Category Archives: ROCK 101

Books that Rock…nothin more,nuthin less!

Dave Mustaine: Rust In Peace-The Inside Story of a Megadeth Masterpiece

Happy New Year’s Folks. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting nothing but Book Reviews. Hope you find some interesting reviews here that may even pique your interest in checking this stuff out.

A cool concept for a book really from Dave Mustaine and his ‘Deth buddies.

Write a book on the timeline that took your band from basically being a minor league team into a major league team.

“Rust In Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece” is a great read over its 208 pages.

Once I dug into this book it was a two day read as I could not put it down.  

This book comes right from the people who were there recording “Rust In Peace”.  

Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Freidman, Mike Clink(producer) all get their say in the making of a game-changer album in their mega world.  Sadly ‘Deth drummer Nick Menza passed away back in 2016.

Chapter One begins with Megadeth on tour promoting 1988’s “So Far So Good So What” release and touring Europe opening for Iron Maiden (along with David Lee Roth and KISS) on that summer’s Monsters of Rock Tour.

Plain and simple Megadeth is a mess. Both Dave’s are strung out on heroin and are having issues, to say the least at what is happening off stage instead of what’s happening on stage.

Basically, their management yanked them off the tour and sent them back to LA to pull it together which took time as both Dave’s were in and out of rehab more times I could count. 

The two Dave’s were so out of control with drug abuse ( you name it they did it) that they fired their management at the time and hired Doc Mcghee but before they even recorded the album Mcghee quit as there manager as Doc said he was tired of cleaning up Motley Crue and certain members of Bon Jovi. 

Enough was enough came the word from everyone around the Megadeth camp. 

Album four from these guys would be the make or break record and of course, we all know it definitely made the ‘Make’ category.

The two Dave’s basically canned guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Beehler (who in this book talks openly about his time in the band). 

The book focuses on the rehab stint’s of course as well as the auditions of guitarists and drummers and the recording process of the Rust In Peace album.  A real good read as the book has a good flow.

Ok here’s a few juicy tidbits of info for you. Maybe you will know this info already but I didn’t…

-Marty Friedman before joining Megadeth had actually auditioned for Ozzy before Zakk Wylde got the job.

-Being a drummer in Megadeth is no easy feat as ask the two techs who got the job of the full-time drummer when the main guy wasn’t cutting it anymore. Original drummer Gar Samuelson (RIP) was replaced by his drum tech Chuck Beehler and a few years later Beehler himself was replaced by his drum tech who was Nick Menza! No such thing as job security in Megadeth!

-Producer Mike Clink was on speed dial when Guns N Roses would begin recording their “Use Your Illusion” records as Clink would bow out of the recording which is what happened towards the end of the recording of the ‘Deth album. Needless to say this irked Mustaine!

Publishing and writing and what basically boils down to money are also featured predominately in this book. 

Below is a paragraph from Mustaine that sums it up.

Chris Poland was the original guitar player in Megadeth on their albums so as you can see alumni have come in and out of this band over that time period.

Once the album hit the streets and touring as part of the European and North American Clash of the Titans tour as well as opening Judas Priest’s Painkiller Tour pushed this album to Platinum and in return made Megadeth a headline act once 1992’s “Countdown To Extinction” came out.

As the 90s went on eventually Menza and Friedman both left replaced by other players yet come 2015 there was talk of a reunion but to make a long story short, money(Shocker) and one person not being up to snuff in the chops department put an end to any chance of a reunion. 

This was a great read as you can see the inner workings of a band on its rise but almost coming unglued due to the excesses of the two Dave’s but cleaning up gave them a new lease on a career which is still going to this day.



Rob Halford: Confess (2020)

 Amazing that Rob Halford will turn 70 years young next August and in that time Robbo has lived the life of the “Metal God”.

 “Confess” is the autobiography right from Halford’s long and still ongoing career and when the book was announced 4 or 5 months ago I preordered it right away on Amazon.

I really was interested in what the Metal God would have to say as Rob has kept his private life private but now comes the time for Halford to…


What a great title for a book. Brilliantly written and it’s as if Rob is reading it to you. The great thing is the book keeps moving along so basically, the first 50 pages are about the young Halford growing up in England. 

From there on out it’s about how theatre life and music piqued the interest and of course how Rob ended up in Judas Priest and how they became a HUGE band in North America in the 80s.

Halford goes into great detail about a lot of things about growing up a gay man in the ’70s and into the 80s where he had massive anxiety issues if people were to find out. I must mention that his bandmates in Judas Priest always respected his lifestyle as did his own family including his parents and siblings.

The story however is not all rosy…

Rob touches on how he was sexually assaulted by a friend of his dads as a teen which he said if his father were still alive he would have never put the story in the book. Also, there’s the time when Halford had sobered up in the mid-80s by the time Turbo was released and Rob’s then-partner committed suicide.  Speaking of suicide there is also the story of the two young men who tried to commit suicide (one died and the other man lived) and how Priest was taken to court back in 1990. 

Rob goes back and forth in telling the tale of personal issues(relationships) going on in his world as well as personal issues in Judas Priest which with success happens.

The story of Priest is great as Halford goes into great detail about there first two albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny being on the Gull label and how for years CBS Records were trying to buy the rights for it but the owner of Gull Records to this day refuses to sell them.

Lots of great inside stuff as Rob talks about how Priest broke through in America touring their asses off and making album after album.

Want to know the real story about whether or not “Unleashed In The East” was live or as fans called it “Unleashed In The Studio”. It’s all here described in great detail.

If you are looking for any real Priest drama there really isn’t much(except for the issue of KK quitting) but the one thing that surprised me was that the two guitar players Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have not got along since 1977 when Priest was recording the Sin After Sin album. 

Rob writes about the time they recorded in the late 80s with writing trio Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW). The British trio had written a string of Number One U.K, Rick Astley! Need I say more. Even though the three songs Priest recorded with SAW  never saw the light of day Halford still says he likes what they did with them.

Lot’s of touring stories and Rob is candid about that time on tour when Priest played Toronto on the Operation Rock N Roll tour back in 91 and how things broke down in all thing’s Priest.

Rob talks about leaving Priest in which he says it was a miscommunication as he wanted to make a solo album and go back whereas the Priest guys took it that he wanted to quit.

Tons of info (Rob seems like a genuine fella ) and as Rob does say it was good to Confess after all these years.

Get This!

Pictured below Izzy and The Metal God!



I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks


Growing up in Canada we didn’t get MTV in the ’80s. (What we got was our own video station called MuchMusic). MTV was a big business when I was in high school as they played way more hard rock videos than what MM offered here in Canada.

A guy in high school had a huge satellite dish in the mid-80s and various times during the year we would go over to his place to watch the debut showing of the latest Van Halen or Def Leppard videos. I still recall watching “KISS- Animalize Live and Uncensored” at his place the very first time MTV showed it. (early 1985) We were blown away as Canada’s MuchMusic even though it was good would not show that kind of stuff. 

“Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free”

I Want My MTV is put brilliantly together by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum who did over 400 interviews with directors, executives, producers, artists, VJs, and anyone else associated with the industry of MTV from its beginnings in ‘81 to the end of the music video era in ’92. 

The pic below sums it up perfectly…

Crazy to think that MTV when it began its run on Cable TV and even though it was based in New York. None of the NY cable companies would touch it. 

It was places like Tulsa Oklahoma and secondary markets that broke MTV, not the big U.S cities where all the main cable providers said that MTV would be done in a year.

Tons of great Chapters(see the picture above, how can that not get you psyched out) as one chapter focuses on David Bowie calling out VJ Mark Goodman out on why MTV for not playing Black Artists in 1983. Check it out below. Bowie tunes Goodman up. 

Michael Jackson basically changed that with the release of Thriller and Beat It. MTV took the stance of playing only ‘Rock’ videos so they said Jackson wasn’t rock until all of sudden Eddie Van Halen plays the solo on “Beat It” and MTV  basically says ‘Yep that’s Rock so add it to the rotation” Plus the time when umm, well read the excerpt below!

Rap had the same problem as well getting onto MTV than came the Run- DMC and “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith mashup broke down those barriers.

DMC tells the cool story of how they had Aerosmith’s “Toys in The Attic” in a crate with other records as they dug that drum intro which goes into the guitar riff.

DMC says that when they would talk about the song they would only know it by “Toys In The Attic”-Track 4 which was “Walk This  Way”. 

Run- DMC had no idea that the band was called Aerosmith or for that matter, they had no idea who Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were.  They had no idea the title of the song. Run- DMC only knew the song as track 4!

A contestant who won a Lost Weekend in Detroit with Van Halen was just that!


Any guesses on what video Chapter 21 is about?

This is such a great read as it goes year by year. The MTV Awards became a yearly staple at MTV.  Funny how to read stories about how Madonna basically stole the performance that year (1984) and made her a household name.

You can read about how MTV execs convinced Mick Jagger to say “I want my MTV” for $1. Or that the car on the cover of a ZZ Top album cost $250,000, so they put it in their videos to get the tax deduction! How video directors would all bid for the same jobs and at times it would get ugly between them. Better yet how about when Guns N Roses were the biggest band in the late to early ’90s. Axl had one of his friends hired at MTV to host Headbangers Ball. As Axl told his pal (Riki Rachtman) “You want the job at MTV? I’ll make the call!”


 Just read below as it pretty much sums up an 80s boardroom meeting at MTV!

Gene Simmons! LOL

Sorry for the shotty pics folks it’s the best I could do!

This book is full of stories about rockstars, dwarves, models, and drugs. How MTV almost did not make it into a second season or for that matter the second-ever video as after The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star Was Played the screen went black.(in case your wondering Pat Benetars You Better Run was the second video played) The perseverance of the original creators of MTV (Bob Pittman, John Sykes-not the Whitesnake fella, and John Lack) was very instrumental in getting MTV into all the homes in the U.S.A.

Amazing Read!

Martin Popoff: Iron Maiden Trilogy.

Hey, Folk’s Martin Popoff has just released his third book in a series focusing on Iron Maiden.

Empire of the Clouds just came out last week and I just received it in the mail and I’m psyched to dig into this book on what is easily my all-time favorite band.

Martin in all three books goes album by album,song by song not only the Iron Maiden material but Popoff also digs into the solo albums by Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith, Paul Di’Anno, Blaze Bayley throughout the four decades of Maiden!

As a fanboy since the summer of 1981, I can honestly say Martin does his homework as he basically has interviewed all of Iron Maiden even manager Rod Smallwood at various times throughout the years.

So for me, these books are legit.

Basically with the three Maiden Books combined you’re getting well over 700 pages of stuffed info!

Thanks for the books, Martin…

Click the link below and check out his books and support independent writers!







OFF THE RAILS- Rudy Sarzo (2012)

Rudy Sarzo as we all know was the Bass Player in Quiet Riot and Whitesnake but has also bounced around in other various acts throughout his 40 years of Slappin da Bass when the Cuban born Rudy ended up in Los Angeles and hooked up with a six-stringer named Randy Rhoads.

Off The Rails was written by Rudy himself and is basically the story of him meeting Randy, joining him in Quiet Riot in 1978. When Q.R could not get arrested with a North American Record Deal things fell apart.

Randy than left Q.R and joined the Blizzard of Oz in England where Rhoads recorded the debut album with Ozzy.

When Ozzy made band changes in 1981 Rhoads was the one who put out the call to get Sarzo in the band. Rudy auditioned and got the Ozzy gig and this is where the story takes off.

The book is written like a Diary. Day by Day, Month by Month as Rudy tells the tales of the Osbourne band on tour in the early days.

What is pretty interesting is everyone knows how iconic the Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madmen records are now. But back in 1981 when the North American Tour started some shows were packed where many also were sparsely attended. 

People were focused of course on Ozzy who already had the rap of biting off a doves head at a Jet Records meeting so that tag line followed the band throughout the first part of touring the States. 

Throughout the book, during this time Ozzy is lost in an abyss of booze and drugs in which his manager and soon to be wife Sharon tried to keep him from. It only got worse in 1982 but more on that shortly.

Rudy throughout the book posts actual reviews of those earlier Blizzard shows. There are more than a few Music Critics who thought that Bob Daisley (Bass) and Lee Kerslake(Drums) were still in the band playing the North American shows whereas it was Rudy and Tommy Aldridge(drums) who were in the band at that point as Kerslake and Daisley were fired a few months earlier.

That is called not doing your homework!

Off The Rails is a fitting title as Ozzy was indeed off the rails personally at the time in the early 80s as his marriage was crumbling apart and he just couldn’t kick booze and drugs. 

Aldridge/Sarzo and especially Rhoads were super chill as Ozzy was whacked off his rocker most of the time. Yet the band kept on touring and then on March 19, 1982, it really took a turn for the worse when Rhoads and two others perished in a plane crash which Sarzo writes in the book that Rhoads asked him to go with him and Rudy said he was too tired to get on that airplane.

In the book are all the affidavits of the witnesses of the plane crash. 

Ozzy, of course, went right downhill after yet as all the band and crew wanted to pack it in it was Sharon who kept the Crazy Train on the tracks. Bernie Torme as we all know filled in right away but couldn’t deal with it as he was trying to get a solo album finished at the time. So he was there and gone quickly. 

John Sykes was almost brought in but Sykes manager wanted too much money.

As everyone knows Brad Gillis stepped in and took over on guitar and Brad can be heard on Ozzy’s Speak of the Devil album. Upon its release, Rudy called Sharon and told him he was quitting.

Speaking of the Speak of the Devil record. It was supposed to be recorded with Randy. What I didn’t know was it was supposed to be all Sabbath stuff with Randy on guitar and the original plan was for the record to be recorded at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens! Randy was opposed to recording a double album of Sabbath tunes as Ozzy was in a pissing match with his ex Sabbath mates at the time. Speaking of pissing this was right around the time Ozzy urinated on the Alamo. 

Randy grew tired of the shenanigans and told Ozzy he would do two more records(one live and one studio) and one last tour and that would be it. 

Needless to say, Ozzy wasn’t happy and it led to more friction.

One guy that was really wild to read about was Marq Torien. Who is Marq Torien you ask? In the late ’80s Torien was the lead singer of the Bullet Boys but back in 82 Marq played at an audition with Ozzy and impressed Oz so he sent Torien to Sarzo and Aldridge who jammed with him and in no time told Ozzy there was no way Torien could play or handle the Rhoads stuff.

Clearer minds prevailed.

The Torien stuff is what makes these books interesting. Those little known facts that you have no idea that even took place.

As Sarzo puts it. He joined Ozzy with a phonecall and quit Ozzy in a phonecall from Sharon.

I remember reading in Circus Magazine back in the mid-80s that Ozzy sucker-punched Sarzo backstage at an outdoor show when the two met face to face.  This indeed happened as Ozzy was still pissed that Sarzo had quit.

Time Heals All Wounds.

But by the mid-90s Oz, Sharon, and Sarzo all mended their differences and put the past behind. Sarzo does write about it more than once that if it wasn’t for Sharon and Ozzy, Rudy would have never got a career going. 

Off The Rails is a great read as you get a glimpse of what it was like touring in a new band with an out of control lunatic at the mic (lol).

It’s like if I wrote this book myself. By that, I mean the paragraphs at times look off-center as well as spelling mistakes throughout which I even picked up on. Just the simple things really. Where was the Editor in all of this? Rando, another Bass Player should read this book, and let’s see if he has the balls to point out these writing flaws to his fellow 4 stringer Sarzo! 

I think not!

Little Sloppy but than again it’s like reading my Blog! Ha!



Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music (2020)


The name Ted Templeman first came on my radar back in early 1981 when I purchased my first ever Van Halen record that being Women and Children First with the album produced by Ted.

Just a few months later in the spring of 1981 comes another new Van Halen record titled Fair Warning and once again the name of Ted Templeman is listed as Producer.

Even at my young age back in 81, I knew there was a pattern developing, and by the time the 1984 album-hit the stores the last name of Templeman was listed as a producer on all six Van Halen records by that point. (1978-1984).

Author Greg Renoff has done a great job as the book reads like if Ted is talking to you directly over some beers. 

Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producers Life In Music is a great read. There are lots of cool findings in this book starting off with  Ted at a young age hanging in the studio watching Frank Sinatra sing and tell the producer what to do which Templeman adds came as a valuable lesson in dealing with artists down the road. A delicate balance.

Ted’s first production job was producing The Doobie Brothers’ self-titled release from 1971. From the Doobies, it was onto Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, Montrose (enter Sammy Hagar) Little Feat, and tons more of musical acts and artists.

When you look at Ted’s resume of production credits it’s very impressive (producing from 1971- 2010) but with all the success Templeman talks openly about working on albums and releasing singles that had stiffed on the charts. Ted can say when he was wrong and good on him for admitting the good and bad. Kudos to Ted talking about the Honeymoon Suite album he produced back in 1988. (Racing After Midnight)

When there is a credit to be be given Ted acknowledges how important Donn Landee(engineer) was to his production staff as he was Ted’s, right-hand man in the studio. 

Ted’s working relationship with Van Halen is of course what I was fascinated to deep dive into and Ted goes about it the right way.  He admits that there was turmoil in VH as the years went on but as Ted says Van Halen made it work for a while anyway’s.

Ted spills the beans but it’s the music that he spills the beans about which is a classy way to go. Renoff guides the conversation along with Ted as he goes from artist to band vice versa and in doing so talks at great lengths not only about the successful albums that he produced and the studio magic that happened.  

Van Halen gets a lot of pages as you would expect as Ted produced the first 6 Halen albums along with a coproduction of the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album from the Van Hagar era. (Andy Johns was not happy about Ted getting asked for co-produce that Halen album).

I loved this part of the book as Renoff gets Ted to go into great detail each album by album in the Van Halen catalog that he was involved in.

As I mentioned earlier Ted can admit fault when he knows he’s been wrong as in the case of not thinking Jump would be a hit as it was too much of a diversion of the classic Van Halen sound.  

What I found really interesting was how Ted said he wished the band had stayed the course of the Fair Warning sound which to my ears is probably the heaviest in the history of VH.

I could go on with about another 100 stories about the recordings of those Halen records but the best thing I can say is get a copy of this book and enjoy the story of a man who has his first and last name on the back of many of our Records/CDs and Cassette tapes in our music collection.

A must-read!





Book Review- AC/DC: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be: Mick Wall (2012)





Mick Wall is a writer whose name I first came across when I used to buy Kerrang back in the ’80s.

So anyone who has affiliated ties with Kerrang gets a pass in my book and speaking of the books. I have to thank the one and only Mr. Books who sent me a box of you got it BOOKS that had in it Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be written by Wall.

I have read a few AC/DC books and the one thing that you learn quickly about Angus and Malcolm Young is that they run the AC/DC ship with an Iron Fist! 

Well, specifically Malcolm runs AC/DC. 

Wall goes into great detail the cut-throat attitude that the Young brothers exert in dealing with anybody. Band members, managers, record company suits you name it.

Wall focuses a good 3/4’s of the book on the Bon Scott Years which is was a great read but common knowledge but what I really found really interesting was once Brian Johnson joined.

Back In Black in 1980 went through the roof in sales as everyone knows what some probably doesn’t realize is how quickly the roof came down on them.

The real trouble for AC/DC started in mid 81 when Atlantic Records released Dirty Deed Done Dirt Cheap in North America which was already a 5-year-old album featuring, of course, Bon Scott.

Malcolm and Angus were furious that Atlantic would try and release an older album with a different vocalist as they are trying to introduce the masses to a new lead singer in Johnson. Someone at Atlantic records made the comment that the employees of the record label were going to get bonuses as Dirty Deeds would sell no matter what.

It did as  Dirty Deeds sold 2 million records in the U.S

AC/DC especially Malcolm were pissed. 

When all this is going on AC/DC was recording For Those About To Rock in Paris as Malcolm and the boys were getting fed up with producer Mutt Lange taking days to get the perfect snare drum sound. Upon For Those About To Rocks release Malcolm over time has said the only song he liked from  FTATR  was the song they always play live which of course is the title track.

I find the 80s version of AC/DC intriguing as Wall personally disses Flick of the Switch which I personally love but that’s his deal.

The roll of turnover in the AC/DC camp is crazy over a 4 year period (79-83) these guys fired  4 managers ( Micheal Browning, Peter Mensch, Ian Jeffery, and Marsha Vlasick) 1 producer (Mutt Lange) and 1 drummer (Phil Rudd). Outta here.

Malcolm was always the guy who did the dirty work as he would tell all soon to fired employees or band members with one sentence  “You’re not wanted here!” 


Wall talks to Jeffery’s and Browning and they were both canned by Malcolm and that’s all he told him. You are not wanted here!

Supposedly Rudd and Malcolm went at it in fisticuffs so I’m sure not to much was said there at the time.

Wall also discloses that Atlantic Records wanted to drop AC/DC back in 1988 as Atlantic wanted AC/DC to record a power ballad! 

AC/DC than moved on to Atco Records and by 1990 released The Razors Edge and with the super huge hit single, Thunderstruck they never looked back.

Family is a big thing in this book as you know brother George along with Harry Vanda produced all those early AC/DC albums up to 79.

When Bruce Fairbairn was hired to produce The Razors Edge, Malcolm and Angus were impressed that Fairbairn put family first as they worked 9-5 hours in the studio. 

When Fairbiran could not commit to the Ballbreaker album in 95 (Bruce was producing Van Halen) AC/DC hired Rick Rubin. They didn’t like the fact that Rubin would come in and not stick around too much.

Their a lot of books out on AC/DC and this is was a decent read from front to back. It also helped that Wall has interviewed AC/DC including Bon so that gives this book a bit more an edge than others that are out there.






Greg Prato: KISS: Take It OFF- Truly Unmasked.

How’s about a One-Two KISS Book Review hook up with the one and only John “Mr. Vault” Snow”. Click the link below to read some great stuff courtesy of Mr.Snow.

‘Take It Off: Kiss Truly Unmasked’ by Greg Prato – Book Review

Remember that time back in 1984 when Gene Simmons hit the big screens as a bad guy in the Tom Selleck movie Runaway?  Well if you recall Mean Gene cut off pretty much all his hair.  So when Genie returned to his day job of a rockstar when KISS hit the tour trail supporting that years release Animalize. Simmons had a huge mop of hair. How did that happen?

Easy, Gene paid 800 bucks for this cool looking rock wig held together by a headband! haha.

I got photo evidence below…

The $800 dollar wig was one of the many things I got a kick out of Greg Prato’s book titled KISS-Take It Off: Truly Unmasked.

There are a ton of books out on KISS that features the whole era of the band. From the early beginnings of the makeup years in the early 70s to the ditching of the makeup in the early 80s back to the makeup back in the mid-90s.

Prato goes a different route as he just focuses on the KISS non-makeup years which are from 1983-1995 which is what I would say is a brilliant move.

Prato talks about how KISS and there 1982 Tour of North America was not selling that good so off comes the makeup and somewhat of a resurgence in their career.

Prato does his homework as he breaks down each non-makeup album and talks to the co-writers of songs (Jean Beauvior/Mitch Weissman) Producers (Ron Nevison/Toby Wright) and fellow musicians on there. thoughts (Charlie Benate) and radio dudes (Eddie Trunk) and even Ace Frehley himself!

Prato even nabs one-time KISS Guitarist Bruce Kulick who gives a ton of insight on the albums/the video and basically his time in KISS which makes this book a totally legit read.

Even Creatures when it was re-released in 1985 with the non-makeup lineup is discussed as well. Funny thing was the sales of it did not really boost Creatures sales which to me just boggles my mind at what were KISS fans doing when they hopped aboard the Lick It Up Express?!

Greg even interviewed Ron Keel as you know that Gene when he wasn’t acting or singing about putting his log in your fireplace, Simmons produced a few bands along the way in the mid to late 80s including Keel and Black N Blue.  Ron gives great insight into what the recording was like when the Demon produced Keel’s Right To Rock.

Even scenarios are asked if  Eric Carr had lived would he have been included with a reunion of Ace Frehley back in the 90s with Gene and Paul? I for one would have been on board with that. A reunion of The Elder’s lineup!

Such a great book and I got to thank the Boss(My Wife) for getting me this for Christmas!

Book Review: Holy Smoke: Iron Maiden in the 90s- Martin Popoff

Canadian Martin Popoff is a wizard when it comes to cranking out quality books. Just a little over 4 months ago Martin penned the fantastic Where Eagles Dare which chronicles Maidens rise from the early beginnings of Steve Harris and crew that takes us on the journey of Maidens juggernaut as one of the premier metal bands of the start of 1980  to 1990! You can find that book at Martin’s site. I reviewed it back in September and it’s a great read as there were some little tidbits of info in its 288 pages that I never even knew about and I’ve been following Maiden since the summer of 1981!

November 2019 and Martin release’s Holy Smoke: Iron Maiden In The 90s which takes you as the reader from the year 1990-1999.

Lots going on in the land of Maiden as they released in 1990 No Prayer For The Dying and in 1992 Fear of the Dark. Both of which are good but were kind of missing a little something and looking back it can happen as look at Maidens superior output in the ’80s.

Maiden was the classic case of Album/Tour/Album cycle like many a band before them and many after them.

Martin dives in with the Dickinson departure in 1993 as Maiden Drummer Nicko McBain loses his shit publicly at the time on Bruce leaving.

Enter new Maiden vocal fella Blaze Bailey. Martin gives a bunch of pages of the two Maiden albums( 1996’s X Factor followed by 1998’s Virtual XI) with Bailey fronting Maiden.

As Popoff always does in these books he does an album by album breakdown of each Maiden album. Chart History and some words on each Tour that followed each album’s release.

Martin also gets in the nitty-gritty of went down with Blaze as he was fired by Maiden and gets right into the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith to the band.

Speaking of Bruce, Martin dives into all of Bruce’s five 1990’s studio albums and Live Album release when Bruce was off in solo land. Each solo album is dissected and is a great read as well.

In regards to Bruce’s solo career, I’m sure if you’re a fan you have a fave of Bruce’s. Mine is probably a tie between Tattooed Millionaire and The Chemical Wedding release. Whats Martins fav you ask? Not saying but it did surprise me!

The book ends in the year 1999 when Bruce and Adrian return to Maiden as they had into the 2000’s!

Now I wait anxiously for the third book in the  Popoff Maiden Trilogy to drop as Maiden has put out some brilliant albums since the turn of the century!

Get This!






Book Review: Hard To Handle- The Life & Death of The Black Crowes-Steve Gorman

Hard To Handle and in its 369 pages is, without doubt, the best Rock Biography I have ever read!

Sure that is quite the statement but I tell you, author, Steve Gorman (had the best seat in the house as Steve was the Crowes Drummer from 1987 to 2013) has compiled such a fascinating read that once you start it you cannot put this book down.

Gorman has written a book in a way that you don’t even have to be a huge fan of the Crowes(they kind of lost me after the third album  1995’s Amorica) to get the dysfunction within a band. Steve pulls no punches in regards to anyone and I believe him when he writes the many tales of Rich and Chris Robinson and how they singlehandedly destroyed anything positive that came there way.

You want an example here’s one that Groman learned a year and a half later after a 55 date tour and recording session with Jimmy Page was canceled as Gorman bumped into Page in London.

Page told Gorman that he offered to write songs with the Robinson brothers for their next record, but Rich blew him off with a “No thanks! … We don’t need more songs.” “I was insulted,” Page said to Gorman, who furiously called the Crowes’ manager and told him, “I’m driving to Connecticut, and I’m going to kill Rich in his home.”

How Gorman tells these tales is amazing. It makes sense to see how one would go bonkers as Steve writes that the Crowes were on life support by 1999 and they hook up with Page for the Live At The Greek Theater show which resulted in there first Gold album in years and a renewed interest from Record Companies and Promoters about a tour and album with Page.

I could share many stories with you but let’s just say you would be better to track this book down for yourself! My daughter Lauren gave it to me as a gift this Xmas so it’s good I had some time off from work as I was immersed in this book big time.

I also have to add that I love how Steve gets right to it as he starts the book back in 1987 when he first hooked up with the Robinson brothers( Mr. Crowes Garden was their original band name). Gorman avoids that usual first 100 pages of a rock bio when one goes on about there childhood and whatnot.  Right to the meat and potatoes of the Book!

Speaking of 1987 that’s when Steve took up drumming(at the age of 25) and then 3 years later(1990)  Steve and The Black Crowes are opening in arenas for…

Aerosmith paid the Crowes $500 a night and as Gorman says, Joe Perry was a surly prick to them. Steve used the word ‘surly’.

ZZ Top who fired the Crowes after there hometown Atlanta show as Chris was announcing from the stage that ZZ sold out to cooperate sponsorship for the tour. (Miller Lite). Read the book and you can see how the Lead Singer became a hypocrite in regards to sponsorship.

Robert Plant who Gorman said that Plant and his band were the best to tour with had a 4-day layoff as both bands camped together at a park in Manitoba Canada!!

Producer Brendan O’Brien lays down the guitar solo on Hard To Handle off the debut album.

Gorman and Page took a nap together backstage in Page’s dressing room which pissed the brothers off. Haha!

Just a few tidbits for ya.

Chris and Rich fought constantly. Chris hated the Grateful Dead in the early ’90s but by 1995 Chris wanted the Crowes to become a band like the Grateful Dead as he became a huge DeadHead.

The third album Tall was scrapped at a cost of $600,000 and rerecorded and came out as Amorica which did not amuse the record company whatsoever.

They played Edinburgh Scotland once and never returned.

Manager Pete Angelus had to deal with a ton of shit to say the least. Angelus warned the Crowes early on that when you play a gig you always leave together as band. No wandering off as when Angelus was managing Van Halen in the early 80’s he had to calm down a Father in a hotel lobby as his daughter was in a room upstairs with David Lee Roth. The real problem Angleus noted was the Father was in the hotel lobby swinging a running chainsaw around!

When one reads this book you realize the Black Crowes was a band who couldn’t get along with anyone including themselves

Course what brought the band to break up was wait for it…

Money! When the Crowes first started Chris/Rich/Steve and Bassist Johhny Colt ( Colt has to be one of the coolest as fuck guys ever!) were all equals until Colt quit and they split the money 3 ways. No surprise there and as Steve writes about…

On the eve of a 2015 tour celebrating the anniversary of the band’s debut album, Chris Robinson demanded a larger percentage of the Crowes’ dough. Chris wanted all of Gorman’s share. Chris wanted 75 percent of all the band’s income which was an upgrade from the 33 1/3 percent Chris had been receiving.

One Hell of a fascinating read!

Here’s a quote on the back of the back that sums it up best!

“I couldn’t put the book down–absolutely unbelievable read! Now I know why I was lucky to play tennis; I didn’t have to deal with anyone except myself!”

John McEnroe, New York Times bestselling author of But Seriously and You Cannot Be Serious.