Back in December 2021 when I announced I was doing a Jeff Scott Soto Series, I got a lot of response on the picture of my collection. One such person contacted me on Facebook and offered to send me a hard back edition of a biography on Jeff Scott Soto, so I quickly thanked him and agreed. He quickly mailed out this glorious copy of the book. His name was Sundeep Pooni and that book has been a massive reference guide for my review series up to this point. So, a big thank you to Sundeep and his very generous gift!! From here on out in the review series, we are past the date of the book so none of the albums I’ll be reviewing from ere on out are in the book, so I am on my own.
Before we get to the next review, let’s go through this book. It was originally written by Ronny Hahn and it was written in German and only an electronic book. For the 30th Anniversary of Jeff’s career, it was released thanks to Frank Tunney who took the original book and added more chapters and re-organized the structure. It is now a hard back book and chock full of the details of his career that all hardcore fans love to know. The book is called “Authorized” so it has the blessing of the man himself and that is good enough for me.
The book starts off with the original foreward written by Ronny Zahn and then there is a great dedication to the late Marcel Jacobs who played with Jeff in several bands and was a very close personal friend. It was a terrible loss, but thankfully he left behind a great legacy of music. Afterwards you get a brief biography of Jeff’s very early life, but the rest of the book is all Jeff’s music career.
I was down in St. Augustine, Florida in early August and went by a second-hand book store where this book was waiting for me it to rescue it. A couple weeks later on a flight to New York, I opened it up and started reading. On the flights there and back, I got through 2/3’s of the book as I couldn’t put it down. I finished it up in another sitting or two and really enjoyed it. I knew some stories on Mr. Hughes, but I didn’t know this story. The book, ‘Glenn Hughes The Autobiography: From Deep Purple to Black Country Communion’ was written by Glenn and Joel McIver. It actually starts off earlier than Deep Purple as it cover some of his childhood and does go to Black Country Communion which means it goes from 1951 to 2010.
The forward is by Metallica’s own Lars Ulrich. He discusses the first time he saw Glenn Hughes play and what a big fan he is. I have to admit, it was a little light as forewards go as I expected a little more insight in to what he knew about Glenn, but wasn’t much meat to it. Sorry Lars. But that was the only thing I didn’t like about this book. One of the really cool features in the book is the fact they have interviewed a ton of people close to Glenn through the years, parents, girlfriends/wives and bandmates. Snippets of those interviews are sprinkled throughout each chapter adding color commentary and texture to what Glenn is talking about. It also lets you despite all the drugs, people tended to agree with what he talks about with some minor different interpretations at times.
I know Glenn was an avid drug user, but I guess I didn’t realize to the extreme it became. Imagine my surprise when he is talking about his massive drug use in the mid-to late 80’s he was living in Atlanta. In fact, he ended up buying a house not terribly far from where I grew up and was living at the time. Who knows I could’ve passed Glenn back in the day and never knew it. Doubtful, as he was help up in house a lot doing drugs.
I really loved learning about Trapeze, his band before Deep Purple. I need to explore them more. For me, the activities surrounding his joining Deep Purple were pretty cool and to learn that he David Coverdale were actually friends and got a long really well despite them competing a little for lead vocals. Glenn’s drug problem didn’t really start until around the third album with Purple, ‘Come Taste the Band’ when Tommy Bolin joined. Glenn and Tommy became drug buddies. Glenn’s tenure ended withe Purple without him really knowing it as that is how bad it was getting.
The 80’s were a drug filled mess. His projects with Gary Moore and Pat Thrall all suffered greatly as well as relationships with his many lady friends and his wife. His times with Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath was brief and interesting as well. He was not pleasant person to be around when he was drugged out…which was often. He is lucky to have made it out alive. The drugs were so bad, he only wanted to be around those people that were heavy in to drugs. This lasted until the 90’s when he started to get cleaned up. He revitalized his solo career and eventually gets clean and gets back to his singing as the focus as he is the Voice of Rock. I’m not going in to detail as that is what the book is for so get it.
The book ends with his joining Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian as they form Black Country Communion. Glenn really loves this band and believes it might be one of the best things he’s done. They’ve since done four albums total and they are pretty amazing. Too bad the book ends back in 2010 as we know Glenn is still going strong as he now fronts The Dead Daisies and his voice is still amazing!
The Glenn Hughes autobiography is one of the most enjoyable ones I have read in a long time. Glenn is so likable in the book despite some of the crappy things he does. It is amazing he can remember what he does, but he is open and honest about how bad the drugs were and takes full responsibility. He is lucky to be around and we are lucky to have all this great music and have that Voice in our lives. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars as I truly couldn’t put this down and don’t think I’ve read a book that fast in a very long time.
It took me a long time to finally get to this book as I’ve had it a long while, but life kept getting in the way. When I was on vacation a few weeks back, I was bound and determined to finish this book and man was it a great read. The 80’s Hard Rock Explosion is the music scene I grew up with and is what I am most passionate about so this book was a no-brainer for me. This book was written by journalists Tom Beaujour who was co-founder of Revolver magazine and Richard Bienstock who was a senior editor for Guitar World magazine plus he has been published in Rolling Stone and New York Times. Both very accomplished writers.
These guys go back to the beginning even before the Sunset Strip music scene and we find out what was really happening and how things got started. The craziness, the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll all here in full uncensored glory. There are so many fascinating stories and I loved learning about the musical chairs between band members in the early days with Jake E. Lee jumping from one band to another, Warren DeMartini possibly playing with a band other than Ratt and just who was in Guns N Roses first and who wasn’t….it was so much to keep up with and a blast to read about. There are a cast of characters chapter showing all the people that were interviewed and quoted and it was 7 pages long. If they were part of the scene, they are in here from Steven Adler to Zakk Wylde and everything in between.
Can you imagine someone spending the precious time to write a book about 8-Tracks? 10 or more years ago and I would’ve said you would have to be nuts. As my love for music has grown and my appreciation for all formats of music, now I say…It is about Damn Time someone wrote a book about 8-Tracks. I have secretly been hunting 8-Tracks every time I go to a record store, an antique mall or even a yard sale, but have not found hardly any of bands I would remotely be interested in obtaining. I do have 6 Kiss 8-Tracks, but that is the extent of my collection currently. However, this book has sparked more interest in finding the ones for the bands I love.
The book is “Unspooled” An Adventure in 8-Tracks” and it was written by Tim Durling. When my buddy Mike Ladano told me about this book (he is actually featured in the book as well), I was actually excited and I went and bought a copy as soon as I went to Kickstarter and checked it out. I remember my brother having a bunch of 8-Tracks. He had Kiss and there was one by a band named Shark that I remember vividly. I remember how sometimes the song would fade out, you’d hear a click and the song would fade back in and finish. Some songs you would hear so much on the 8-Track that you expected the fade out, click, fade back in on vinyl, cassette or radio and I couldn’t comprehend why it didn’t. Enough about my experience with them, let us talk about the book.
Tim has given us a book that is both Entertaining and Educational. Wait…those two words do NOT go together! But they do for this book. It is made up of Tim’s personal stories, interviews of 8-Track Experts (there are some…really I promise) and interviews of collectors. The book is niche being about 8-Tracks but it is super niche in that it is about a certain aspect of 8-Tracks that most might not be aware and that is 8-Tracks from the 80’s and more specifically, 8-Tracks that are exclusive to Record Clubs. You know, like Columbia House where you could get like a million for 1 penny!
I know, I know. I am a little late to this book as it came out way back in 2011. But I’m finally here, I’ve finally drenched myself in to the pages and I am ready to tell you all about it. Thanks for being so patient with me. Sammy Hagar! What is there to say about Sammy. I remember seeing “I Can’t Drive 55” on MTV and really starting to discover who he was. I found out he was the lead singer of the band Montrose from the 70’s and then around 1985, I remember he was named the new lead singer of Van Halen. That was when I really started to find out who he really was. I picked up some Sammy albums and definitely bought the Van Halen albums and I really liked him. Then in the 90’s after leaving Van Halen, he started up his solo stuff again. Eventually he turned in to what I felt was the Jimmy Buffet of Rock & Roll. He had this laid back, surfer dude, all sunshine, relaxation and Tequila. He has always seemed like such a cool dude! And this book proved that to be the case, but I discovered so much more.
The book has Sammy really focusing on his rock & roll life with nuggets of his early childhood, but thankfully he stuck to the music mostly. Well, almost thankfully, as I would’ve loved to hear more about his business side as he only touched on it (except for Cabo Wabo and the Tequila) a little and that seems to be the area where he made most of his money and let me tell you, the man looks like he made more money on the business side of his life then the music side and I find that fascinating. Hell, he sold his Tequila brand for around $100 million…DAMN!!! He had a fire safety sprinkler company before there as really such a thing. He’s had his bar Cabo Wabo which is now bar’s’ with an ‘s’. He seems to invest in the right things at the right time and I have never been that lucky.
But the main reason to read the book for any Sammy fan is the Va Halen stories and they don’t disappoint. I’ve heard that he was really harsh on Eddie Van Halen and he regrets that a little, but I don’t think it was that harsh. I don’t think it is anything we didn’t expect or know. Eddie was an addict and his behavior over the years has shown that. I think Sammy was being honest with how he interpreted the stories and that is what I want in a book. I can read other people’s books to get their side and then draw my own conclusion, but Sammy’s seemed authentic to me. The sunshine and roses of how he got with the band seems to coincide with what Ted Templeman said in his book which is all good. But the downfall is where it got interesting. The little things they did to each other, the backstabbing, the drugs and alcohol and just the shitty way things went down was outright riveting to me. Sammy laid it all out there for you to read. So go do it.
I have been reading so many Rock Books lately, some great, some not so great. When I heard Ted Templeman was putting out a book. I got real excited. I knew he produced all those David Lee Roth era Van Halen albums and thought, this will be great to learn all the behind the scenes stuff on Van Halen. But what I got was so much more.
Ted goes back to the beginning and explains his family life and what type of music he was raised around and he was definitely immersed in to music his whole life. I learned a lot as I didn’t know about his band Harper’s Bizarre from the late 60’s and they had minor hits. It was those albums where he started to learn the craft of producing and would eventually would lead to an A&R job with Warner Bros. Records where he would spend the next 25-30 years of his life climbing the ranks of the business, but always producing.
Being in California he met everyone from around that 70’s scene. Really cool all the people he met and a couple massive icons he saw recording in the studio. When we was learning the ropes, some of his contacts let him come in to the studio to watch and learn and one occasion he was able to witness Frank Sinatra record and was awed at his professionalism and his indelible knack to hit the right note every time. Another icon was Elvis Presley and to the same effect. I can only imagine how cool that had to be to experience.
I have read a lot of books about bands and rock stars and I am a little tired of the sex, drugs and Rock & Roll aspect of the whole thing. It is the same old, same old. I like to read the fun stories that are interesting, smart and I enjoy the stories behind the songs or even the artists writing style and what motivates them. If you are the same way, then this book is what you need to read. Richard Marx brings us a book about his life and believe it or not, he had a great childhood, loving parents, he doesn’t do drugs and never had the wild sex-filled tours and you know what, that is okay because what he gives us are intelligent stories, tons of humor and a lot of behind the scenes looks at the numerous stars he has worked with and songs he has written.
Before I get to that, let us look at the book itself. The copy I purchased was a bundle. It came with an autographed copy of the book as you can see below. I also paired it with a greatest hits CD which is 1 CD full of his hits and another full of demos, rare tracks and a collection of songs he wrote for other people, but this time with him singing and not the artist he wrote it for…really cool. Oh yeah, and the CD came with a signed booklet as well. Really cool stuff…okay, back to the review.
Richard took the down time with Covid to bring us a detailed telling of his life in music…not his personal life. We do get some of it, but mostly it is about the music. Richard is real private about his family but does give us glimpses, however, this is about the rock star. And let me tell you he has worked with some mega stars and is friends with some as well. We learn how he got started in the business by being a background singer for numerous people but got his break with Lionel Richie. He also works with Kenny Rogers and writes a song for him that gave him his first #1 song in country music. But that is the only tip of the iceberg.
In going through Amazon’s Kindle book, I found this book on Freddie Mercury and thought I would give it a try. The book is called ‘Freddie Mercury: A Life, In his Own Words by Freddie Mercury, Greg Brooks and Simon Lupton. Now, it says by Freddie Mercury but that is very misleading as Freddie was not involved with this book as he had long since passed. It is not an Autobiography. The book is actually a collection of interviews that Freddie had done over the years and they were pieced together here to let you hear from Freddie and what he was thinking. A pretty cool idea, however, it didn’t work in the way I am sure they were hoping it would.
Here are the problems…First…the book is in no real chronological order. It doesn’t really tell the story of Queen or really Freddie in any kind of sequential order. It is all over the place timeline wise. Second…it doesn’t go in depth on Queen much at all. So, if you are looking for a deep dive in to the inner workings of Queen, albums or tours, you will be sadly bored to tears. And third…it is very repetitive, It is very repetitive and it is very repetitive. I can’t tell you how many times we have to hear about how much Freddie likes to spend money, how much the real Freddie is not like the stage Freddie and how lonely and few friends he has. Those are all interesting story points true, but these interviews mention it time and time and time again.
What did they get right? Well, the concept is really cool. I did like hearing Freddie talk about the struggles of being famous, his battle with being lonely and his inner thoughts about getting old. As I said, they are truly interesting bits to learn about they just didn’t need to rammed down our throats a hundred times. The man does have an ego as he knows how good he really was, but that ego is squashed by how charming he can be in an interview. Heck, I did have fun reading the book in Freddie’s voice. In my mind I am putting the inflections on the headvoice as I am reading the same way I remember how Freddie would say things. He was flamboyant, he was over-the-top and he was Freddie Mercury, but you do get to see the other side of him which is quite nice to learn.
I found this book on Amazon Unlimited and thought, I like Dokken, this should be a good book to read. And it was, however, my opinion of the boys is now slightly tainted. I now wish I didn’t know what I have learned because I won’t look at the band the same way again. More on that later.
The book is called “Dokken: Into the Fire and Other Embers of 80’s Metal History’ by James Curl. That is a long title. The book is a collection of personal interviews he had with Jeff Pilson and Don Dokken as well as collecting interviews from other people over the years including George Lynch and some Mick Brown (but very little from Mick). The puzzle is pieced together and the story is told of the band from before the beginning with the members other bands all the way to 2019 and where the band stands today.
It is cool to learn about the previous bands and what it took to get to the point of starting Dokken which to me is the weirdest and strangest tale. Dokken got started in the strangest way not anything like the other bands on the Sunset Strip. Dokken wasn’t signed because of all their shows on the Strip, nope. Somehow, Don wound up in Germany and got a deal to record there. The classic line-up was not around yet of Jeff Pilson, George Lynch and Mick Brown. Don was back & forth between L.A. and Germany a lot and was able to pull together the line-up after the original guys he had lined up couldn’t commit. The book tells how he got to know George, Jeff and Mick.
My favorite era of music is the so called, 80’s Hair Metal scene. Of course, back then it was just rock and didn’t yet have a label, but that was the music for me. I know a lot about that era and the bands so any time I can get my hands on a book about that time, I am all over it. I took a chance on this one called ‘The Spectacular Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Hair Metal by Christopher Hilton. The book had a 4.4 rating so I thought I would give it a shot.
The book goes chronologically through each year of the scene and goes all the way up to 2019/20. When it gets to the 90’s and 2000’s, the chapters start to cover more than one year as it would be too much. I was expecting some great stories and maybe interviews from people of that era and from those involved in the scene, but that is not what I got at all. The author went through and talked mostly about the biggest bands of the era including Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and the like and he went through each album and the best songs on the album. At the end of each year he ranked the best album. Honestly, it felt like I was either reading wikipedia or maybe even something I would have written with my limited knowledge of these bands. It was rather pedestrian.
The stories about the bands were the same old stories we’ve heard all the time, there was really nothing new at all. No interviews, no real thought provoking insight, no real meat at all. He always focused on the biggest bands and seldom if ever brought up bands that were lesser known that were completely overlooked. The only good thing is he did follow the music in to the 90’s (and he mentioned Paul Laine of Danger Danger) and how the bands changed their sound and style and then went in to the 2000’s where the 80’s Rock scene saw a major resurgence. He even went as far a talking about the new bands in the 21st Century that have taken up the 80’s glam scene and how a lot of them come from Europe, especially Scandinavia. A good list of bands to check out. Most of them I already knew about, but for newbie’s that part is worth checking out.