Book Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Rock And Roll Stories - Lynn Goldsmith
Author: Lynn Goldsmith
Review By Michael Sherer
Publisher: Abrams books
Posted: Dec 2013
(4003) Page Views

Lynn Goldsmith’s first and clear choice for subject matter to photograph is musicians. She’s been capturing them in a compelling and candid fashion for fifty years. (Goldsmith has a photo of hers published of the legs and feet of the Beatles in their Cuban-heeled boots in ‘64, at the height of Bealtlemania.)

Goldsmith’s newly issued 399 page, large-sized hardcover book is the most complete retrospective of her work yet. The cover dons a striking image of her then live-in boyfriend Bruce Springsteen. It was snapped in ‘78, by which time Springteen had become a major star since breaking through three years prior with his Born To Run record. The leather jacket he’s wearing is Goldsmith’s, and after she had sold off some of her clothing in ’96, which included the jacket, it wound up in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. This was unbeknownst to Goldsmith until later. (Springsteen, by the way, felt it had too many studs and was too ostentatious for his taste.)

Born in Detroit in ’48, Goldsmith started photographing as a child after her father, who was photographing and had a darkroom himself, gave her a Baby Brownie camera and later a superior Isola one. Goldsmith used them earnestly to photograph her first subjects: Dolls and her family. Some of these images appear in the first pages of her new book.

Goldsmith relocated to NYC in ’69, where her older sister Ellen was living. Although Goldsmith was seriously into photography, the passion for the medium and art would escalate further in the imminent years to follow. First to come were short stints at Elektra Records in their promotional department and then as co-manager of Grand Funk Railroad, with the late Andy Cavaliere. When Goldsmith walked away from that role in the early ‘70s, she carried with her some disillusionment with being involved with the business side of things. This helped Goldsmith to crystallize the realization that it was photography that served as her guiding light and muse, and she pursued it full tilt from then on. Goldsmith loved and fed off the vibes and interactions it brought, and made her photo studio, as she worded it, “A crucible of positive energy.”

While musicians have been the subjects that resonate most with her, she’s also photographed many actors, politicians, athletes, scientists, and businessmen. However, Goldsmith truly loves music above all, and is a singer herself. This handsome book is chock-full of very recognizable musicians that reflect both Goldsmith’s and the subjects’ personalities and love for what they do. There are far too many artists to list, so get the book for yourself and find out. You’ll certainly do what fellow Michiganian Bob Seeger brilliantly sang about: Turn The Page.

Author Lynn Goldsmith Online
Website


I Slept With Joey Ramone

I Slept With Joey Ramone

I Slept with Joey Ramone:  A Family Memoir
Author: Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Posted: Mar 2010
(22467) Page Views

Although the title of this book suggests a sexual connotation, it is offered in humor. It is written by Joey Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh Hyman, and the title refers to the protection his brother offered him growing up. Born Jeffrey Hyman in Queens, New York, Joey Ramone was the tall, quirky lead singer of The Ramones. Often, when young Mickey was scared, his older brother (the future Joey Ramone) would let him sleep in his bed with him. When the Ramones released their debut album in 1976, it ushered in punk rock as a complete artistic entity. The Ramones, fast, ugly, and draped in leather, spoke to the angry youth of the seventies and inspired future bands for decades to come.

This is actually a very sensitive loving book, but includes a frank look at the ugly side of rock ‘n’ roll. With humor and grace, the author shares a troubled story of growing up with an emotionally disturbed brother who becomes a rock star. Joey used rock music to cope with mental illness and in the process launched a punk movement alongside bands like The Talking Heads and Blondie. It was these bands that brought punk to England, influencing the Sex Pistols and changing music history. But regardless of the larger picture, this book’s primary focus is the portrayal of two men who are not unlike Vincent and Theo Van Gogh: an artist who struggled to find his voice while keeping his sanity, and a brother who loved and cared for that artist.

Author Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil Online


London's Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk 1976-1977 by Dave Thompson

London's Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk 1976-1977 by Dave Thompson

London’s Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk 1976-1977
Author: Dave Thompson
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Posted: Jan 2010
(17943) Page Views

Dave Thompson is a fun and energetic writer, and this is the tale of his experience in the London punk scene of ‘76 and ‘77. It is essentially the story of British punk rock as it happened, stripped of hindsight and future legend, and laid bare. Bands bubbling into existence include The Damned during their early gigs and The Sex Pistols swearing through their prime-time television debut. Lesser known groups like The Adverts and Tom Robinson Band are covered, the latter of which are represented by a story wherein the group leads a club full of skinheads through a sing-along anthem called “Glad to Be Gay.” Yes, there are some seriously wild and funny antics. At the same time, though, the book serves up a personal coming-of-age story of a bewildered sixteen-year-old (that would be Thompson) looking not just for fun and music, but for a cultural revolution. The amazing thing is that the author finds a legitimate one right in his back yard, and thanks to Thompson’s natural wit and sharp writing style, we are now all privy to it.

Author Dave Thompson Online


The Velvet Underground: New York Art

The Velvet Underground: New York Art

The Velvet Underground: New York Art
Author: Johan Kugelberg
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Rizzoli Press
Posted: Dec 2009
(7494) Page Views

Documenting the formative years of the band, Kugelberg includes newly published photographs starting with the group’s first live show in New York. Andy Warhol is referenced, especially with regard to his Velvet Underground cover and poster designs. Lou Reed’s handwritten music and lyrics are included, and underground press clippings, flyers, handbills, and posters, are added as well to complete a uniquely comprehensive survey of the first rock group ever to transcend genre and embrace subterranean American culture. Also included is a conversation recorded especially for the book between founding members Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker. Kugelberg does a great job archiving a definitive picture of the band’s genesis and development in the extraordinary New York art scene of the mid-sixties.

Author Johan Kugelberg Online


Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves

Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves

Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves
Author: Jason Bitner
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Posted: Dec 2009
(4948) Page Views

Mix tapes have been described as “an art form that combines the skills of a DJ with the intimacy of a letter.” Today, the cassette tape has been rendered obsolete, and the art of crafting these sonic calling cards has been relegated to back of the closet, thirty-something nostalgia. Now, thanks to Jason Bitner, the middle-aged can relive lost youth and lost loves. In this book, sixty writers and musicians wax poetic about their own experiences with these charming artifacts and the relationships that inspired them. The stories range from the irreverently sweet, such as the doomed love affair between a Deadhead and a Goth, to the touching, such as the heartbreaking discovery of a former love passing away. Everyone (well, everyone over thirty) will find a story or a song to which they can relate. Just hit play.

Author Jason Bitner Online


Led Zeppelin: The Neal Preston Collection

Led Zeppelin: The Neal Preston Collection

Led Zeppelin: The Neal Preston Collection
Author: Neal Preston
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Posted: Dec 2009
(8427) Page Views

Another coffee table book, this photo collection focuses on one of the greatest (and also thoroughly overplayed) bands ever, the mighty Led Zeppelin, While many of the photographs have been widely published, the collection is nonetheless a great record of Zep at their peak. Neal Preston captured many fantastic images of the band showing Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham in full flight, both on stage and off. The result is this oversized book of color and black-and-white images that stands as an impressive visual reference.

Author Neal Preston Online


From Zero to Rock Hero

From Zero to Rock Hero

From Zero to Rock Hero in Six Weeks
Author: Owen Edwards
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Collins Design Books
Posted: Dec 2009
(5762) Page Views

The cover of this book looks more like a manual for the Rock Band video game, and that may be precisely the point. For the love of Pong, kids, if you’re going to invest all that time into playing a game about playing rock music, why don’t you invest it in really playing rock music? This book is nicely illustrated and with an accompanying CD that comes together as a six-week crash course that will turn beginner musicians into hot rock guitarists and teach them to play in the styles of the world’s most famous bands. Guitar teacher and musician Owen Edwards shares the styles of legendary rockers such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica, allowing readers to build a repertoire of both classic and modern-day rock songs.

The accompanying CD includes more than twenty riffs inspired by world-famous rock and metal classics, and dozens of hot licks covering essential techniques: bending, sliding, vibrato, and phrasing; two-handed tapping, harmonics, arpeggios, and speed picking are all broken down step-by-step fashion that helps to guide the beginner to fruition quickly. Put down that dumb fake guitar and pick up a real six string!

Author Owen Edwards Online


Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall

Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall

Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall
Author: Jim Marshall
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Posted: Dec 2009
(4487) Page Views

If you love rock’n'roll, you probably have an affinity for rock photography as well. So many iconic rockers earned their stardom not only because they were musical, but because they were also photogenic. That’s the way it should be because live rock’n'roll—at least the good stuff—isn’t about music alone. It is a craft that incorporates and embraces many elements of theater, dance, cinema, and of course photography. For the first time, images from rock photographer Jim Marshall’s extensive color archive are published together in book form and include many rare images. Marshall’s unique style and seemingly unlimited access to giants like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Who make this a fantastic coffee table book.

Author Jim Marshall Online


Michael - the Book

Michael - the Book

Michael
Author: Jason Fine
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Posted: Dec 2009
(4701) Page Views

It almost goes without saying that this book attempts to tell the story of Michael Jackson’s epic life. It is, essentially, an amalgamation of several rolling Stones stories (usually cover stories) along with more recent text and over 100 photos to bring it all together. There are multiple writers represented in the book under the editorial eye of Jason fine, but Ben Fong-Torres is one of the best writers at Rolling Stone Magazine. He gives us our first glimpse of a young star on the rise in an article that would be the first of many Rolling Stone cover stories on Jackson. A decade later, on the verge of releasing his megahit Thriller album, Jackson starts showing his unusual side, telling journalist Gerri Hirshey about the loneliness of stardom, confessing he had only two friends in the world and that he identified with Peter Pan. This isn’t a book that focuses on the dark corners of Jackson’s life, however, and included are some very positive tributes and memoirs of Jackson written by the likes of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Will.i.am, Quincy Jones, and Sheryl Crow.

Author Jason Fine Online


We'll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-biz Saga by Paul Shaffer

We'll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-biz Saga by Paul Shaffer

We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Show-biz Saga
Author: Paul Shaffer
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Flying Dolphin Press
Posted: Nov 2009
(4214) Page Views

Paul Shaffer, a lifelong hipster and Hammond organist, not to mention the longtime leader of David Letterman’s band, explains how a kid goes from a remote Canadian town at the tip of Lake Superior to a gig in New York City leading one of the most famous television bands ever. From playing seedy strip joints in Toronto to being the first musical director of Saturday Night Live to helping to form the Blues Brothers to being onstage every night with David Letterman—Shaffer shares it all. This is a funny, candid memoir that isn’t afraid to explore risky and risqué encounters with the likes of John Belushi, Jerry Lewis, Mel Gibson and Britney Spears. In essence, it is Schafer offering a behind-the-scenes story of his life.

Author Paul Shaffer Online
Website


Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon

Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon

Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon
Author: Harvey Kubernik, Scott Calamar, Diltz Henry, and Lou Adler
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Sterling Press
Posted: Nov 2009
(17815) Page Views

Laurel Canyon is literally a canyon in Los Angeles, and it has long been a cradle for the biggest names in rock’n'roll. Just a few who called it home include Sonny & Cher, The Doors, The Turtles, Canned Heat, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Eagles. Those artists and many more cultivated their immortal sounds in Laurel Canyon. The book Canyon of Dreams a huge tome at well over an inch thick and 4.5 pounds traces the history of the community and its enduring legacy. Taking a deeply personal approach, it uses a multiple-voice oral history based on exclusive interviews with the area’s musical elite. Interesting and often rare photos accompany the text.

Author Harvey Kubernik, Scott Calamar, Diltz Henry, and Lou Adler Online


Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls

Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls

Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls
Author: Charles R. Cross
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: It Books
Posted: Nov 2009
(5581) Page Views

Not another Led Zeppelin book! Yes indeed, yet another company has found yet another angle to put the Led Zeppelin name on the cover of a book. But wait, this one may be the coolest Zeppelin book yet. Remember pop-up books when you were a kid? Well, this is similar except that there are all kinds of little goodies hidden in enveloped pages throughout - twenty interactive and rare reproductions of historical memorabilia, including Zeppelin tickets, concert posters, old stickers, and even a CD. Author Charles R. Cross surveys Led Zeppelin’s entire career, explores their landmark contributions album by album, and includes spectacular (though not particularly unique) photographs of the group in full flight. The book is also contained with a “keepsake slipcase,” making this Led Zeppelin book a fine gift as well as a fitting tribute to the legendary band.

Author Charles R. Cross Online
Website

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