Blog Archives

Martin Aston on BBC World Service Newshour

Martin Aston, author of Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out, sat down to discuss the book tracing the evolution of gay music from the 1920s to today with BBC’s World Service Newshour. Take a listen below.


>>LISTEN<<

00158179.gifBreaking Down the Walls of Heartache is not only the first book to tell the story of how music “came out” but to the first to shed light on these hidden pioneers alongside their famous counterparts.

The podcast gives a snapshot of what to expect in the book highlighting artists spanning decades on decades. Breaking Down the Walls is packed with 400 pages covering artists such as Helen Kane, Gene Malin, Frances Faye, and more. Starting in the Roaring 20s, Helen Kane, the woman behind the Betty Boop character, spoke more in code with her song ‘He’s So Unusual.’ That was the norm then in a way to not defy the social and political conservatism of that time. Fast forwarding to the modern era, the music is more blunt.

Martin Aston’s ambitious and comprehensive narrative unfolds over a hundred years, against a backdrop of social and political shifts, as gay liberation transmuted into LGBTQ rights, pushing for visibility and equality, from 1920s liberalism through to the closet of postwar years, the eventual breakthroughs of the ’60s, the permissive ’70s, the mainstream invasion and AIDS crisis of the ’80s, and the advances of the ’90s and noughties.

Aston also documents the retrogressive steps in Russia and parts of Africa, where songs bravely encapsulating the LGBTQ experience signify how the journey from illegality and bigotry to freedom is far from over.


Martin Aston has written about popular music for over 30 years. He has contributed to numerous publications, including MOJOQGuardian, the Times (London), AttitudeRadio TimesSpin, and BBC Music, covering TV, film, and LGBT culture.

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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.


>>LISTEN<<

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.


susanmasino

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.

Bobby Borg Discusses the DIY Musician with dBs Insider

Bobby Borg recently sat down with dBs Insider to discuss the DIY musician. He is no stranger to this subject as he is a former major label, independent, and DIY recording/touring artist. The interview covered his books Business Basics for Musicians and Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, plus more.


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00124611The interview began with the questions that many aspiring artists may have, “How do I get my music out there?” and “How do I make a career in music?”

His book, Marketing for the DIY Musician, thoroughly explored this topic. It is a proactive, practical, step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. In a conversational tone, it reveals a systematic business approach employing the same tools and techniques used by innovative top companies, while always encouraging musicians to stay true to their artistic integrity. It’s the perfect blend of left-brain and right-brain marketing.

In Music Marketing For The DIY Musician, the first thing is important to realize is what marketing actually is. Marketing isn’t something that happens after your music is ready, it begins at the inception of an idea with a vision. You need to have a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to do first. Marketing isn’t just advertising or promotion, they are subsets of it.

00139915For those that are interested in deal that artists garner from record labels to publishing, he discusses that topic in his book Business Basics for Musicians. The 300+ page book is the layperson’s guide to the music industry. In a conversational tone and an easy-to-scan format, it simplifies five vital areas in which musicians need to succeed: Career Execution, Business Relationships, Pro Teams, Deals and Dollars, and Future Predictions. Everything from copyright to record deals, managers, merchandising, and doing it yourself is covered.

The Business Basics For Musicians Book is more about the actual deals you’ll get in your music career. Agents, record labels, lawyers, managers, publishing deals.  Those are the things that it focuses on. The key takeaway from the first chapter in this book is making sure you really do want to be in the music industry, because for most people they give up too soon, they have false expectations of how quickly they are going to find success or sustainability in the business. The idea is to go out there, build some momentum on your own and then hopefully the managers and labels and the rest will come. You need to have realistic expectations of where you are at in your career.


Read the full interview here.

Dave Thompson Talks Rocky Horror with Wicked Horror

Dave Thompson, author of The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ, sat down with Wicked Horror to discuss the book just in time for the Fox production, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, airing October 20th. The interview covered the history of Rocky Horror and the show continuing its notoriety in the future.


00139671You’ve written over 100 books at this point in your career, many about pop culture, so this is probably old hat for you, but what was your process like writing and researching for RHPS: FAQ?

 I’ll be dating myself, but I first saw Rocky when I was 13 in the 1970s. I passed the signs for this spectacular looking thing and was curious. I remember going to school after seeing it and telling my friends how I had just seen the most amazing thing. I’ve always wanted to write a Rocky book. Since then I’ve been squirreling away information.

What was the most challenging aspect?

 The chronology. I spent weeks trying to find dates and to compare them with dates in other databases. Finding details for the early stuff–and the discography! That was difficult. I’d find out something like Reg Livermore, who was Frank in the earliest Australian production of Rocky, released an album. Then I’d dedicate time to finding that record. Sometimes I would finally find something like that and it would be like “…Oh.”

I’m sure you’ve come across some amazing renditions of Rocky in your research. Fan-created works, especially.

Oh yes. One of the best versions I’ve seen was a small production in my college town. They did a brilliant job with it.

Given the extensive history and numerous versions of Rocky, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Rocky Horror Picture Show TV re-imagining?

I like that. You chose your wording very carefully. You likely think the same thing I do about the new version. It could be good. I’ve seen versions where there is too much focus on certain parts. I remember seeing the scene on stage the first time where Frank goes to Brad and Janet in their boudoir and it being shocking–everyone in the audience being shocked by that scene. Now some performances will deliver an iconic line, mumble mumble to the next shocking line, mumble mumble mumble through the next scene.


Read the rest of the interview here.

Elliott Landy Shares The Band Photographs with Fox News Radio

Elliott Landy is a phenomenal photographer with a 40+ year career having documented the classic rock-and-roll era with greats such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix to name a few. He recently sat down with Laura Ingle on Fox News Radio’s, “Bonus Track,” to discuss his latest book, The Band Photographs 1968-1969.

I designed and created this book entirely in my own studio, with complete creative control. Because of this, I was able to lay out the photos as I wanted, in order to create the most harmonious visual book experience and communicate  what was going on in front of the camera. 

Landy had taken photos for the band through the production of their first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band, producing over 12,000 photos. The Band Photographs 1968-1969 features 200 of those, more than half had never been published before. 

This interview comes just in time for the 40th anniversary The Band’s farewell concert appearance, The Last Waltz. The concert took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary under the same name in 1978. To this day, the concert is still referred to as the best of its time.

When I knew them, it was pure brotherhood in the best sense of it

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The Band Photographs 1968-1969 is Elliot Landy’s chronicle of the Band from 1968-1969. The mutual trust and collaborative partnership was so deep that this collection of photographs forms an intimate portrait of the a group of miscians not only engaged in their craft, but captured as they created a new genre of music. 

The book features commentary from John Simon who produced the Band’s first two albums and was considered the Band’s sixth member. There is also an introduction by Jonathan Taplin, their tour manager form 1969-1972.

When they made music, all they wanted to do is that music to come out right. So that’s what I hope they’ll take away from this, is peace and love.


Click here to check out the full interview.

Norman Harris Shares the Story of Guitars with Music Connection

Norman Harris, co-author of Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, sat down with Music Connection to discuss his latest book and adventures. Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer is an intriguing memoir from a man who has spent a lifetime getting extraordinary instruments into the hands of extraordinary artists.


00149884You’ve been dealing in guitars for 40 years. Is it still a thrill?

The thrill never goes away. There’s always something, a rare custom guitar or a hard-to-find model, that still excites me.

Why write a book?

Well, I published a book about 10 years ago, Norman’s Rare Guitars, but it was a picture book. I could have included stories, but I didn’t think anyone cared. Then I discovered that people liked to hear the stories and even asked about them. So, I decided to tell my story and the stories behind the guitars.

You came to Los Angeles to be a musician.

Little Richard brought my band out here and we were signed to a small deal. Plan A was to become a professional musician. Plan B was selling guitars for extra money. Although I did well as a player, Plan B took off and became Plan A.

You got a shout-out in the movie This is Spinal Tap. How did that happen?

Christopher Guest (who played Nigel) is a regular customer. He told me about the film and wanted to use the store in a few scenes. He also wore one of my T-shirts in the movie. I watched them shoot and it was total fun.

Do you get involved with a lot of films?

It never occurred to me to do that, but then I was asked to and it was great PR and brought in additional income. The first film I did was Bound for Glory. David Carradine (who played Woody Guthrie) wanted a period correct guitar. Now, I supply guitars and accessories for films and videos whenever needed.

Why aren’t you located in Hollywood where all the action is?

I didn’t want to be in the middle of all the craziness. Besides, the store is close to my house and it’s a place where professional musicians, rock stars and celebrities can browse without being bothered by paparazzi.

In your book you describe guitars, ones that you had never seen, in exquisite detail. How did you acquire that knowledge years before the Internet?

A lot of it was word-of-mouth. I established friendships with old players and picked their brains. I also nurtured relationships with people who worked at guitar companies. I just talked, listened and learned.


Read the rest of the interview here.

Dave Hogan Talks UFOs with Howard Hughes at The Unexplained

Dave Hogan, author of UFO FAQwas recently interviewed by Howard Hughes host of The Unexplained. The Unexplained is a podcast that Hughes created to merge his hard news and broadcasting skills with his lifelong interest in paranormality,space and science. Listen to their discussion of Ufology below.


>>LISTEN<<

00129007UFO FAQ is an all-inclusive guide to UFO lore – hard science and hoaxes, sightings and abductions, noted UFO proponents and skeptics, and sanctioned research and purported government cover-ups. Readers will meet cultists and explore worldwide UFO “hot spots.” They’ll learn about UFOs in World War II, the Cold War, and the age of terrorism. And they’ll zip along with UFOs in movies, comics, TV, and other popular media.

This interview takes a closer look into the process Dave took in creating the book. This is the seventh book he’s written and he said it was the most difficult and time consuming. While most of his books only took him between 8 to 10 months to write, this book took 18 months. Although it was a longer process, that length of time shows just how in depth he went with the topic. He also noted that while this is a single volume, he could have gone further in creating an encyclopedia on the various topics. The topics he chose were a representation of similar stories.

What is a UFO? Simply put, a flying object not immediately identifiable. Hughes starts the the discussion in the early 1900s continuing up until the modern UFO era post 1947. For those that may not have read the book and  may not have a clue what Ufology is, this segment gives the first glimpse into the early sightings. Dave even shares the story of the 1937 broadcast of Orson Welles’s, War of the Worlds. 

Hughes continues the conversation entering World War II. Dave shares the story of the private aviator, Kenneth Arnold, and his 1947 sighting. There’s even a chapter in the book solely dedicated to Arnold titled, ‘Kenneth Arnold, the Eyewitness: He Saw What He Saw When He Saw It.’ Hogan cites Arnold and the crash at Roswell as gateways into the government interest of UFOs.

The interview continues with snapshots of various chapters that detail stories of UFO sightings, including 1967 and 1973. The 1973 case was more in depth into how the aliens were interested in the human body and the topic of abductions. Hughes ties these findings into how Hollywood has depicted this information such as the movie, Mars Needs Women. 

In narrowing down who was the most influential over the past century, Dave chose two, J. Allen Hyneck and Ray Palmer. J. Allen Hyneck, a scientist, brought scientific discipline to Ufology. He also notes Ray Palmer, a magazine editor more commonly known as, “The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers.”

What an amazing walk through of UFO FAQ bringing the text to life. Listeners not only learn about the process to creating a compendium as such, but gain a better understanding and detailed look into Ufology. Very well done and thorough.

Jeff Cioletti Talks Beer FAQ with Happy Hour Radio

Jeff Cioletti, author of Beer FAQ, sat down with Happy Hour Radio to talk about what else, beer. The interview covered how he got into beer, his inspiration for the book, and more.


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00139465fcThis interview gave fans of Beer a snapshot into Jeff’s latest work, Beer FAQJeff is no stranger to the beer as he became engrossed in the industry when he was working at Beverage World in 2003. Over a decade later he has merged his professional and personal life by traveling to various trade shows and countries to learn more about beer.

Jeff is the current editor-at-large of Beverage World Magazine and has offered his beverage-related insights on CNN International, Fox Business News, CNBC, Beer Sessions Radio, NPR, BBC World, BBC Radio, The Associated Press, The New York Post, Financial Times, WCBS-TV, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and many other media outlets.

He discussed the inspiration and process of making the book including what the book entails from the basic history and ingredients, to style, packaging, distribution, and breweriana collectors. The interview continues with Jeff sharing some personal fun facts, upcoming events featuring Beer FAQand more.

I think it;s a good sort of guide for anybody who is just getting into beer or if they’ve been into beer for a while.

Jeff Cioletti

Beer FAQ features insight not only on how it’s made, but how it makes the journey from the brew house floor to the drinker’s glass. The book offers a touch of history, a bit of globetrotting, and a look at the companies and enterprising individuals leading the modern brewing renaissance. It also offers a nostalgic look at beer’s evolving role in pop culture – from advertising to television to movies – over the past century.

Maynard James Keenan Talks New Bio with Rolling Stone

Maynard James Keenan, co-author of A Perfect Union of Contrary Things, sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss his upcoming biography. The interview covered Keenan’s Army days, his Joni Mitchell obsession, his fateful encounter with early Tool adopter Johnny Depp, what Green Jellö taught him and much more during an in-depth chat.



Did you watch last night’s debate

No, I didn’t. I just don’t know what the point would be – 2016 sucks, in general. Loss of life, family members, artists, professionals. It’s a strange fucking year.

Agreed. So Trump is getting you down?

No, just the polarizing of people in general. And the bipartisan politics. It’s divisive. There’s so many things on the horizon; there’s so many things happening in the universe in general and in our nation and just in people … that I just feel like all this is a divisive distraction.

Moving on to the book, it seems like this is your attempt to say, “OK, there’s this thing that everyone knows me best for doing, but there’s all this other stuff that’s gone on in my life that carries just as much weight in terms of my overall story.” Were you trying to reclaim your narrative in a way?

Not necessarily. I’m just trying to tell a story and just show that there’s a process that I feel like has been lost. Just kind of trusting that inner voice and making decisions that bring you places. There’s also an overall broad stroke of kind of getting back to what matters. That connection, where you are and how you relate to that environment and your community. I feel like that shit’s a really important message for now.

00146489In addition to telling your own story, are you trying to impart a lesson, or just some wisdom to your fans?

I feel like there have been conscious and unconscious decisions throughout the years that I’ve made. And if there’s any kind of benefit to those, if I can actually map some of those out. … I’m no Deepak Chopra; I’m not Tony Robbins by any stretch. But I have seen a few things in my day, and if I can just kind of map some of them out and then have somebody else tell that story in their voice like a third party, maybe I can recognize some of those milestones. Or maybe somebody who’s in a weird place can recognize them and use them to kind of move forward.

As the book depicts, you’ve been involved in, and excelled at, an amazing number of things. Obviously the military was a key one. The book suggests that seeing the movie Stripes influenced you to join – is that really how it went down?

Does that sound like a better story than, “I just needed the money?” ‘Cause again, at the end of the day I’m an entertainer so I’m gonna tell you the story that sounds a little bit more entertaining. If that inspires you, that’s great. Was Stripes part of that decision? Absolutely. Was it the only part of that decision? Probably not. It’s not in my nature to just map it out for you.

It seems like for the time you were there, despite needing the money, you were obviously invested in it. I remember seeing a speech you gave at a show where you said you’d gotten some flak over expressing what some had perceived as pro-military sentiment. Is there a specific message you’re trying to send in this book regarding your feelings about the military in general?

Not necessarily. I feel like from an artist perspective there is that warrior’s perspective and I feel like that’s in each one of us. And if you can embrace it in some way and understand … even in terms of martial arts, when you step into that ring, on that mat, you have to kind of embrace that warrior side of you. You’re competing against yourself more than you’re actually competing against your opponent across from you.

Of course, you know the big pick-up we usually see when it comes to military is of course the entire globalization and our invasion of other areas for our own interests. That’s not really what I embraced about the military. What I embraced about the military is that that warrior’s mindset that you’re competing against yourself and just understanding that you have to be able to get into that mindset in certain situations. But at the end of the day, you’re competing against yourself.


Click here to read the entire interview. Preorder your copy of the book here.

Chuck Gunderson Talks about the Beatles at PW.Com

Chuck Gunderson, recently sat down with Publishers Weekly to discuss his limited-edition two-volume set, Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours 1964-1966.  The timing could not be more perfect with the release of Ron Howard’s, Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Listen to the podcast by clicking the link below.


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10ca44_2a1342b8e50b4dd2a73920f9c79d3b89Chuck Gunderson is the country’s leading expert on the Beatles’ three North American tours. Over nearly three decades, he has amassed what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of American tour-related memorabilia and artifacts in the world.

Gunderson has taken the tour that changed the concert industry and created an amazing two-volume set. The Fab Four: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Greg Harrison, and Ringo Starr, began their journey in the United States in February 1964 after landing their first #1 hit, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ on the Billboard Hot 100. After their successful and impressive performance on the Ed Sullivan Show with an estimated 73 million viewers, their careers catapulted to another level and the ‘British Invasion’ and ‘Beatlemania’ began.

Volume 1 of Some Fun Tonight! covers the beginning of their journey in 1964. There were 32 shows, 26 venues, 24 cities, and that was just in 33 days. The group garnered over $1 million, equivalent to $7.5 million in todays industry, which was unheard of at that time. Volume 2 continues their journey throughout 1965 and 1966 ending with their show at Candlestick Park.

There’s a chapter for each tour stop along with chapters for the supporting acts. The images included feature some unpublished, but there is plenty of memorabilia from each city including: tickets, programs, handbills, posters, newspaper ads, contracts, and documents. Gunderson was sure not to shortchange any fans by expanding the book to two volumes instead of one to pack in all the information he had collected over the years.

Some Fun Tonight! captures the heart of the tour with over 800 images over the course of 600 plus pages at the retail value of $160. Gunderson leaves nothing out within this 13 pound box set with accompanying slipcase. Fans young and old will surely be entertained for years to come.