Category Archives: ROCK 101

Books that Rock…nothin more,nuthin less!

ROCK 101….Leftover People By Brent Jensen

imageLeftover People is the second book from Brent Jensen a fellow Canadian who wrote the excellent book No Sleep Til Sudbury about growing up and listening to hard rock in the 80s. In No Sleep, Brent takes us from the time of seeing Iron Maiden live in Sudbury on Maidens 1984 Powerslave tour and how it all falls into place musically for him when he again goes and sees Maiden on there 2007 (23 years later)tour when they recreated the whole Powerslave meal deal live!

Like I said Brent’s  first book No Sleep til Sudbury is a great read! Brent tells great stories like meeting Gene Simmons and whatever happened to Dave Allison the original guitar player from Anvil? Well buy the book and find out! Plus he talks about guitar heroes,his analogy of new Aerosmith vs Ol Aerosmith is one of the best written pieces describing the two! Well put,and many, many more music stories,drinking stories ..it’s all there and for me it’s the book I wish I could have written as I can relate to many of Brent’s stories both musically and personally. Don’t be fooled by the title of Sudbury being in the title,you can be from Mars and still read this book as if you listened to hard rock from anywhere in the world you will be able to relate!

So so here we have the followup to No Sleep and that’s Leftover People which Brent describes in detail his journey thru the United States on a promotional book tour for No Sleep…

Brent is contacted by a fellow named Chris Long( whose name is later rechristened to Pink Chief) a fellow writer who wrote a book about working for Poison as a personal assistant to Bobby Dall. The book is called Shot Full Of Poison,I myself have not read it but from what Brent says his poor pal Mr Long almost had a nervous and mental breakdown working for Mr Dall!

Basically Brent tells us of his road trip that he takes promoting No Sleep Til Sudbury in parts of the U.S. with Chris Long who has booked them into vinyl shops/coffee shops instead of regular places like bookstores and along for the journey is Brent’s buddy Flemming (who by the sounds of it could write his own book!) and Chris Longs son Jesse.

Brent does a great job of writing about his journeys on the road thru various stops and at the early stages of how he and Flemming would fuck with Long when he would come to their hotel room..they would signal him thru the window that the door to their hotel room was open and then Long would go to open it and it was locked! All the time Long fell for it! I think we can all relate to people we have screwed with and toyed with thru the years!

Brent also tells us of another great story about some female woman who they termed the Nashville Predator(Jensen and Crue are in Nashville ) as she stalked them and treated them to drinks in which Brent had to pay as her credit card was declined and I won’t give it away but it’s a great hysterical story.

The real great thing I like about Brent’s two books Is that as a hard rocker I can totally relate to him especially musically. In Leftover People he talks about Guns N Roses Use Your Illusions and why he made one big greatest hits single  disc out of there double discs and they all included songs that were written by Izzy Stradlin and once he was gone by the end of 1991 Guns was done creatively!

Another “rad”thing about Brent’s books he can shift from present day stories and keep me totally hooked by throwing in his knowledge on all things that are hard rock n roll from past years! His school  grade stories about public speaking from the early 80s is the real deal. If you are around my age(47) you know how the Public Speaking went in schools back in the 80s. Brent tells us how he was scarred from speaking publicly for many years but overcame it and has no problem with it now except for as he says some crazys  that now and again appear at his book signings.(more good stories there).

One of these Chapters in the book is called Saskadelphia I don’t want to give it away too much but after reading about artists diverse in this chapter like The Tragically Hip,Barenaked Ladies,Kesha,Toni Basil,Jensen ties it up all nice and neatly just don’t offer him or Flem a Burger King Whopper with guacamole after a night of drinking!

Each city that this book posse travels thru there are tales to be told. Chattanooga,Macon,Jacksonville and Melbourne are all described in great detail as these are the book tour stops!

Melbourne Florida at their book tour stop Brent notices Jack Starr he of Virgin Steele fame(New York band from the 80s) and the two get to talking and find out they have a mutual respect for each other. The moral of the story is that it’s good to meet your heroes and it’s even better when they turn out not to be dicks!

Leftover People is a great read from start to finish. The road stories like i said are classic and the people who Jensen comes across are sometimes interesting characters to say the least!

Now to be honest with everyone here, I like reading rock biographies only if they are authorized and only if it’s  the rock guy telling his story. I can’t handle bullshit books it’s a waste of time and well I don’t have money to toss around on junk. But last year when I think it may have been on bravewords.com I read about Jensen’s first book (No Sleep) and was intrigued by his title and when i went to his site and read his write-up on the book i was hooked and had to get it so it was off to Amazon.ca and it was the best $20 I spent in a long time!

Leftover People I was able to score off of Brent’s site as he had a contest and I won it! Brent told me on Monday am that I won and  he sent the book  and 3 days later,in my hands!

Now that’s  service!

Were lucky in Canada to have rock authors like Jensen,Martin Popoff (whose written a ton of books two of my faves are his books on UFO and Hair Metal) Sean Kelly(Metal On Ice) and Brian Vollmer(Gimmie A…R!)These dudes are the real deal as when you email via Facebook or goggle Mail they get back to you with whatever it is your questions are about. Why not support our homegrown boys! It’s simple ….buy these books and put the friggin electronics down!

 

 

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Rock 101….Joe Perry/Rocks-My Life In And Out Of Aerosmith

image imageAnother first here at Arena Rock. My first book review under the new category of ROCK 101…..Enjoy..

Also me and Aaron are doing a double review of Joe Perrys book here and at his site(KeepsMeAlive)

Joe Perry has to be one of the first cool looking rockstars I had ever seen! Kiss hid behind makeup at the time(late 70s and early 80s)but Joe had the rock swagger down pat/he played cool guitars/co wrote real cool tunes with lead singer Steven Tyler and just had Rocker written all over him!

My daughter Lauren asked me what I wanted for Xmas this year so this was a no brainer and  Lauren delivered the book of Perry to me on Xmas day! So once we kinda got the festivities out of the way I sat down and started in…..

Of course in  this day and age all these Ol Rock Dogs are putting out bios! Fair enough as no one buys records anymore so buy books I guess……

The book itself is layed out real cool with of course Joe on the cover but inside a ton of pics from growing up thru to Aerosmith in the 70s and even drops in a couple of Joe Perry Project pics for good measure( his second solo album I’ve Got The Rock n Rolls Again is a bonafide classic here at Arena Rock) right thru to today with some family pics!

Its evident that early on in the book you see a young Perry driven by the guitar and the sounds of the day growing up from Chuck Berry to the  Beatles and the Stones thru to Hendrix and Jeff Beck(who he met when he played a club in Boston) as Steve Tyler met Mick Jagger in his Tyler’s book(Does The Noise Inside My Head Bother You) before even Tyler and Perry hooked up.

Perry tells it as he see’s it especially when he talks about that time working as a 19 year old at a resteraunt in Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire when Steve Tyler and his band came up from Boston took over the diner being loud and obnoxious and making a mess of the place and well who had to clean up the mess after Tyler and crew left? That’s right folks Mr Perry! When there paths did cross again Tyler and Perry did indeed move to 1325 Commonwealth Ave in Boston and formed Aerosmith with Tom Hamilton,Joey Kramer and there original rhythm guitarist Ray Tabano who was a pal of Tyler’s but when Tabano wasn’t showing up for rehearsal it was decided by Tyler and Perry that Tabono should be cut loose so Tyler let Perry do the dirty work!

The inner early working years of Aerosmith are really a focus of the early part of the book and Perry goes into great detail with there early management,the struggles they had to endure to make it,and of course the drugs which he goes into great lengths about and has no problem telling the world about it! But this book goes deeper Into it than that on how he’s always been a family guy and that for him family comes first and of course his relationship with Tyler which can be at times volatile and creative at the same time!

He talks about his leaving Aerosmith over spilt milk(literally) his lean years fronting the Joe Perry Project,him rejoining Aerosmith,the manipulating paranoia of there manager Tim Collins. Joe leaves no stone unturned and for my money I love the fact that he goes in depth with the recordings of all there albums along the way. So yeah sure everyone loves a good story about debauchery but I also love hearing about how some of these albums were made. I’m gonna skip a couple. So for your reading enjoyment heres a quick rundown on how I heard it from Joe,well read it that was!!! ( for more indepth detail buy the frigging book!)

Here’s some Aero studio album info for Ya….

Aerosmith- the debut album was for Perry a bummer he loved the tunes but the production was not how he had wanted it to sound! Plus Tyler sang in a different range but overall Perry says hey,they got a record deal!

Toys In The Attic-Perry says this is the album that got them joining the big leagues Also there first with Jack Douglas producing. Interesting fact is that Perry writes in his book that he wrote the riff to Walk This Way sober back in 1975!

Rocks-Perry uses a 6 string bass on Back In The Saddle and during the recording of it passes the bass off and grabs a guitar and flings off the solo and it’s the take that we all have heard a million times over!

Done With Mirrors-Perry rejoins Aerosmith after 5 years away and they put this out and it fails with the public! Perry says nowadays he doesn’t diss this album as much as he knows theres pockets of fans out there that love this album(me and Tbone! Hello!) but at the time he says he was disappointed as the record sounded half finished to them!

Permanent Vacation- the bounce back record with the hits! Perry talks about in great detail the journey to Vancouver to record the next three records with new producers,outside songwriters(which drove Tyler crazy) but 5 million records later Perry says he’s grateful for the resurgence in there popularity!

Get A Grip- trouble from the get go. Started in LA went back to Vancouver and had issues with the mixing of the album…

Nine Lives- issues with there manager which resulted him in being canned and the fact that they hired Glen Ballard(the writer of that huge Alanis Morrisette album Jagged Little Pill) and than fired him and had to rerecord Nine Lives and than there drummer Joey Kramer checked out for issues(breakdown) they brought in a replacement drummer to do the album( it didn’t feel right recording with another drummer) but waited for Joey Kramers return…

Just Push Play- Perry pulls no punches here saying Tyler wanted to be hip with the times and some of these songs like Trip Hoppin are not Perrys deal and Perry pulls no punches that there producer Marti Friedrickson sided with Tyler all the time in the direction (Perry doesn’t like the sound) songs  and the cover as Perry says he was outvoted so the robotic cover he says was not his idea!

Music From Another Dimension- Joe says he loves the rockers on this album and he says all the ballads that Steve Tyler brought to the record Perry does not like except for one! He says the album got a bad rap from the public by the fact that people (like myself actually) said it was too ballad driven.

Like the fact that Perry is totally cool calling out issues when there are issues and it goes to show you that thru all the makings of every single Aero record they had problems even when they got sober!

Of course family life is a big part of the book as well and the drug use is already well documented within Aerosmith but he’s open and frank about his and Tyler’s relapse a few years back that almost cost Perry  his marriage and Joe pulls no punches in regards to Tyler’s girlfriend at the time.

Ok I wasn’t gonna go there with a drug story but one of which is kinda funny is on the Pump tour Skid Row was opening for Aerosmith and Perry says that the very first encounter he had with  Sebastian Bach (lead singer)the first thing Bach said to him was “Dude I wanna get high and smoke hash with you and Steven!” Perrys response was he laughed and said “that ain’t happening!”

Perry balances the book out very well with personal life and of course Aerostories! The whole Brand Tyler chapter is a crazy read! WTF was Tyler thinking? This book I would say is a  highly recommended!

This is a great read from a guy who had it all,lost it all,got it all back and almost lost it all and once again got it all back!

Once A Rocker ….Always A Rocker….