Book Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Joe Perry, with David Ritz - ROCKS - My Life In and Out of Aerosmith
Author: Joe Perry with David Ritz
Review By Michael Sherer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Posted: Oct 2014
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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
Review By Michael Sherer
Publisher: Rizzoli
Posted: Oct 2014
(3075) Page Views

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
Review By Michael Sherer
Publisher: Abrams books
Posted: Dec 2013
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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

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
(22491) 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.

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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
(17972) 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.

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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
(7527) 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.

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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
(4976) 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.

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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
(8448) 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.

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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
(5794) 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.

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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
(4515) 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.

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Michael - the Book

Michael - the Book

Michael
Author: Jason Fine
Review By Jeff Muendel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Posted: Dec 2009
(4726) 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.

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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
(4245) 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.

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