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  • Book Reviews

    by Max Ink Staff Writers


    Right Place, Right Time - The Life Of A Rock & Roll Photographer
    Author: Bob Gruen
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Abrams
    Posted: Oct 2020
    (148) Page Views

    Bob Gruen has written an insightful, thoughtful and very engaging autobiography that covers the arc of his whole life. Gruen, who turned 75 on October 23rd, goes back to his childhood, having grown up in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. That changed in 1965 via a connection with a local friend, whereby nineteen year old Gruen was able to move into a shared apartment in the spot he longed to be: Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

    Approximately 25 miles away from Great Neck and the homogenous, insulated, suburban life that Gruen had experienced, Manhattan is a world apart. Greenwich Village, which has become known as the West Village, along with the East Village across from it, is the most progressive, youth driven and arty area in all of New York and the country at large. Being the home of New York University and Washington Square Park, the latter of which Gruen frequented often, they were and remain major contributors to this exciting and avant-garde culture that Gruen took to immediately.

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    Lou Brutus Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate: Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Vomiting at Inopportune Moments

    Lou Brutus Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate: Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Vomiting at Inopportune Moments

    Lou Brutus Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate: Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Vomiting at Inopportune Moments
    Author: Lou Brutus
    Review By Tommy Rage
    Publisher: Rare Bird Books
    Posted: Oct 2020
    (439) Page Views

    Lou Brutus shares the process of compiling his memoirs, and the enjoyment he gets from sharing his stories of getting peed on by a famous dog, to being pursued by Wisconsin State Troopers.

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    Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted

    Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted

    Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted
    Author: Neal Preston
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Reel Art Press
    Posted: Nov 2017
    (5721) Page Views

    “I want the reader at the end of this book to feel like they’ve just spent a year on the road with Zeppelin with one day off, then six months with Guns ‘n’ Roses, with one day off and then five years with Bruce Springsteen. Exhilarated and exhausted.” - Neal Preston

    Neal Preston is one of the most published, known and respected music based photographers of modern times. He was busiest as a young man with the stamina to be working almost constantly during rock’s golden age: The 1970’s.

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    All photography by Lynn Goldsmith

    All photography by Lynn Goldsmith

    KISS - 1977-1980, Photography by Lynn Goldsmith
    Author: Lynn Goldsmith
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Rizzoli
    Posted: Oct 2017
    (6110) Page Views

    Celebrated and veteran photographer Lynn Goldsmith, in conjunction with top shelf (no pun intended) book publisher Rizzoli, has compiled and released an excellent presentation of the band KISS during their height of popularity, that being 1977 through 1980. With access and trust being key for successful photography, (in addition to the obvious talent, creativity and eye) Goldsmith had that access in spades with the band. While incorporating her own compelling ideas and gifts in her craft, Goldsmith was able to capture stellar images of this highly theatrical and visual group of four distinct personas that comprise KISS. This includes many candid, behind the scenes photos, and a nice mix of color and black and white.

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    Tommy James

    Tommy James

    Me, The Mob, And The Music - By Tommy James with Martin Fitzpatrick
    Author: Tommy James with Martin Fitzpatrick
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Scribner
    Posted: Jul 2016
    (5587) Page Views

    This compelling book tells the story of how Thomas Jackson, later to be renamed Tommy James, played locally in Niles, Michigan for years until a cover of an obscure song called Hanky Panky in ‘64 was cut. One of a few songs he and his group recorded in a local studio, it was to have huge consequences when two years later a radio DJ in Pittsburgh discovered it and began playing it very frequently. It received a rousing response from listeners and Tommy had a big regional hit on his hands.

    Things snowballed from there, with Tommy taking on a manager who negotiated with several record company executives that were quite interested in signing Tommy and the band. While Tommy went overnight from languishing in small town Michigan to being able to mull over these tantalizing offers from several NYC record company honchos, he was suddenly informed that all of them but one was still interested, that being Morris Levy and his Roulette Records. It turns out that Levy was a ruthless and feared figure in the industry and had made it clear to all the other executives that Tommy was HIS artist and they had to back off. Not wanting to deal with Levy’s wrath, they did.

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    Carmine Appice

    Carmine Appice

    Stick It! - My Life of Sex, Drums, And Rock ‘N’ Roll, by Carmine Appice with Ian Gittins
    Author: Carmine Appice
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Chicago Review Press
    Posted: Jul 2016
    (6322) Page Views

    This page turning book, written by Carmine with the help of Ian Gittins, tells of the amazing, fifty year plus year journey of one of the most influential, innovative and well known rock drummers of all, and one who has seen and done everything that someone could dream of in living a proverbial rock star life.

    Growing up in Borough Park, Brooklyn, a very Jewish and Italian area of NYC, Carmine hung with gangs as a teenager and indulged in some of their hoodlum activities. At least a couple of the other guys wound up going to jail or dying from overdosing. Or were snuffed out from Mafia related reasons upon getting involved with organized crime. Carmine decided that he wasn’t going to go in that doomed direction, and was determined to make it in music instead. After toiling in some other groups trying to make it he joined The Penguins, another local band, after being highly impressed with their musicianship. They changed their name to the much more interesting Vanilla Fudge when a female fan said after a concert that they sounded like a white soul band, like vanilla fudge. They also found an effective manager in Phil Basile, in good part because he was connected to the mob and owned a big and popular club in Long Island to have them be the house band for.

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    Lita Ford's Autobiography

    Lita Ford's Autobiography "Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir"

    Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir
    Author: Lita Ford
    Review By Laura Sorensen
    Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
    Posted: May 2016
    (4723) Page Views

    A review of Lita Ford’s book “Living Like A Runaway.” Lita tells it straight from the heart, even when it doesn’t reflect well on her. She is not just a talented musician, she’s an icon, a queen, “The Queen of Heavy Metal” as some have said. Her story is one of courage, hope and inspiration. I highly recommend this book to any fan of rock and roll music.

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    Punks, Poets & Provocateurs: NYC Bad Boys, 1977 - 1982 by Marcia Resnick and Victor Bockris

    Punks, Poets & Provocateurs: NYC Bad Boys, 1977 - 1982 by Marcia Resnick and Victor Bockris

    Punks, Poets & Provocateurs: NYC Bad Boys, 1977 - 1982
    Author: Marcia Resnick and Victor Bockris
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Insight Editions
    Posted: Feb 2016
    (5259) Page Views

    In 1977, Marcia Resnick, then 26, began photographing the downtown Manhattan cultural scene. Downtown was “where it was at” for a convergence of rock and roll, jazz, film, literature and art that in retrospect stands as as the counterculture’s last hurrah. And what a hurrah it was. Resnick reflects back on this era by musing “The people from the extraordinary New York milieu amongst whom I was living and working had no way of knowing that the years between 1977 and 1982 were enchanted, endangered, and unrepeatable.” It’s these years that the book covers.

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    All My Friends Are Rock Stars

    All My Friends Are Rock Stars

    All My Friends Are Rock Stars
    Author: Theron Moore
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Mean Machine Press
    Posted: Dec 2015
    (5160) Page Views

    Book review of All My Friends Are Rock Stars focused on the local rock’n’roll scene during the late eighties and early nineties in the geographical triangle of Rockford, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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    Terry O'Neill's Rock & Roll Album

    Terry O'Neill's Rock & Roll Album

    Terry O’Neill’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Album
    Author: Terry O'Neill
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: ACC Editions
    Posted: Apr 2015
    (7176) Page Views

    Terry O’Neill is one of the world’s most respected and collected photographers. His widely seen work can be found internationally as permanent installments in art galleries and private collections, and is exhibited in over 30 cities.

    Some background: Born in 1938 to Irish immigrant parents, O’Neill grew up in the East End of London. His initial ambition was to be a jazz drummer. He played at United States Air Force bases and jazz clubs throughout and around London, eking out a meager living. He then applied for a job as an air steward with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC; later to be renamed British Airways). He had hoped to use his off-duty spells in New York City to play in clubs. However, BOAC offered him a position in their technical photography department. O’Neill accepted. This would lead him into the photography world that changed his life.

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    "AC/DC FAQ" by Susan masino

    AC/DC FAQ
    Author: Susan Masino
    Review By Sal Serio
    Publisher: Backbeat Books
    Posted: Apr 2015
    (8682) Page Views

    There’s probably no one on the planet more qualified to write the ultimate fan’s guide to AC/DC than Madison journalist Susan Masino. Having first met the iconic and diminutive Australian rock group in 1977 during their first tour of the United States, Masino struck up a friendly rapport with the band, which has lasted over the years. Additionally, Masino has developed a professional relationship with AC/DC, having interviewed them a few times, including, perhaps, the only interview with the entire band at once - including Bon Scott - in late 1977. Masino also published the book “Let There Be Rock: The Story Of AC/DC” in 2006.

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    Punk Rock Blitzkrieg - My Life As A Ramone
    Author: Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag
    Review By Michael Sherer
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Posted: Mar 2015
    (5464) Page Views

    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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