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Punk Rock Blitzkrieg - My Life As A Ramone


Author: Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:45 am

Born Marc Bell in ‘56 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, the drummer that’s best known as Marky Ramone certainly paid his dues before becoming a Ramone in ‘78. His very honest and thorough new autobiography tells his story all the way through. We learn that as a member of one of America’s earliest bands to define the heavy metal genre, Dust, Marc tasted a bit of real success with them, as they had a record deal with the Karma Sutra/Buddha label and some good opening tour slots. Marc also played with Wayne County, who would go on to be Jayne County, America’s first transsexual act. There was also time and a record with Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Hell was the first to wear torn clothing with safety pins, and influenced the whole punk scene in England, especially the Sex Pistols.


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The Haight: Love, Rock, And Revolution - The Photography of Jim Marshall


Author: Jim Marshall with Joel Selvin
Publisher: Insight Editions
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted January 19, 2015 at 4:12 am

One of the most important factors of Jim Marshall’s great success in capturing the life and times of the Haight-Asbury area of San Francisco during its hippie/psychedelic ascent in the pivotal years of ‘65 to ‘68 is that Marshall had lived in the general area since he was two years old, having moved there from his birthplace of Chicago in ‘36. Marshall had only lived elsewhere for two years, that being NYC from ‘62 to ‘64, where he was very busy on assignments from Columbia, Atlantic and ABC/Paramount Records, essentially launching his photographic pursuit which became a lifelong career. Marshall had taken his first photos in ‘59.


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Big Shots - Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons


Author: Guy Webster
Publisher: Insight Editions
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted January 5, 2015 at 2:38 am

Guy Webster grew up in Beverly Hills during the 1950’s and early ‘60’s, and was the son of Oscar-winning lyricist Paul Francis Webster. This afforded Webster an inside view and easy access to the evolving entertainment world at a level that very few of his peers enjoyed. Webster was in L.A. to see it go through much change and expansion during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, and was of the same generation of myriad talented and charismatic people beginning their careers at about the same time that Webster was his.


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Joe Perry, with David Ritz - ROCKS - My Life In and Out of Aerosmith


Author: Joe Perry with David Ritz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted October 9, 2014 at 4:42 am

With Aerosmith being such a successful, long lasting, and interesting band of modern times, I was quite curious as to what guitarist and songwriter Joe Perry’s life story would be like. Perry, 64, is refreshingly honest, introspective and thorough in this 371 page book. Many interesting and life spanning photos are included.

Perry takes us back to his childhood in Hopedale, Massachusetts, a small town in the Eastern region of the state. There’s ample information about his family, which played a big role in his life. Perry father’s side was Portuguese and his mother’s was Italian. Neither was at all musical, with Joe’s father being an accountant and his mother being a high school gym teacher. They were supportive, both morally and financially, during Perry’s formative years as he ambitiously pursued his musical goals. This essentially began through Perry having neighbors with teenage boys that played guitar. Hearing and seeing them lured him in to a lifelong love affair with guitars and rock and roll. The same occurred for Perry with the Beatles when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in ‘64, which served as a major catalyst for his longing to be in a band. Blues based rock was what became Perry’s muse, with Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac being a prime influence.


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Chris Stein/Negative - Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk


Author: Chris Stein
Publisher: Rizzoli
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted October 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

While Chris Stein is best known as the co guitarist and songwriter in Blondie, the band he cofounded with Deborah Harry in ‘74, he was photographing before he started playing guitar. Stein, 64, who grew up in Brooklyn, NYC, began photographing at the age of 8. Stein attended the School Of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan in ‘66 and ‘67 as he was finding himself. He then left “to be a hippie,” as he says. The environs and ethos of the the Village, Washington Square Park, The Bowery and downtown Manhattan in general shaped Stein’s own identity. Returning to SVA at the dawn of the ‘70’s as he was newly into his 20’s, Stein decidedly was a photography major. Seeing flyers for a relatively new band called New York Dolls in the lobby bulletin boards of SVA, Stein was curious about their over the top drag/androgynous looks. He went to see them at the long defunct Mercer Arts Center in downtown Manhattan. Opening for them was a another new band called Magic Tramps. Stein quickly fell in with them, especially their late lead singer Eric Emerson. It was Emerson that led Stein to the first performance of a girl group that the mother of Eric’s child, Elda Gentile, had founded. They were called the Stillettoes, and featured Deborah Harry, then unknown. Chris was smitten with her, and in short time was able to join the group as guitarist, mainly to be near Harry. Friendship turned to romance between them, and they would go on to form Blondie together not long after. 40 years on, and long after their romance ended in the late ‘80’s, they’re still best friends and business partners in the revived Blondie of ‘97, after have broken up in ‘82.


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Rock And Roll Stories - Lynn Goldsmith


Author: Lynn Goldsmith
Publisher: Abrams books
Review by Michael Sherer
Posted December 15, 2013 at 2:34 am

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.


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I Slept with Joey Ramone:  A Family Memoir


Author: Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted March 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm

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.


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