Diary of a POLL Star: what are your most/least favorite books by musos?

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Not just the latest as-told-to autumn leaves from classic and heavy white male rockers, although this incl. several---some of these people wrote more than one book, and feel free to mention those, also others not on this initial list.

Poll Results

Viv Albertine: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. 11
Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe: Miles 6
Charles Mingus: Beneath The Underdog 5
John Lennon: in His Own Write 5
Nile Rodgers: Le Freak: An Upside Story of Family, Disco and Destiny 4
David Byrne: How Music Works 4
Tom T. Hall: The Storyteller's Nashville 3
Nick Cave: And The Ass Saw The Angel 3
Caetano Veloso: Tropical Truths 2
Bob Dylan: Tarantula 2
Ian Hunter: Diary of a Rock Star 1
Jay-Z: Decoded 1
Sidney Bechet: Treat It Gentle 0
Philip Glass: Words Without Music 0
Pete Townshend: Horse's Neck 0
Billie Holiday and William Duffy: Lady Sings The Blues 0
Patti Smith: Early Work: 1970-1979 0

dow, Friday, 6 April 2018 17:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Carrie brownsteins book!

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Friday, 6 April 2018 17:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Slash: Slash

how's life, Friday, 6 April 2018 17:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

tarantula. speed freak spew never read better

flappy bird, Friday, 6 April 2018 17:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Damn, I meant to have Brownstein's book on here! Should have had more by women anyway--- also belatedly remembering Laurie Anderson's Nerve Bible Julie Coryell & Laura Friedman's Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, The Music, Loretta Lynn's Coal Miner's Daughter, June Carter Cash's From the Heart ("I wanted to call it Out of My Mind.")

dow, Friday, 6 April 2018 17:33 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman

vermicious kid (Noodle Vague), Friday, 6 April 2018 17:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Haven't read the Pauline Oliveros collected but really want that. Cage's writing is v enjoyable too

vermicious kid (Noodle Vague), Friday, 6 April 2018 17:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

miles autobiography but i haven't really read the others

it's a hell of a read!

marcos, Friday, 6 April 2018 18:03 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i've read the miles book and byrne's "how music works", and "words without music" is on my shelf, still unread. i'd give it to miles over the other two. byrne's book was good but "some thoughts on music" would have been a better title

Karl Malone, Friday, 6 April 2018 18:30 (eleven months ago) Permalink

'how music works' is easily my least favorite, and soured me considerably on the Talking Heads.

campreverb, Friday, 6 April 2018 19:58 (eleven months ago) Permalink

not sure if is should vote since I've only read miles' autobiography, but it is indeed a hell of a read

josh az (2011nostalgia), Friday, 6 April 2018 20:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*if i

josh az (2011nostalgia), Friday, 6 April 2018 20:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i couldn't stand dean wareham's book

global tetrahedron, Friday, 6 April 2018 20:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Viv Albertine's book is amazing, so much more visceral and honest than just about any book i've read about growing up in Britain, fiction or otherwise.

piscesx, Friday, 6 April 2018 20:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Love the passage in brownsteins book where she points out the bullshit of older single men being rebels or iconoclasts and older women being spinsters. Don’t have the book on me so direct quote needed

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Friday, 6 April 2018 20:46 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Mingus & Albertine are my faves from this list, def voting for Albertine

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 6 April 2018 21:06 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Love Albertine’s book. Also I recently read Will Carruthers’ Playing the Bass With Three Left Hands, thought it was fantastic.

JoeStork, Friday, 6 April 2018 21:15 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Woody Guthrie - seeds of man

BrianB, Friday, 6 April 2018 22:07 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The author of Milestones claims that huge chunks of Miles plagiarize his work, kinda lol

brimstead, Friday, 6 April 2018 23:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I really liked How Music Works although it gets into some rather dull territory about 2/3rds of the way in.

loud horn beeping jazzsplaining arse (dog latin), Saturday, 7 April 2018 10:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Haven't read the Pauline Oliveros collected but really want that. Cage's writing is v enjoyable too

OTM on Cage.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Saturday, 7 April 2018 12:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Wanna read this, got me interested in Canada of 50s-60s, though prob most about him x Dylan, as indicated below:

Updated Nov. 11, 2016 6:08 p.m. ET
Robbie Robertson, the lead guitarist and main songwriter of the Band, is in the unenviable position of never having been much of a singer. (He posits asthma as a factor.) Luckily, the Band was blessed with three of the greatest vocalists of the rock era (Rick Danko,Richard Manuel and Levon Helm), who were able to give his beautiful melodies and lyrics their fullest possible emotional expression. In “Testimony,” however, the “voice” is not in question. Robust, wry, gritty and wise to the vicissitudes of a career in rock ’n’ roll, it is just what the reader wants, marred only occasionally by stiff dialogue.
By Robbie Robertson
Opening with a train ride, Mr. Robertson captures the rhythm of rock’s mystery train, even its final lurch into the terminal. In this memoir named for a song from his solo debut, Mr. Robertson bears witness to his life in music, from his precocious success in Ronnie Hawkins’s “raging rockabilly” Hawks to that band’s historic involvement in Bob Dylan’s mid-1960s “explosive electric sacrilege”; the subsequent retreat to Woodstock, N.Y., for the “loose as a goose” sessions with Mr. Dylan that became known as “The Basement Tapes” to the group’s rebranding as the Band, whose career climaxed, as this book wisely does, with “The Last Waltz,” a 1976 concert in San Francisco that was filmed by Martin Waltz,” a 1976 concert in San Francisco that was filmed by Martin Scorsese.
“Testimony” comes 23 years after drummer Levon Helm’s memoir “This Wheel’s on Fire,” notable partly for its extremely negative portrayal of Mr. Robertson. Of that book, Mr. Dylan enthused: “You’ve got to read this!” The blurbs here are by Mr. Scorsese and David Geffen, neatly delineating the great divide in the Band. But after the deaths of Manuel (suicide, 1986), Danko (heart failure, 1999) and Helm (throat cancer, 2012)—which triumvirate he often pits himself against in his memoir—Robertson is one of the two men left standing (along with keyboardist Garth Hudson). His may be the last word.
The haphazardly collaborative nature of the Band’s work, and the natural disinclination of most of the members to deal with business, led to arguments over songwriting credits, a feud that
Helm took to the grave. Resentments had long simmered: The film “The Last Waltz” seemed contrived to put Mr. Robertson center-stage, as the genius Mr. Scorsese clearly believed him to be, yet he was the only member of the Band who actually wanted that Waltz to be the Last. His Band-mates were happy to play on, and this was by no means the final Band concert, though it was the last to feature Mr. Robertson. If you saw a later incarnation of the group, you heard precisely what you would have wanted to hear: the singers singing their beloved songbook accompanied by a great rhythm section. If anything, one later felt the lack of Manuel more than of Mr. Robertson.
Half-Jewish, half-Mohawk, Jaime Royal Robertson was brought up on the streets of Toronto and on the Six Nations Indian Reserve, where he was “introduced to serious storytelling. . . . The oral history, the legends, the fables, and the great holy mystery of life.” The reader might suppress a groan, but add to the mix a steel-trap memory and a muddled childhood—featuring two fathers, numerous gangsters, alcoholism and some diamond smuggling—and you have the makings of a Dickensian bildungsroman.
“Testimony” next becomes a bible of road lore, a lurid coming-of-age story that veers wildly between the sweet and the brutal and a how-not-to guide to running a band. The Hawks, formed at the whim of Arkansawyer Ronnie Hawkins, who enjoyed regular residencies in Toronto, take off on the road, and the craziness of these early days is presented in brilliant Technicolor, with Helm cast as blood brother and Hawkins as amoral Virgil. A 16-year-old Mr. Robertson, too young to frequent any of the joints he’s playing, descends into an underworld of torched nightclubs (the arsonists thoughtfully remove Leon Russell’s band’s equipment before they light the match), bitten-off nipples (word to the wise: Don’t “taste her milkshake” while traversing bumpy terrain in the back seat of a car) and a vast choice of artificial stimulation.
As for Mr. Dylan, a key attraction, the book offers a refreshing account all the better for starting no earlier than the recording of “Like a Rolling Stone,” to which Mr. Robertson was escorted by producer John Hammond Jr. in 1965. Here is by far the fullest first-person account of the early electric tours of Mr. Dylan, not to mention an astonishing tale of a “passed out sitting up” Mr. Dylan, “deliriously exhausted” after the final date of the emotionally and physically exhausting 1966 tour, whom Robbie and Mr. Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, try to revive him in a bathtub (returning once to find him submerged) while four Beatles await an audience in the adjacent hotel room. The account of Mr. Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident is refreshingly lucid, as is that of the subsequent making of “The Basement Tapes,” as the Band improvises around Bob’s “vibing vocables.”
The Nobel Prize winner himself will probably not opine on Mr. Robertson’s livelier claims, among which is that he clothed Mr. Dylan (the classic ’66 houndstooth tweed: “Bob didn’t seem like much of a suit guy, but Lou [the designer] was on top of his game”); suggested the iconoclastic cover design of “Blonde on Blonde”; gave Mr. Dylan’s song “Obviously Five Believers” its title, adding that witty adverb—both positively (4th Street) and absolutely (Sweet Marie) something Mr. Dylan might have come up with himself; finished the editing of Mr. Dylan’s film “Eat the Document”; taught the neophyte rocker how to stretch guitar strings to keep them in tune; and saved Mr. Dylan from his musical self (by refusing to clutter the sparse perfection of “John Wesley Harding” with the requested overdubs). And of course he is responsible for creating the circumstances, and ambience, that brought the “The Basement Tapes” into existence. I am not suggesting that these claims aren’t true, merely that the abundance of them becomes slightly comical.
Occasionally one has the impression that Mr. Robertson is tiptoeing around awkward issues, always to the detriment of the book: Helm’s 1993 account of the various delegations sent in to get Mr. Dylan onstage at “The Last Waltz” is agonizing (the singer didn’t like it assumed that he had given his consent to being filmed, fearing a conflict with a forthcoming movie of his own, “Renaldo and Clara,” shot the previous year). But Mr. Robertson barely scratches the surface, preferring to deal with the technical problems involved in creating the movie.
Mr. Robertson’s writing about music, either from inside looking out or simply from the point of view of an audience member at a Bo Diddley or Velvet Underground concert, can be beautiful, as when, in the closing pages, he pays full tribute to each Band member and their role within the overall sound, repeating, as if in litany, “God only made one of those.” Here “Testimony” becomes a testimonial, and the effect is redemptive. Generosity suits him, and whatever the truth, “Testimony” is a graceful epitaph.​
—Mr. Stace is an author and musician who has also recorded under the name John Wesley Harding.

dow, Sunday, 8 April 2018 19:43 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Aaron Copland's 'What To Listen For in Music' is a great read.

MaresNest, Sunday, 8 April 2018 19:51 (eleven months ago) Permalink

More Canadians, any suggestions?
I greatly enjoyed the very Neilian space-tyme jam groove jam of NY's Waging Heavy Peace: catch the waves of his notions, however foggy, yet unfolding from childhood on, back and forth through the decades, and you'll be okay with his kind of continuity on the page, a worthy experiment (says his neurologist told him to lay off the weed, after fifty-odd years, so felt the need for new pastime, alongside the music and movie-tinkering of course).
Also, I need to re-read L.Cohen's books, been so long---somewhere was the recounting of his going backstage to meet the Velvet Underground---he hadn't released anything yet---said he was already feeling unsure, especially after seeing their intimidatingly accomplished presentation---but Reed was like, "No, you wrote Beautiful Losers, man!"

dow, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:46 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I liked Dean Wareham's book -- one of my favorites before the post-Life trend .

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:48 (eleven months ago) Permalink

What is the post-Life trend? Sounds spooky/worth catching up with.

dow, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:04 (eleven months ago) Permalink

a 1976 concert in San Francisco that was filmed by Martin Waltz

lmao i blanked out for a second at this typo and thought "huh, so that's where the name 'the last waltz' came from"

marcos, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:25 (eleven months ago) Permalink

not a muso exactly but Joe Boyd’s White Bicycles would be a good addition to this list

sciatica, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Ah actually laughed out loud for a sec remembering that Ah read And The Ass Saw The Angel, the whole thing, all the way to the end, lol

Euchrid Eucrow (sciatica), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:50 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Haven't read it, please describe.
xpost Oh yeah, books by producers, engineers, managers, agents, roadies, transcriptionists (Elton John transcribed Beatles demos) publishers, songwriters, incl. ghosts and collaborators (incl. ones who had to go to court for credit and/or royalties), moguls (incl. mini- and wannabee)

dow, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:56 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Boyd is a great raconteur, funny and knows how to use an anecdote. I’m sure you know his history, at least in outline—it’s the best version of that you could imagine imo. I think you’d enjoy it dow

Euchrid Eucrow (sciatica), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink

not a muso exactly but Joe Boyd’s White Bicycles would be a good addition to this list

Yes, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

brimstead, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Has Dave Davies' autobio been mentioned? That one is a lot of fun. Lots of good Kinks stuff plus Dave talks about his ESP powers.

brimstead, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

out of this list, prob in his own write, tho i think i enjoyed spaniard in the works even more way back when i read those books. i read chuck berry's book a long time ago and remember it being pretty awesome. have also been meaning to get viv albertine's book forever.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

And Mick Fleetwood's autobio is a blast.

brimstead, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:58 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Decoded is a blast.

John Cale's autobio is good. loaded with pictures and ephemera as well

brimstead, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 23:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Straight Life: The Story Of Art Pepper is a great read. Captures his voice and tells a hard life, without flinching.

by the light of the burning Citroën, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 23:49 (eleven months ago) Permalink

David Lee Roth's Crazy From The Heat

Out of these choices it's Mingus for sure.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 12 April 2018 00:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Oh yes, still need to read Chuck Berry and Art Pepper for sure. Here's another mention of xpost Will C., incl. in a Stevolende post from What Books Have You Purchased Lately? on ILB:

Dizzy Gillespie To Be Or Not To Bop
Autobiography of teh great jazz trumpeter. I read a version of this back in the mid 80s. Only realised on looking at when thsi copy came from yesterday that it was only a few years after it was published. thought it was older.
Has some interesting insight into some things including the Islamic renaming of various jazz players in the 40s to get around Jim crow laws.

Will Carruthers playing The Bass with 3 Left Hands
THe memoir of Spacemen 3/Spiritualised bassist's time in those bands. Quite good so far. Seems to be intent to get himself messed up on drugs though i think he does keep the audience sympathetic.
I think I need to pick up physical copies of the Spacemen 3 studio lps.

Brix Smith Start The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise
Mark E Smith's ex autobiography I heard the bits about somebody from californian privilege getting used to Manchester getting by hood are quite amusing.

dow, Thursday, 12 April 2018 16:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Ian Hunter's Diary of a Rock Star was excerpted somewhere in the 70s, think it was Creem. Pretty low-key, as I recall---he's on the road, Mott producer Bowie's hanging out backstage, "not eating again, I see. David Bowie is the only rock star I know who suffers regularly from malnutrition. "
Followed by Reflections of a Rock Star; i haven't Come across any of that.

dow, Saturday, 14 April 2018 20:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

yuck, "come across" sounds bad too after that.

dow, Saturday, 14 April 2018 20:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I've only just started "In Search of a Concrete Music" by Pierre Schaeffer but it's great so far. I suppose he's not a musician though.

(Henry) Green container bin with face (Tom D.), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 17:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

voted Diary Of A Rock Star, out of the ones I've read here. remarkable for being so early in its mission of deflation, dispensing entirely with a curtain of stardom: Hunter details plainly, in charming casual prose, the unremarkable minutiae of being a touring band. Filling days with staring out of bus windows, having to make meal calls, visiting music shops in new towns because you don't know anyone there or anything else to do. but! if you enjoy travel and also income, it still sounds great. and Hunter might be bored and homesick, but he never expects sympathy; these are just downsides of a good job that he's proud to have.

chilis=lyrics...hypocrits (sic), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 18:38 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Yes, that's what I hoped it might be like, given that xpost CREEM excerpt, thanks! Will have to get.
Speaking of books by other cogs in the starmaking machinery, Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography is amazing; I had no idea their catalog was so deep & wide, incl. co-writes with other office wizards---and they did some production, like Stealer's Wheel, and a Peggy Lee concept album, Leiber having read a Thomas Mann story and written "Is That All There Is?", a seemingly flukey hit given the go-go 60s, as relatable then as any other era, re sensory overload-withdrawal-habituation etc---also ran the Red Bird label, which gave us some Girl Group classics, but sold it to partner George Goldner, who "had the musical taste of a 14-year-old girl"---true gold in that tyme!---sold it to him for a dollar, to get away from his/their goodfella partners, whom he had brought aboard because of his gambling debts, still accruing---but it was okay, they mainly just wanted to keep writing.
(Oh yeah, and they did *not* write "Hound Dog" the way Elvis did it---involvement with Elvis and the Colonel was quite a recurring trip over the years.)

dow, Friday, 20 April 2018 19:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

On my shelf, haven't read it: Marcus raved about the Chuck Berry bio mentioned above. Little Richard put one out around the same time. Haven't read that, either (my copy's autographed), and it's buried behind other books, but there's a great backstage story involving Little Richard, his stripper wife Angel, Buddy Holly, and Buddy's big "dick peter."

clemenza, Sunday, 22 April 2018 20:48 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(Girlfriend, not wife. Sort of.)

clemenza, Sunday, 22 April 2018 20:51 (eleven months ago) Permalink


Long Time Gone - The Autobiography of David Crosby (1988)

read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it. written and published just 5 years after he hit rock bottom w addiction (culminating in 9 months in Texas state prison). so it has a nice triumphant message bookending all the cool 60s gossip.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 22 April 2018 21:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

also his role as a pirate in the film Hook seems less gimmicky than the culmination of two lifelong passions for sailing and singing (the slow parts of the book are just him sailing around while on drugs (& transporting drugs, legally not the best idea)).

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 22 April 2018 21:23 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Yeah, and Long Time Gone also lets some of his pals tell their sides of some stories, even in columns, like Synoptic Gospels Ov Thee Croz, very groovy. Even had me wanting to re-check albums I'm sure (well pretty sure...) are crap---now that's what I call mind moves!

dow, Monday, 23 April 2018 18:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Posts on Wolf In White Van from ILB's Rolling Science Fiction etc. The main character was a prodigy of mail-order gaming, way back:

The narrator soaked up fantasy and science fiction from early childhood on, from when he started building on stray images especially, from covers of comic books, for his own purposes (back of the park becomes the underworld throne room of Conan, recast as blood drinker: narrator tot pissed because family has to keep moving, father seeking new job and cheaper digs, I think--that's part of it). Cover of Leiber's Swords of Death becomes a point of intersection with another mysteriously purposeful loner in middle school; also its spine--the apparently purposeful and otherwise maybe accidental effects of design elements are big/handy influences on his invention of fantasy games.
The most important game is Trace Italian, title derived from the name of a medieval fortress, with rows layers of outer walls based around right angles, AKA "star fortress." This is also his life, or anyway his narrative, and certainly his livelihood, as subscribers (even or especially despite the Web) still send him their snail mail moves, and he responds with bits of scenario written decades, maybe a generation ago. The center of the fortress is just an empty, quiet place, very appealing, but they'll never get all the way in, or if they do---well, more relevant is that something has happened. A second thing, long after the disfiguring accident in high school. He approaches connection, while some incidents bleed through the old memorytapes he finds himself reviewing.

dow, Monday, 23 April 2018 18:11 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Wolf notes cont. :"approaches connection," yeah, and always along the lines and at the angles he's established, but there were always connections to be made, and the second thing that's happened, the latest shake-up of his grid, leads to a wave-particle present-tense timeline, the accrual of old and even new faces, new social events either way. (the Mountain Goats thing for dimensions of geography, def. incl. crate digging.) Self-disfigured Sean ("it's like tire tread," decides a teen he meets [outside the liquor-video store, a favorite in Sean's own long-gone teen years], and Sean concurs) is charming-disarming and subtly manipulative, never overselling, unlike so many other first-person narrators. Always connections re-made, the web repaired, even/especially after the first great shake-out.

One way of coping, anyway, is to stare at the ceiling. A hospital room ceiling, white, like an egg in a carton that's been in the refrigerator for several weeks, away from the light, is dull, completely uniform, revealing variations only when you stare at the same spot for some time, and then, very slowly, venture out...You could let your attention rest there for a while, you could imagine the future of the ceiling, the battles playing out up there, camps pitched when the building was new, back in unremembered time...either in your mind's eye or out there on the actual field of play if your vision spreads that far, the plaster underneath is learning to follow the cracks, the mildew forming on residues left by cleaning solutions beginning to breed, and colonies of microscopic life-forms, hostile to dull matter, developing their ruthless, mindless strategy: consume, reproduce, survive. You can see the hospital when the building has been emptied of patients but a few workers remain: administrators, janitors, members of the demolition crew. You can see the ceiling in the next room, following the splits of the ceiling in its neighbor, and the one of beyond that in turn, and then the greater canvas, the sky at night gone flat and painted white, the constellations in the cracking paint, the dust the cracks bring into being as they form, finding free land where none had been before their coming.

dow, Monday, 23 April 2018 18:12 (eleven months ago) Permalink

There are only two stories: either you go forward or you die. But it's very hard to die, because all the turns pointing that way open up into new ones, and you have to make the wrong choice enough times to really mean it. You have to stay focused. Very few players train their focus on death. The path forward stops here and there as you go, each frame filled out by outlines and figures from the rich depths of my hospital ceiling, shaded by colors I'd reconstituted from the foggy memory of the the visions that had proceeded the event for sixteen years: all those blurred plains, now melteed down into an ideally endless landscape, its peaks judiciously spread out so as not use them all up at once. Saving some for last when there was no last. When there was no point in saving, when no one would ever see the very last.
Although at one point he does run into his old high school buddy Teague, the one who dug that Swords of Death cover, and Teague mentions in passing that he'd "played through" one of Sean's games, without bothering to say which one. (Some are or were less popular, maybe simpler than Trace Italian; Sean hasn't bothered much with them himself, so far.)

dow, Monday, 23 April 2018 18:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

From the notorious Eagles thread, A Good Day in Hell:

Also I picked up Don Felder's hefty Between Heaven and Hell in the library, and read the whole thing right there that afternoon, which never happens. Gist: his father comes off as a self-made, self-righteous, self-torturing workaholic and skinflint, and Don follows suit during his Eagles years, with infinitely more bucks and perks than blue collar Dad ever had, of course. Furthermore, Dr. Phil, he somewhat recreates his own defiant-dependent teen relationship with Dad, now played by Henley and Frey.
When he finally gets his ass fired, after having papers served on head Eagles in the studio, he actually calls back, all crying---"Try to seek some higher ground in this, Fingers," Frey counsels, and the ex-Mrs. Felder fervently seconds.
So he does, with this book of excellent anecdotes (also careful references to ongoing litigation), from early years in Florida---girlfriend accuses him of stepping out with blondes, who turn out to be pre-facial hair, yet already tressed-for-success Gregg and Duane;"Tommy" Petty is his guitar student; Stephen Stills is "the funniest kid I ever met," passing through town while running away from military school, back to his parents ((although-- every kid I knew back then who was sent to military school, was sent for a reason); Bernie Leadon is his local connection to the budding West Coast folk-country rock scene.
And lots of good stuff about "The Gods," as everybody who worked with and for the Eagles called Henley and Frey; supposedly many of these--even the Gods themselves, individually---called Felder up to seek and trade the latest atrocity stories.
But I also get, in terms of even more perhaps unintended reveals, that the Gods were trying to keep their associates' and their own assholes-with-money tendencies somewhat in line, at least for the sake of making even more money (by keeping up the musical standards, for instance). Nevertheless, Felder and I are somewhat respectful of, for instance, Joe Walsh's working out his frustrations on whole floors of hotels (and he lasted longer than any non-God in the line-up, I think, so maybe the mayhem helped).
― dow, Thursday, October 1, 2015

dow, Monday, 7 May 2018 23:51 (ten months ago) Permalink


"I can hear his voice in my head as I read it---Leon Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix: Starting At Zero---His Own Story


Starting At Zero brings interviews, lyrics, writings, poems, diaries, and stage raps together in narrative form. The result is an intimate, funny, and poetic memoir-one that tells, for the first time, Jimi's own story as only he could tell it.

Anybody here read it?


dow, Tuesday, 8 May 2018 01:22 (ten months ago) Permalink

from http://www.thewonder.co.uk/rckscene.htm

"Somewhere Somebody Must Stand Naked"
Rock Scene October '74
By Patti Smith
One night before you turn out the light and slip into unconsciousness, try this: take off all your clothes, tie back your hair and look, really look, at your naked face and neck. The mirror is not meant to reflect but to reveal. A little shock moves up to see yourself so caught alone in the room with all the armour, the glitter and the studded leather lying in disarray on the bed. But fear is followed with a nude scene of triumph—a sudden flash of truth - of "batin" - a glimpse of the inner meaning.

This sudden light you may wish to pass up. It's not so easy to go out on the streets showing all you got to show. The young gladiator clung to his sword and shield just as the child of rock'n' roll holds fast to the flash over flesh. This is cool, it's the rule of rock 'n' roll but somewhere sombody must stand naked. In the 60s we had the Stones, Yardbirds, Love and Velvet Underground. Performers moved by cold inspiration. They didn't hide behind an image. THEY WERE THE IMAGE.

We are victims of media penetration. Television is image warm enemy number 1. It's like some alien form of life - flesherpoid parasites - sucking up the grand consiousness and translating it 2-D dot field. It's made our stars and our art (rock 'n' roll) into limp pasteurised versions of a once high raw process. Boycott rock 'n' roll on TV. Who wants an image of the image? Rock 'n' roll is not Hollywood jive. It's becoming flash theatre with less emphasis on the moment - the movement - the rhythm and alchemy of hand-to-hand combat. When Midnight Special comes on TUNE OUT. Accessible middle class. Killing natural action.

Already a new group has begun an attack. Starting from the bottom with completely naked necks. A group called TELEVISION who refuse to be a latent image but the machine itself! The picture they transmit is shockingly honest. Like when the media was LIVE and Jack Paar would cry and Ernie Kovacs would fart and Sid Caeser would curse and nobody would stop them 'cause the moment it was happening it was real. No taped edited crap. I love this group 'cause they focus on the face. Close-ups don't disarm them 'cause they reveal everything. And the lead singer Tom Verlaine (initials TV) has the most beautiful neck in rock 'n' roll. Real swan-like - fragile yet strong. He's creature of opposites. The way he comes on like a dirt farmer and a prince. A languid boy with the confused grace of a child in paradise. A guy worth losing your virginity to. He plays lead guitar with angular, inverted passion like a thousand bluebirds screaming. You know, like high treble. And like Todd Rundgren he is blessed with long veined hands reminiscent of the great poet strangler, Jack the Ripper.

Richard Hell on bass is another cool picture. Real highway 61. Perfect shades, tufted hair and a suit Phillip Marlow mighta left behind in a piece of blonde luggage circa 1946. His bass is pure trash—metallic gold fleck. His movements are maniac Chuck Berry. It's amazingly disorienting to watch a guy straight outta desolation row doing splits. Richard Lloyd plays emotional and highly sexually aware guitar. He's the pouty, boyish one. The one most likely to get beat up in a parking lot. I love to watch him and Tom and Hell pumping on guitar. The three of them playing with such urgency as if each time is the last time or the first woman. Relentless adolescents. Backed by Billy Ficca (a tough Italian biker) on drums they present a picture made for the plague. A movement of inspired mutants that will take the slop out of rock. Television will help wipe out media. They are not theatre. Neither were the early Stones or the Yardbirds. They are strong images produced from pain and speed and the fanatic desire to make it. They are also inspired enough below the belt to prove that SEX is not dead in rock 'n' roll.

Their lyrics are as suggestive as a horny boy at the drive in. Songs like "Hard On Love", "One On Top Of Another" and "Love Comes In Spurts". Sexual energy is suppressed on TV but is the main ingredient of Television. They got the certain style. The careless way of dressing like high school 1963. The way they pulse equal doses of poetry and pinball. Their strange way of walking. Hell is from Kentucky. A runaway orphan with nothing to look up to. The others grew up in Delaware: A land of grids—one long oppressive gymnasium. Tom and Hell done time in reform school. Lloyd done time in mental wards. Billy been 'round the world on his BSA. They came together with nothing but a few second-hand guitars and the need to bleed. Dead end kids. But they got this pact called friendship. They fight for each other so you get this sexy feel of heterosexual alchemy when they play. They play real live. Dives, clubs, anywhere at all. They play undulating rhythm like ocean. They play pissed off, psychotic reaction. They play like they got knife fight in the alley after the set. They play like they make it with chicks. They play like they're in space but still can dig the immediate charge and contact of lighting a match.

Tom and Hell started a forest fire in Alabama. They got sent up for watching it burn. Then they decided to burn themselves. No image of an image. The image itself. Billy always is laughing. Lloyd jacks off on his guitar. Hell is male enough to get ashamed that he writes immaculate poetry. And Tom Verlaine lives up tho the initials TV. He is a powerful image worthy of future worship.

The way he moves like some junkie angel. I said, "Hey, Tom. The way you move on the stage like you're on the surf, like you been wounded with an arrow, like you got clouds in the brain." And he said, "Oh I know. I always feel like I'm floating. Feel like I'm falling. But you know, I'M not going to be falling forever."

You can see the outline of his hips in his pants. And you get the feeling, as him and Television are tuning up, that he's naked as a snake.

Later I read, maybe in Creem's Letter From Britain column, that this piece inspired a planeload of rock writers to come over from the UK and witness a Television gig, then Eno produced those demos. I'd never seen any rock writing like this, or heard any rock that fit her description---didn't know you could do that (was also reading Bangs, Meltzer, Tosches, but still.)

dow, Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

Forgot to mention Really The Blues, by Mezz Mezzrow, mediocre clarinet player and phenomenal weed dealer to almost every star of the 30’s/40’s jazz scene. Fun as hell, written entirely in 40’s hipster slang, plagiarized in Dylan’s Chronicles.

JoeStork, Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:47 (ten months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I thought about listing that, though never read any of it. What did Dyl lift??

Over on the recently revived Sly Stone thread, I posted a press release about the remarkable Dennis Coffey live set coming out June 1, and James Blecch responded with news of Coffey's own Motor City report:

Thanks, don. Speaking of Dennis Coffey, his book wasn’t bad either. Recommended reading about the rise and fall and return of a studio ace running the maze of interrelated Motor City music worlds.

― The Great Atomic Cat Power (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, May 15, 2018 5:17 AM (fifteen hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Remembered the first two words but had to look up the full title: Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars.

― The Great Atomic Cat Power (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, May 15, 2018

dow, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 01:51 (ten months ago) Permalink

I thought Tarantula was pretty impenetrable reading, I never finished it.

The Mingus book is a bit loose, but there are some amazing sections in there. He's pretty crazy and I would not wanted to cross him.

Miles book is great, there is all sorts of good lines in that one. It is one that I would re-read.

I'd like to check out that Tom T. Hall book and would like to find the Ian Hunter book at a good price to read it.

Bill Graham's book is worth a read.

earlnash, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 02:00 (ten months ago) Permalink

Tarantula is closest to "Spaniard in the works" I'd say, just it's inpenetrable because there's so much of it.

Mark G, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:04 (ten months ago) Permalink

I see Ian Hunters book is getting republished at the end of August this year

Mark G, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:12 (ten months ago) Permalink

how has Charlie Louvin's "Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers" not been mentioned yet, that book is insane

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:14 (ten months ago) Permalink

John Taylor (with Tom Sykes) In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran (2012)

Rod Stewart's autobiography will blow a thoughtful reader's mind, too, for prose quality and sheer joie de vivre

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

Most impressive book I've ever read (besides Miles Davis's autobiography and Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler) by a "relevant" musician ~ Bob Stanley Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop (2013)

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:45 (ten months ago) Permalink

Pete Townshend: Horse's Neck

This is hit-or-miss, mostly miss. If you want the short stories that some of his early '80s songs grew out of, it's kind of interesting, but that's a big "if."

His autobio Who I Am is great, though: engaging, unpretentious, lots of weird and funny stories.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 16 May 2018 17:49 (ten months ago) Permalink

voted for Albertine

haven't read Richard Hell's book but I believe it's meant to be good

Number None, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 19:13 (ten months ago) Permalink

Xpost "Who i am" I got as an audio book, Pete reads it himself

Mark G, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 19:29 (ten months ago) Permalink

Krautrocksampler isn't impressive, its plain wrong in places, but if definitely started something and is good to reference. As it says, its a sampler.

His two autobiogs are excellent

Mark G, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 19:31 (ten months ago) Permalink

Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music - Derek Bailey
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music - George Lewis
Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished - John Tilbury

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 17 May 2018 08:49 (ten months ago) Permalink

His two autobiogs are excellent
― Mark G,

I love how in my paperback edition which has both books in one volume, the first book is printed one way up, and the other book is the other way.

mark e, Thursday, 17 May 2018 09:31 (ten months ago) Permalink

krautrocksampler is impressive. his autobiographies are great, too. i haven't been able to make much headway in his novel, 131, though

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 17 May 2018 10:26 (ten months ago) Permalink

Brownstein seconded.

Elvis Costello's memoir was partly interesting for the amount of non-musical stuff. Lots of deep Victorian family history.

And Wesley Stace has written books (I remember reading a novel that was kinda like Orlando)

an alfred hitchcock joint (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 17 May 2018 10:42 (ten months ago) Permalink

I love how in my paperback edition which has both books in one volume, the first book is printed one way up, and the other book is the other way.

Repossessed was never published separately.

chilis=lyrics...hypocrits (sic), Thursday, 17 May 2018 11:52 (ten months ago) Permalink

ahh fair enough, was not aware of that.

mark e, Thursday, 17 May 2018 12:30 (ten months ago) Permalink

Torn between voting for Viv Albertine and Nile Rodgers, both absolutely first-rate.

mike t-diva, Thursday, 17 May 2018 12:58 (ten months ago) Permalink

Head On was only self-published previously and OOP at the time - basically you're getting it as a bonus disc with his major label debut, except books

agree that they're in the top 5 musician's autobios ever

chilis=lyrics...hypocrits (sic), Thursday, 17 May 2018 12:59 (ten months ago) Permalink

Voted Cave, but write-in vote for The Free by Willy Vlautin out of Richmond Fontaine – an unsparingly haunting and unsettling read.

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Monday, 21 May 2018 15:45 (ten months ago) Permalink

I just saw on Books About Music that the recent All Gates Open: The Story of Can is by Rob Young *and* Irmin Schmidt, so qualifies for this thread too, wanna read it.
Should have thought of Willy Vlautin! I've yet to hear Richmond Fontaine or read his books, but was really stuck by The Delines' Colfax, which he wrote for the solo voice of RF's other singer, Amy Boone, and sounds like related short stories/scenes from a life over the decades or maybe a few days, working class urban, going toward or past something romantic, disillusioning, hopeful etc. Here's xgau on the novels---struck by mention of the waitress who mentally checks in w Paul Newman for time to time: not only does it seem like a continuation of Colfax, the latter already had me daydreaming about The Hustler's Newman and Laurie Piper, "pretty as lucky pennies," as I said on the blog, sitting in a bright gray diner, stirring the coffee and relaxing for a moment, as the city traffic rumbles by. And then---
Anyway here's xgau on the print(he likes RF and The Delines too):

dow, Monday, 21 May 2018 17:01 (ten months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 00:01 (ten months ago) Permalink

but was really stuck by The Delines' Colfax, which he wrote for the solo voice of RF's other singer, Amy Boone

Wow, really liked that record, had not realized at all that was her singing. And just looked at the credits for some Richmond Fontaine records, and see that her sister is listed as vocalist.

omgneto and ittanium mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 23 May 2018 02:46 (ten months ago) Permalink

Amy Boone was a touring replacement for Vlautin's first choice female vocalist, her sister Deborah, who was pregnant and couldn't travel the dives that extensively (RF was touring behind an album about a woman and a man, kind of a story-cycle, so they needed to recruit a woman), and later "The Delines was formed by Vlautin around Amy Boone. He wrote their 2014 album Colfax with Boone’s voice in his head." Saga here, w some vids:
These were the same Boones who ran the Damnations, cowpunk y'all Gotta dig up my ancient CDs---o hell yeah, here they are as The Damnations TX, on Half Mad Moon, 1999, Sire Records! That's a good 'un. Thanks James, had totally forgotten about them 'til you inspired me to finally do a little homework. The Delines and Richmond Fontaine and Vlautin as novelist just seemed so on their own roadmap that I never thought to check for the usual muso grid.

dow, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 04:00 (ten months ago) Permalink

Oh and it's Piper Laurie, not Laurie Piper, duh

dow, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 04:12 (ten months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 24 May 2018 00:01 (ten months ago) Permalink

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