in some time, so here’s a brief look at what 2014 has in store.

— Mercy is based on the 1984 short story “Gramma,” which was previously adapted by Harlan Ellison for an episode of The New Twilight Zone in 1986. This feature-length version is directed by Peter Cornwell (The Haunting in Connecticut) and stars The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs and Super 8’s Joel Courtney as two boys who discover their ailing grandmother is not what she seems.

— On a similar note, A Good Marriage is a novella from the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars about a woman who discovers her longtime husband is a serial killer. The adaptation directed by Peter Askin (Company Man) stars Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia and boasts a screenplay by King himself.

Cell is now shooting and may make it into theaters by year’s end. The big-screen version of King’s tale about a cell phone virus that turns people into zombies stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, who previously co-starred in the King-based thriller 1408. Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) directs.

— The first season of Under the Dome on CBS was so successful from a ratings standpoint that what was once intended as a limited series has been extended indefinitely. What began as a promising series quickly deteriorated, however, and the first-season finale was a nonsensical mess. There’s reason to hope the show will get back on track, as King is aboard to write the first episode of the second season, due this summer.

In addition to the above, there are always King projects in various states of pre-production, notably Tom Holland’s The 10 O’Clock People, which may finally go before the cameras this year. One film fans shouldn’t hold their breath for is the long-awaited big-screen version of The Stand, which has churned through a number of potential directors over the years. The latest word is that Josh Boone, writer/director of Stuck in Love (a movie in which Stephen King made a cameo appearance) is on board, but the actual end of the world may come before this post-apocalyptic vision reaches theaters.