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Tori Amos: In the Studio

Tori Amos - In the Studio (2011) (by Jake Brown)

Jake Brown is a recognized music biographer who has written many books in the series In the Studio. He presents here the life, and above all, the musical career of Tori Amos. He managed to fully demonstrate the unique musical identity of this great artist who has always refused to play by the rules of the recording industry. The book begins by drawing a portrait of her childhood in a very religious family, her youth and her musical studies. The next chapter discusses her passage in the band Y Kant Tori Read, a rock group influenced by the hard rock wave that prevailed in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. The 10 following chapters present in details each of her 10 solo albums. Anything goes, from her inspiration to success on the charts, including the recording sessions. Through her various albums, we find the evolution of Tori's personality. So it's a great job from Brown who managed to make a real biography of Tori Amos from her recordings. Her fans should absolutely get this book that will appeal also to other music fans less into Tori Amos. A very good book! (August 2011)

198 pages


Dennis Dekker - In the Studio with The Beatles: Nagra Tapes

The Beatles - In the Studio with The Beatles: Nagra Tapes (2009) (by Dennis Dekker)

Between January 2 and January 31, 1969, The Beatles were in the studio for the rehearsals of the album which was to be entitled Get Back, but which was finally issued in 1970 with the title Let It Be. Some recordings from these sessions were also released on Abbey Road a little later that year. The January 1969 sessions were filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for a future documentary movie. The audio recordings were done with the Nagra system on tapes of 16 minutes each. Those are the previously unheard recordings which were used as a basis for this book. Dennis Dekker revises one by one the tapes and makes a detailed description of what we can hear on those. They make it possible to be straightforwardly in the studio with The Beatles and to discover what was happening during the rehearsal and recording sessions. We can also discover a little bit the kind of relations they had inside the band at that time. Paul McCartney was taking more and more the leader spot, whereas George Harrison was ready to leave for a solo career and John Lennon was completely hypnotized by Yoko Ono, who was constantly with them in the studio. The descriptions of Dekker are precise and they succeed in recreating skillfully the environment of the studio. He also adds invaluable information on some songs played which were never released or which were interpreted by other artists. On the other hand, being Dutch, Dekker makes many grammar and spelling mistakes in English (a problem I also have, I know), a problem which is probably not present in the Dutch version of the book. In spite of these small defaults, the book achieves perfectly its goal to propel us in the studio, 40 years ago, with the greatest band of all time. This book thus is an essential element for all the biggest fans of The Beatles. (February 2010)

132 pages, hardcover


Metallica - The Club Dayz 1982-1984

Metallica - The Club Dayz 1982-1984 (2009) (by Bill Hale)

In the early 1980s, a metal band from Los Angeles moved to San Francisco to join its new bass player. This band was the now famous Metallica and the bassist was the legendary Cliff Burton who was going to die a few years later in an accident. At that time, the quartet was completed by Lars Ulrich on drums, James Hetfield on guitar and Dave Mustaine on guitar. Mustaine would be fired some time later to be replaced by another virtuoso, Kirk Hammett. Mustaine would then form his own band, Megadeth, which would still remain the great rival of Metallica on the Californian thrash metal scene. This book features photos of the band’s debut which quickly became the headliner at the San Francisco clubs. The photographs are offered to us by Bill Hale who was part of the entourage of the band at that time. The comments associated with each photo are very interesting and allow us to immediately grasp the evolution of Metallica over the years. In addition, the introduction of twenty pages even better describes the group at that time and we understand the essence of the band and the environment in which it evolved. Given today's the status Metallica reached in the world of music, it's really interesting to see the environment in which it all began. (February 2011)

112 pages, softcover



Bill German - Under Their Thumb

Rolling Stones - Under Their Thumb (2009) (by Bill German)

Much material was written about The Rolling Stones through the years. It could thus seem useless to add more, until we read this autobiographical book by Bill German. In 1978, then only 16 years old, this teenager from Brooklyn, New York started the greatest adventure of his life by publishing his first edition of a fanzine entirely devoted to The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet. This fanzine was going to become the official magazine of the band, in addition to allowing German to get along closely with his idols, and even to become their friend. In Under Their Thumb, Bill German reveals a great number of interesting details about the band seen from the inside. He was not only a witness of the conflict between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, but he straightforwardly paid the price for that, belonging to Keith’s camp. When Ron Wood decided to write his book, The Works, it’s to Bill German that he offered to become his ghost writer. In addition to attending an incredible number of concerts by the band throughout the world, German was often invited backstage and at private partys. Being more sober than any member of the band, he’s the only one to remember many details and can thus tell everything to us. In 1995, after 17 years to write the official magazine of The Rolling Stones, Bill German gives up before this infernal life would be fatal for him. Suicide was indeed an option for him on several occasions during the last months, having the feeling not to be able to leave this environment in which he voluntarily plunged the day of his 16th birthday. Here is a captivating book presenting The Rolling Stones under a different angle, often more personal. (July 2009)

355 pages, hardcover

Random House


The Early Days of The Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols - The Early Days Of The Sex Pistols: Only Anarchists Are Pretty (2004) (by Mick O'Shea)

Like says the title of it, this book presents the early Sex Pistols. Structured like a novel, the places, names and events are real, when the dialogues were created. We discover how the guys met each other, how Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) joined them and their first appearances on stage (not always successful). We follow the 4 guys for their climbing to success, when the famous bassist Sid Vicious and their first record (and only studio album) will only arrive later. The most interesting part of this novel is that it gives us the opportunity to discover another side of the british punk band, in a book that is easy and quick to read. But, all along the reading, it’s extremely difficult to make the difference between reality and fiction, which becomes frustrating after a few chapters. Knowing that Mick O’Shea was not in the band’s entourage, it’s obvious that he created a lot. But, where does it stop exactly? It’s a great way anyway to discover more about the band, but we have to be careful not believing everything we read. (April 2005)

256 pages, softcover

Helter Skelter





Joel McIver - The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists

The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists (2008) (by Joel McIver)

Joel McIver has written 12 books on rock and metal, including biographies of Metallica, Slayer, Black Sabbath and Slipknot. He also contributes to various magazines as Total Guitar and Bass Guitar. His unequalled knowledge of metal music helped him to establish a list of the best guitarists, the first 100 positions being presented here. McIver voluntarily leaves aside all the hard rock and hair metal guitarists, including virtuosos like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. So he is rather presenting us guitarists with heavy and aggressive riffs, even if several of them can also play incredible solos, proving their great virtuosity. The book depicts the portrait of many rhythm guitarists as well as lead guitarists, and he explores with many details Scandinavian black metal and death metal, 2 genres well known for their speed of execution. If you’re not completely into the world of metal, several names are likely to be unknown to you. Also, several of the first positions will probably be surprises to you, including the very 1st position (which I won’t reveal here). It’s not that they are bad guitarists, but a few specialists would have classified them as high in a list containing all these guitarists of great talent. Even if the positions can be discussed, it remains that here is a book presenting 100 of the best guitarists in the world and doubtless the 100 best guitarists of heavy metal. The large size book presents many photographs, good descriptions of the guitarists, their style and the bands they played with, as well as the genius moments of their career. Here is a really interesting book, containing many details and relevant information. (March 2009)

224 pages, softcover


Dave Thompson - Bayou Underground

Bayou Underground (2010) (by Dave Thompson)

Many experts agree that most of the modern music genres have their roots in the southern United States, especially Louisiana and more specifically New Orleans. This book is an overview of the history of the region in various aspects, with the backdrop of various songs that were influenced by the bayou, this typical swampy Louisiana. Each of the 18 chapters is introduced by a song, artists as varied as Elvis Presley, Bod Dylan, Joe Satriani, Dr. John, Foghat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Marcia Ball, Robert Palmer, The Animals, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Alice Cooper and Judas Priest. Some chapters dwell particularly on the song or artist presented, while others describe rather an aspect of the history of New Orleans or a legend of a bygone era. We can even discover alligator recipes! So you can already see that it is a book that goes a little in all directions and can therefore seem somewhat uneven from one chapter to another. As much some chapters can be exciting, others leave us completely indifferent. Music fans will be interested in some occasions, when analyzing in depth the influences of Louisiana may have had on the music of a particular artist (Creedence Clearwater Revival for example though it was from California). On the other side, other chapters have no connection with music and can make you lose interest. The basic idea was good, but it is not always successful. Bayou Underground still remains anyway an interesting reading to learn more about Louisiana and New Orleans. (January 2011)

247 pages, softcover


Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records

Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records (2011) (by Kaitlin Fontana)

Mint Records is an independent record label from Vancouver which was founded in 1991. Twenty years later, author Kaitlin Fontana, who has participated in numerous music magazines, gives us her first book presenting the evolution of Mint over the years. We find testimonies by the founders, but also by most of the artists who have released albums with Mint Records over the last 20 years. Among the artists who have a debt of gratitude to the small independent label, note especially The Evaporators, The Smugglers, The Organ and The Pack A.D., but most of all Neko Case and The New Pornographers, the leading figures of Mint Records. Many of the details reported by team members and various members of the bands are very interesting to read and they can learn much from within Mint Records. Otherwise, the testimonies of some minor artists are rather long and create a few laps in the book. It remains very interesting anyway and provides an excellent overview of the first 20 years of Mint Records. (January 2012)

386 pages, softcover



Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995

Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995 (2011)
(by Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack et Jason Schneider)

First published in 2001, this beautiful book is now re-issued 10 years later. In the early 1980s, Canadian music stood completely in the shadow of American and British music. But by 1985, a turning point took place allowing the Canadian rock to take an important place in the world’s music industry. It is this renaissance that is presented here by telling the story of the artists who helped to rebuild that reputation. Whether the appearance of bands like The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, Voïvod or the Doughboys, or artists like Sarah McLachlan, Jane Siberry and Daniel Lanois, Canadian rock stood out and became as interesting as the music of our southern neighbors. Neil Young can certainly be considered as the father of Canadian rock, but we now have unparalleled talent to present abroad like the New Pornographers and the Weakerthans. Through the 740 pages of this huge book, we discover the ins and outs of the Canadian music industry over 10 years from 1985, at the moment of the revival of Canadian rock. Despite its rather imposing and intimidating dimension to attack, Have Not Been the Same can certainly be considered as the bible of Canadian rock. (October 2011)

740 pages



Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk (par Sam Sutherland)

Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk (2012) (by Sam Sutherland)

This book by Sam Sutherland is somehow a tribute to the bands that have shaped the Canadian punk scene like The Viletones, Teenage Head, The Diodes and D.O.A. With many biographical details, he presents a realistic picture of the early movement from coast to coast. This is probably one of the deepest books about the subject, a real bible for fans of punk rock. (December 2012)

367 pages, softcover



Ticket Masters

Ticket Masters (2011) (by Dean Budnick & Josh Baron)

Here is a book of almost 400 pages that presents in details the evolution of the entertainment industry, specifically the sale of tickets for concerts. One can discover the different ways of working over the years for booking and purchasing tickets. But what we find most is the evolution of ticket prices and fees charged for the purchase of tickets. All those who find the costs are exaggerated will find some explanations, more or less justified. The book presents a lot of interesting things about the evolution of the industry and the major players. But, it stretches in length and has a lot of less interesting passages, which will capture the interest of a minority. The book could have been significantly reduced and could well capture the interest of a larger readership. If the subject interests you, you will find anyway answers to most of your questions. (September 2011)

374 pages, hardcover


Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk and Beyond 1977-1981

Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk and Beyond 1977-1981 (2011) (by Liz Worth)

This book is some kind of a report of the Toronto punk scene of the late 1970s. Are highlighted bands such as The Diodes, The Viletones, Teenage Head and The Forgotten Rebels. The book by Liz Worth is built in the form of interviews with the musicians of the time, and with fans. She conducted ​​almost 200 interviews over the course of two years, including one of the last interviews with the late Frankie Venom of Teenage Head. Portions of interviews are very interesting and provide an excellent portrait of that era. Otherwise, less known people provide anecdotal details that are frankly annoying and unnecessary for someone who has not seen the Toronto punk scene of that time. So there are passages that we only want to go through faster. The book still has rare photos and a complete discography of the artists mentioned throughout the book. In conclusion, Treat Me Like Dirt is intended only for the biggest fans of punk rock with an interest in at least some of the bands of the Toronto scene. (May 2012)

383 pages, soft cover


Trouble in the Camera Club (2011) (by Don Pyle)

Don Pyle is now a musician and producer, but in the second half of the 1970s, he was underage to get into the punk clubs of Toronto. This didn’t prevent him from taking great shots while attending most of the concerts, armed with his camera. This first book allows us to revive the Toronto punk scene between 1976 and 1980. It includes 500 photographs and various images taken at these concerts or taking us back to the atmosphere that prevailed around these concerts. The images can make us discover the local punk bands of the era: The Viletones, Teenage Head, The Curse, The Diodes, The Ugly, and more. But, they also visit punk legends that performed in the clubs of Toronto at that time: Ramones, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Clash, Vibrators, The Stranglers. The book also shows artists who were influential for the punk movement like Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Blondie and Cheap Trick. With this superb collection of photos (and stories associated with them), any fan of punk in the late 1970s will remember good times... beautiful or less depending on your condition at the time. (July 2011)

300 pages










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