Blog Archives

Bob Carlin on The Fretboard Journal

Bob Carlin, author of Banjo: An Illustrated History, spoke with Jason Verlinde of The Fretboard Jorunal! The Fretboard Journal magazine hosts a weekly podcast that features interviews with legendary guitarists, luthiers, and much more. On the podcast they spoke about Bob’s book, the history of the banjo, and how writing this book came to be. Listen to the podcast below to learn more!

>>Listen<<

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.

 

John Breglio on the Knowledge@Wharton Podcast

John Breglio, author of I Wanna Be a Producer, was on University of Pennsylvania’s podcast, Knowledge@Wharton! In addition to speaking about his book he also spoke about his life and how he transitioned from being a lawyer to producing Broadway shows. To hear the entire podcast click on the link below!

>>Listen<<

IWannaBeCOVERWhat does a producer actually do? How does one travel from that great idea for a show to a smash hit opening night on Broadway? In I Wanna Be a Producer: How to Make a Killing on Broadway…or Get Killed, John Breglio – a Broadway veteran with more than 40 years experience – shares an exceptional road map for the hows and wherefores, the dos and don’ts of producing a Broadway play. In this highly informative book, Breglio offers practical concepts for the aspiring producer and entertains with great personal anecdotes from his illustrious career as a leading theatrical lawyer and producer.

Breglio recounts not only his first-hand knowledge of the crucial legal and business issues faced by a producer, but also his experiences behind-the-scenes with literally hundreds of producers, playwrights, composers, and directors, including such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Joe Papp, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Patti Lupone, August Wilson, and Mel Brooks.

Says Breglio, “Ultimately, my goal is to give the business of producing the respect it deserves. It is a profession that requires numerous skills, both business and creative. It demands relentless fortitude and optimism, and it should never be assumed casually without recognizing the enormity of the task.”

Working or aspiring producers, investors, directors, actors, designers, teachers — as well as those who are simply curious about the backstage reality of the theater — will relish John Breglio’s sage advice and irresistible storytelling. They’ll also treasure the included DVD of Every Little Step, a documentary of the auditions for the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

I Wanna Be a Producer is indispensable reading for theater professionals and fans of all levels – from high school drama clubs to college theater programs, from community theater groups and summer stock to The Great White Way.

David Bushman and Arthur Smith speak with Mr. Media!

Authors of Twin Peaks FAQ, David Bushman and Arthur Smith spoke with Bob Andelman, also known as, Mr. Media! They discussed Twin Peaks FAQ, the enduring appeal of Twin Peaks, and its comeback to television. To listen to the whole interview click on the link below!

>>Listen<<

Twinpeaks_coverTwin Peaks, the infamously strange, seductive, and confounding murder mystery, first made network television safe for surrealism 25 years ago, is set to return to the small screen in early 2017. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the series continues to enjoy a hallowed standing in popular culture and remains a touchstone in the evolution of TV as an artistic medium.

For its many intensely devoted fans, Twin Peaks continues to beguile and disturb and delight; it’s a bottomless well of allusions, symbols, conundrums to ponder and images to unpack, an endlessly engrossing puzzle box, an obsessive’s dream.

Twin Peaks FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful and Strange by David Bushman and Arthur Smith (June 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) will guide longtime fans and the newly initiated through the origins of the series, take them behind the scenes during its production, and transport readers deep into the rich mythology that made Twin Peaks a cultural phenomenon.

Bushman and Smith provide detailed episode guides, character breakdowns, and explorations of the show’s distinctive music, fashion, and locations. With a sometimes snarky, always thoughtful – but never dry or academic – analysis of Twin Peaks‘ myriad oddities, mysteries, references, and delicious insanity, Twin Peaks FAQ is a comprehensive, immersive, and irresistible reference for experts and newbies alike.

Norman Harris on Bloomberg Radio

Norman Harris, author of Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, was on The Bloomberg Advantage on Bloomberg Radio. He spoke with hosts Carol Massar and Cory Johnson about the book, and gave a short story you won’t find inside the book! Click on the link below to hear the entire interview.

>>Listen<<

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In Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, Norman Harris tells how he became the world’s leading seller of vintage guitars. As founder and owner of the legendary store Norman’s Rare Guitars, he has sold some of the finest fretted string instruments to the biggest stars in the world, including George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and many others.

In 1970 Harris moved to Los Angeles in hopes of hitting the big time in music. His first plan was performing, but plan B was buying and selling guitars, and he had no idea how much opportunity for this there would be. Many groups came to LA also hoping to hit it big, but those who didn’t might have to sell their instruments. This helped make early-1970s Los Angeles a haven for beautiful vintage guitars. At the same time, Hollywood was beginning to realize the value of time-correct instruments in film, and the recording industry recognized the high-quality sound vintage instruments produced. The value of these instruments has grown dramatically since the ’70s, and the vintage guitar market has become an international phenomenon – with Norman Harris at the center of it all.

Filled with fascinating stories and insights into the entertainment business, 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.

Dave Thompson speaks with Mr. Media

Author of The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Campy Cult Classic, Dave Thompson, spoke with Bob Andelman host of Mr. Media. They spoke in great length about The Rocky Horror Picture show, it’s impact on pop culture, and its many many fans. Click on the link below to hear the full interview!

>>Listen<<

00139671When assessing the cultural impact of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, author Dave Thompson does not pull his punches: “Forty-plus years on from its debut in a tiny London theater; four decades, too, from its transition to the silver screen, Rocky Horror stands among the 1970s’ most lasting, and successful, contributions to modern culture.”

Thompson’s latest contribution to the Applause Books FAQ series, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ (April 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) is the in-depth story of not only the legendary stage show and movie, but of a unique period in theatrical history, in both the movie’s UK homeland and overseas.

Inside these pages, we see Rocky Horror as sexual cabaret and political subversion, as modern mega-hit and Broadway disaster. At the movie house, we learn when to shout, what to throw, and why people even do those things. Here is the full story of the play’s original creation; its forebears and its influences are laid out in loving detail, together with both the triumphs and tragedies that attended it across the next 40 years.

Packed with anecdotes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ is the story of dozens of worldwide performances and the myriad stars who have been featured in them. From Tim Curry to Anthony Head, from Reg Livermore to Gary Glitter, from Daniel Abineri to Tom Hewitt, the lives and careers of the greatest ever Frank N. Furters stalk the pages, joined by the Riff-Raffs, Magentas, Columbias, and all the rest.

The book also includes the largest and most in-depth Rocky Horror discography ever published, plus a unique timeline – The Ultimate Rocky Horror Chronology – detailing the who, what, where, and when of absolute pleasure.

Michael Seth Starr is a guest on WFDU Radio

Author of the book Ringo: With a Little Help, Michael Seth Starr, spoke with Ghosty host of The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop. They spoke about the book, why he chose to focus on Ringo and gave some background on the Beatles. Listen to the podcast below to hear the entire interview and leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

>>Listen<<

00333865Ringo: With a Little Help is the first in-depth biography of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon over fifty years since the Beatles took the world by storm. With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo’s remarkable life and career, from his sickly childhood to his life as The World’s Most Famous drummer to his triumphs, addictions, and emotional battles following the breakup of the Beatles as he comes to terms with his legacy.

Born in 1940 as Richard Starkey in the Dingle, one of Liverpool’s most gritty, rough-and-tumble neighborhoods, he rose from a hardscrabble childhood – marked by serious illnesses, long hospital stays, and little schooling – to emerge, against all odds, as a locally renowned drummer. Taking the stage name Ringo Starr, his big break with the Beatles rocketed him to the pinnacle of worldwide acclaim in a remarkably short time. He was the last member of the Beatles to join the group but also the most vulnerable, and his post-Beatles career was marked by chart-topping successes, a jet-setting life of excess and alcohol abuse, and, ultimately, his rebirth as one of rock’s revered elder statesman.

John Breglio visits Bloomberg Radio!

John Breglio, author of I Wanna Be a Producer: How to Make a Killing on Broadway…or Get Killed, spoke with Kathleen Hays and Pimm Fox hosts of Taking Stock on Bloomberg Radio. Listen to the podcast below as they talk about John Breglio’s life in theater and before, Patti LuPone, and opening nights!

>>Listen<<

IWannaBeCOVERWhat does a “producer” actually do? How does one travel from that great idea for a show to a smash hit opening night on Broadway? John Breglio cannot guarantee you a hit, but he does take the reader on a fascinating journey behind-the-scenes to where he himself once stood as a child, dreaming about the theatre.

Part memoir, part handbook, I Wanna Be a Producer is a road map to the hows and wherefores, the dos and don’ts of producing a Broadway play, written by a Broadway veteran with more than 40 years of experience. This comprehensive and highly informative book features practical analysis and concepts for the producer – and is filled with entertaining anecdotes from Breglio’s illustrious career as a leading theatrical lawyer and producer. Breglio recounts not only his first-hand knowledge of the crucial legal and business issues faced by a producer, but also his experiences behind the scenes with literally hundreds of producers, playwrights, composers, and directors, including such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Joe Papp, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Patti Lupone, August Wilson, and Mel Brooks. Whether you are a working or aspiring producer, an investor, or are just curious about the backstage reality of the theater, Breglio shares his knowledge and experience of the industry, conveying practical information set against the real-life stories of those who have devoted their lives to the craft.

Shelly Peiken on SongCraft: Spotlight on Songwriters

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was on the SongCraft Show! She spoke with hosts Scott Bomar, author of Southbound, a book published by Backbeat books, and Paul Duncan. She talks about what inspired her to write songs, her experience with certain artist, and how the book came to be! The podcast is available below, click play to hear what they had to say!

>>Listen<<

COASS-Final_CVR_152159Shelly Peiken, well known for writing culturally resonant, female-empowerment anthems such as Christina Aguilera’s No. 1 hit “What a Girl Wants” and Meredith Brooks’s smash hit, “Bitch,” looks back on her career and inside the business of songwriting in her memoir, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99).

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.

David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, calls Confessions of a Serial Songwriter “a great book [that offers] an insightful, honest, often funny, emotional look inside the good, the bad, the ugly, and ultimately the transcendent aspects of trying to lead a creative life inside a competitive career.”

In addition to the fascinating biographical trajectory, Peiken presents invaluable information for the aspiring songwriter, including tips about the creative process and how to adapt to the constantly changing currents. “Now more than ever, people who want to enter this topsy-turvy world of professional songwriting need to know how to handle the inevitable ups and downs that accompany what, for me, has a been an incredibly gratifying journey,” said Peiken.

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.

Tom DeMichael speaks with Ed Randall on WFAN!

Tom DeMichael author of Baseball FAQ, helped host Ed Randall get ready for the upcoming baseball season when he was a  guest WFAN’s Talking Baseball. Click on the link below to hear the full interview!

>>LISTEN<<

00131156For 10 years, the Backbeat Books FAQ Series has been a one-stop source for information, history, and minutiae on the world of music and pop culture. The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen, The Doors and Johnny Cash, Dracula and the Beats any many more all have gone under the FAQ microscope. Now the FAQ Series has turned its focus to America’s Pastime.              

Was Abner Doubleday the architect of baseball? What exactly did it mean to be a “professional” baseball player in the 1870s? What goes on in the front office? How do you throw a slider? Readers will find the answers to these questions – and many others – in the pages Baseball FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About America’s Pastime (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99) by Tom DeMichael.

Part history book, part instructional guide, and part reference manual, Baseball FAQ covers all the bases – from the rules of the game to the ballparks of yesterday and today, from the minor leagues to the majors, from the stats to the food. This engaging, compulsively readable tome offers baseball fans of all ages a wealth of fun facts and anecdotes on America’s favorite pastime, including sections on the All-American Girls Professional Ball League, the Negro Leagues, the basic skills of baseball, baseball in the movies, the scandals, and the Hall of Famers.

DeMichael, a member of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, also digs to into the sport’s seemingly inexhaustible fascination with numbers. While the 19th-century journalist Henry Chadwick was the father of baseball statistics, it was Bill James who coined the term “Sabermetrics” in 1980 and ushered in the era of modern statistical analysis. DeMichael defines Sabermetrics as “an accurate and balanced method by which we can compare players from different eras,” and Baseball FAQ looks at the latest wave of statistical acronyms, including OPS, WHIP, FIP, and WAR.

Looking beyond the wins and losses and the runs, hits, and errors, Baseball FAQ is a remarkable baseball reference and fun-filled reading for fans of the game.

Trevor Tolliver talks about Lesley Gore on WFDU Radio!

Author Trevor Tolliver spoke with Ghosty on WFDU’s Vintage Rock & Pop Shop radio show about his book, You Don’t Own Me: The Life and Times of Lesley Gore. Listen to that and more by clicking on the link below!

>>LISTEN<<

00146488The year was 1963. Tail fins were in, sock hops were hot, and a fairy-tale white knight was president.

That summer, 16-year-old singer Lesley Gore released her debut single, “It’s My Party,” propelling her to Number One on the charts. For the next several years, the crowned Princess of Pop dominated the radio with a string of hits including “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” “She’s A Fool,” “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows,” and the rousing anthem for independence, “You Don’t Own Me,” making her the most successful and influential solo female artist of the 1960s. But beneath the bubblegum façade was a girl squirming against social and professional pressures to simply be herself and to forge a future where she could write and perform music beyond the trappings of teenage angst and love triangles.

Assembled over five years of research and interviews, You Don’t Own Me: The Life and Times of Lesley Gore by Trevor Tolliver (September 2015, Backbeat Books, $27.99) is the first and long-overdue biography of Lesley Gore, one of pop music’s pioneering Mothers. Tolliver chronicles Gore’s meteoric rise to fame, her devastating fall from popularity and struggle for relevance in the 1970s, and her reemergence as a powerful songwriter, political activist, and camp icon.

You Don’t Own Me includes behind-the-scenes stories about the making of her hit records, debunks or clarifies popular myths about her career, and places her remarkable life and times within a historical context to reveal how her music was both impacted by, and contributed to, each decade of her astounding fifty-year career.

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