‘Runnin’ with the Devil’ by Noel Monk and Joe Layden – Book Review

Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen by Joe Layden and Noel E. Monk…now that is a mouthful for a book title.  The book takes you on the journey of the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen and for some the true era of Van Halen.  The story is from the point of view of their Tour Manager and later Manager Noel E. Monk.

Before we get in to it, if you want to read a much better review of the book, go see my friend Deke at his blog as it was his review that made me get this when Amazon offered on the Kindle for only $2 (or was it $3)…either way it was cheap and worth that price.

The book picks up with Noel coming in as their tour manager for the tour supporting their incredible debut album ‘Van Halen’.  We don’t get any insight into the making of that album or really any album for that matter as Noel didn’t go to the studios while they were recording (or rarely ever did). We also don’t get any information on their forming or even their time with Gene Simmons which would have been nice, but again, this is not a band member telling the story and I had to get over that fact.

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“Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of Kiss 1972-1975” by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley – Book Review

I try to read at least one book a month and for July it was “Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS 1972-1975” by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley.  All thanks to a Amazon running a $2.99 special for the Kindle.  That is exactly how I read Paul Stanley’s autobiography for only $2.99.

As a KISS fan this was a really a no brainer to read.  I knew a bunch of the stories, but not everything.  As a side note, I found a way to enhance the experience of reading this book.  If you have Kissology DVD series, you can watch the shows they are talking about in the book.  You definitely need the 1st series which covers 1974-1977.  You also need Volume 3 which contains the much talked about Queens, NY Coventry Show from December, 1973 the band’s first ever concert filmed in make up in its entirety.  When you add this to your reading, it truly enhances the whole experience.

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‘Album Cover Album’ Edited by Storm Thorgerson & Roger Dean – Book Review

I have had this coffee table book for at least 7-8 years.  My wife knows of my love for music and she got me this book on album covers that mostly covers the 50’s to the 70’s. Thankfully, there aren’t that many words and it is mostly a picture book as that is all I can really handle.

Album artwork was really at its peak in the 70’s and the book commemorates that era with this great collection of album covers. The collection was first released in 1977 and has been updated many times since.  This edition from 2008 was the newest edition at the time. They included a Preface by Peter Gabriel and an additional Foreward by John Wetton of King Crimson.

One of the coolest things about the book is it is edited by two of the masters of album artwork.  First you have Storm Throgerson, the founder of the company Hipgnosis and they were famous for their album covers for Pink Floyd among others.  He also does an additional Foreward.

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