Category Archives: ROCK 101

Books that Rock…nothin more,nuthin less!

Swords And Tequila/ RIOT’S Classic First Decade

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BOOK REVIEW ……

Martin Popoff is a great writer who has written a ton of books about bands that normally would not have books written about them.(U.F.O/Accept & Max Webster) are three that come to mind)

Brooklyn’s  Riot would be one of these bands who came Oh so close but due to record company/management issues and a great Lead Singer Guy Speranza quitting(just as they were about to go mega) fell a little short in making it to the Big Time! Shame really as Riot had a real good run of about 4 Albums and a Ep! (1979s Narita 1981’s Fire Down Under, 1983’s Restless Breed thru 1984’s Born In America)

Say what ya want but that’s a better run of albums than many an act you do know about! Hello Poison……!

Martin always does  his due diligence on talking to pretty much members of Riot especially Riot guitarist Mark Reale  who provides all kinds of real cool stories about recording (each classic album is reviewed with track by track commentary) with other interviews with former members like Rick Ventura,Kip Lemming and Manager Steve Loeb. 

Some heat is put on Loeb in this book by the other Riot member’s for making them sign deals that were lopsided and by having missed opportunities. Loeb himself explain’s his side of the story to Martin. Even today Drummer Sandy Slavin has posted remarks about the dealings of Loeb and assistant manager Billy Arnell on  his Facebook page not necessarily by name mind you but by “Management”.

1981’s Fire Down Under should have made these guys superstars.

Riot had all the Big League Managers at the time salivating to work with them! Managers from bands like Sabbath and Q Prime(Metallica/Def Leppard) but for reasons it always fell apart for these guys amongst record label turnover and Riot themselves switching labels they just could not gather up any real momentum and when they did finally  get momentum Singer Guy Speranza got married/found God and packed it in with Rock N Roll! Also for all the accolades Riot received they were making no money this as well could wear and tear on you mentally  as well.

Riot were in a lurch but they scored in the singer search and hired Rhett Forrester and released 1983’s Restless Breed (which back than was my first Riot Purchase) but once again Riot were dropped by their record company but it didn’t deter these fella’s as by 1984 out came the Real Good Born In America and touring the arenas with KISS but the fact that Riot was on a  Canadian Disco Label didn’t do them any favours in the marketing regions of Hard Rock!

Eventually like all bands that struggle they break up and Riot did and kudos to them for struggling to survive for as long as  they did!

1988 Riot was reborn with just guitarist Reale remaining and he put out the Thundersteel album which I  had bought on Cassette tape but it did not catch on with me as I was looking for the Fire Down Under/Restless Breed/Born In America Riot and for me it wasn’t there! Full props though to Mark for never stopping…..

Riot to this day is still going and Martin does champion there cause.

I should also mention that Martin steps up with the book with pictures of the bands/record and tour adds. Stuff I have never seen before even back in the mid 80s when I was listening to these guys the first time around!  The Book also has the whole Discography of the band which is very detailed and there’s a section of submitted Riot Fan Email’s explaining the passion they have for these guy’s music! Martin even talks to the guy that played with Rhett in a band from Calgary back in the late 80s when Rhett relocated there.

Remember what I said earlier about Martin doing his due diligence in regards to this book….

Riot is one of the few bands that have had its share to tragedy as well. Rhett Forester was murdered in an attempted Car Jacking back in 1994(Atlanta) and the case was never really solved while original singer Guy Speranza passed away from cancer in 2003. Mark Reale passed away from complications from Crohns disease in 2012.

Riot though are one of those Gems of a band that may have never hit the big time but for many out there they did!

Props to Martin for writing this book! Thanks Man! Also Thanks Martin for securing and sending me a copy of this Book!

Folks do yourselves a favour and support our local Canadian Homeboy’s Martin Popoff and Brent Jensen as they are fantastic writers! Search em out and tell them Deke’s sent ya!

Shout It Out Loud/The Story Of KISS’s Destroyer

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Picked up this book in Vancouver at the Indigo Book Store and I was surprised  to see this  as I didn’t even know it existed!(released in 2015) Amazing that author James Campion could write in a detailed amount 330 pages of one album being a Kiss album to boot and to keep me interested!

Just like another great book that I recently read and reviewed which was Greg Renoffs Van Halen  Rising book chronicling only VH’s early years up to 1978 which you can check out here….https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/rock-101van-halen-rising-by-greg-renoff/ Shows me that you can write a book detailing a band and even though that bands main guys may not be involved in the book you do your homework and seek out those around that had a hand in the beginnings of a band(Renoffs Book) or the Destroyer book that chronicles the making of what many consider the best recorded Kiss album(Destroyer)

Campion in his book details the Destroyer album from the origins pre Destroyer when Kiss was selling out theatre’s (pre Kiss Alive) but hardly selling any albums. Kiss and their 3 studio albums before Alive(self titled,Hotter Than Hell and Dressed To Kill) failed to make any kind of dent on the charts. Kiss and Neil Bogart(Boss man at KISS’s label Casablanca Records ) decided to release the double live Alive as Casablanca Records was in huge financial dire itself.

Of course Alive saves the day. Kiss hits huge pay dirt and wants to make a serious album. So the search begins!

Campion quotes resources and past interviews but the Ace(no pun) In The Hole here is he did direct interviews with Jay Messina,Corky Stasiak and Bob Ezrin. Those three are responsible for the Production end of things on Destroyer as they give excellent inside to the recording of the album from the beginning of the sessions to the end note of Do You Love Me.

I always knew that Frehley didn’t show up for Sweet Pain but how about 4 (maybe 5  tracks as they all have a hard time remembering if Wagner played on Flaming Youth)tracks that are on Destroyer that supposedly Ace didn’t play on!?

Which ones you ask?  Other than Sweet Pain. How about Great Expectations?  Mmmm Beth ?! The biggest shocker though is God Of Thunder? WHUT?!….No Ace….by the sounds of it!

Ezrin brought in Dick Wagner(RIP)! Who’s  Dick you ask? Well other than playing a ton of lead guitar for Alice Cooper Wagner supposed did a ton of uncredited lead guitar work on Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings album.  Another Ezrin produced album. If you weren’t cutting the mustard in the studio Bob would call Dick!

What might even be more shocking is that Peter Criss played drums on the whole album! Criss does add that Ezrin tortured him take after take to up Pete’s game!

Beth like all the songs on Destroyer  are detailed in the book with very in-depth info from Ezrin and Crew. What kind of guitars were used. What kind of Amps. The book even mentions that Ezrin had to toss Gene and  Paul out of the studio so Criss could get his lead vocal done on Beth as Demon And Starchild were smirking and making fun of Criss!

Back to the  God Of Thunder mystery.  Did Ace or didn’t Ace play on the track. Campion when writing the book sat down with Ezrin and they listened to the  solo in God Of Thunder! Ezrin couldn’t exactly remember if Ace had played it or didn’t but Ezrin added that if Dick Wagner says he did,than as Ezrin adds Wagner did!

Of course no one back than knew this and good on everyone involved on keeping a lid on it! Course Simmons probably had a lawyer drop in a few times to make sure everyone knew their place in regards as keeping Kiss as how we know them.  Imagine back than if everyone knew Ace didn’t play on certain Destroyer tracks…..

Ken Kelly who did the awesome painting of Kiss on the cover is even interviewed! No stone is left unturned here folks!

Campion as well updates on currently what ever one involved with the making of Destroyer is currently up to.

Also what was real interesting is towards the end of the book Campion puts in his detective hat and if you recall on the Destroyer studio  version of Detroit Rock City of the dude getting into his car and hearing on the radio that a person was killed and of course by the end of the song the car skids out and  you hear the car crash.

Interviews at the time (1976) had Stanley saying that a Kiss fan had died on their way to a show. So Campion started digging around through various archived media to see if Stanley’s claim actually happened or didn’t! Give this dude credit man he did his homework and well I’m not telling you what the outcome was! Was it a true story or was Stanley hyping the KISS P.R Hype Machine Circa 76!

Not saying….

Hey! I can’t tell everyone everything.

Ok here’s a little food for thought!

Well how about I leave you with one more little detail! When Destroyer was first released it shot up the charts and shot down the charts real quick! Kiss freaked out. They were wondering did they over do it with too much bombastic flair that went over their fans heads? At one point there was talk of the whole album after its release being Destroyed and yanked off the market!

Beth being out as a 45 single believe it or not saved this albums ass!  You can also see why Kiss returned to producer Eddie Kramer and released the fantastic yet straight forward Rock N Roll Over! Don’t know how true all of this is but you know how some of those Kiss guys roll. I tend to believe it that at one point Destroyer could have been Destroyed! (Imagine how much those copies would be going for in 2016!)

If you come across this book pick it up or track it down on the Amazons of the world. Well researched  and it was cool to read a whole book on just one album!

 

 

All My Favourite People Are Broken/Brent Jensen

All I'm Going To Say Here Is...GET THIS!
All I’m Going To Say Here Is…GET THIS!

Back in late 2012, I was surfing the net as they say and I landed on Bravewords.com. There I noticed a blurb about a book that was coming out called No Sleep Til Sudbury: Adventures In 80s  Hard Rock And Metal Deconstruction.

WHUT!?? The article mentioned that the author Brent Jensen had written a book about growing up in Sudbury during the 80s and how hard rock had shaped his growing up as a teen.

Double WHUT!!? I grew up in the 80s(well some would say that’s open for debate today that I grew up at all) and music ruled my life so before I headed to Amazon.ca I knew I was purchasing this book!

No Sleep was quickly ordered and once I received the book I could not put the friggin thing down! I was hooked. I blasted through the novel like a Downtown Hustler looking for change on a Saturday Night! No Sleep was that fantastic of a read! It was a quick reread if you’re keeping score!

Brent wrote  No Sleep about himself but the book could have been about me growing up in Thunder Bay! It totally resonated with me on a personal level. Not just the great musical stories but just life stories along the way with various friends of Brent!

Having said that I did not have a friend who tried to outrun Fire! Haha! (The dude lost!)  The book was more than music it was a way of  80s life!

I was blown away! This was the book I’ve been waiting for! Sure Chuck Klosterman wrote Fargo Rock City which is a great read as well but Brent’s book spoke to me!

So I went on Brent’s website and dropped him an email and told him what a fantastic read and excellent job he did on the book.  Brent wrote back and said he appreciated the positive comments that I put forward. I was kinda relieved Brent returned correspondence as when he read my email for the first time  I probably babbled on like some kind of Fruit Loop!

From there I would occasionally ask Brent “when’s the next book coming?”  Yeah, Stalker comes to mind but I wanted another fix. I needed more books dude!

In early 2015 I secured a copy of Brent’s second book release that he titled Leftover People. Instead of me recapping the story you can read my blog about it from a little over a year ago. Click here….https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/rock-101-leftover-people-by-brent-jensen/

So there Ya be! I stayed in touch with Brent to keep me posted about when his third book was coming! Also in the meantime, I would pick his brain on life, music, concerts, albums etc!

April 1st, 2016 and Mr. Jensen has released All My Favourite People Are Broken. If you have noticed from my other book reviews I don’t like to give out too much info as I want you the reader to check this stuff out but I will go on record here and state “Brent! You have hit another one(this book) out of the park!”

All My Favourite  People Are Broken details Brent hooking up with his long time friend Garvey out in Western Canada with as they say tunes, beers, and various party treats and set their iPods on play and talk about whatever songs come up! No artist is left behind.  Nothing was preplanned!

Brent and Garvey dissect each song on what made it good/bad. Sure they talk about Hard Rock/Metal (Garvey’s description of Tawny Kitaen and her involvement in the Whitesnake video is a hoot! Well said, Sir!) Other genres of music are discussed as well. Pop,Rap, Country, Alt Rock! Alison Moyet anyone? Al Green? Go-Gos?  Guns N Roses are talked about and as crazy as it sounds and I’m not saying who said it in the book but on page 75 the comment of “I would like to hear Axl Rose sing some AC/DC before I die ” is stated!

Triple WHUT!!! Ha! Someone became a prophet at that Cabin Lodge that weekend especially since it’s being reported that Axl is going to be fronting AC/DC for 10 shows at some point this year.

Brent writes with a style and flair of his own and he knows how to keep the reader engaged with one eye on keeping the book moving forward in a quick fashion while adding some comedic like stories so as a reader you don’t get bored! Case in point Chapter 13 titled LA LA! Did someone say Party Treats?

There are a lot of Music Lovers out there and we all have talked music. Brent took it a step further documented it and wrote a Fantastic Book about it.

This is my third Jensen Book I have devoured and I will tell ya they are three books you should all take the time to seek out and purchase!

Rock 101/Zakk Wylde-Bringing Metal To The Childern

imagePicked up this book on my trip out to Vancouver at a real cool shop called The Book Warehouse. It’s a real homey chill store as they have hundred of recently new book titles discounted so if you want to pay full price for books  you can go a few more blocks up West Broadway to the Indigo Book Store!

I’ve been meaning to pick up this book for a few years now but never got around to it but when I seen it for $8.99 it was a no brainer!

Zakk Wlyde as we all know was Ozzy’s former guitarist/ sidekick for many a year and when Zakk left and formed his own band Black Label Society (which he continues to this day) I guess a book was in order as well since many musicians it seems nowadays write their own bio’s!

Except Zakk went a different route with his book as it’s not so much a biography but a book of touring and seriously this guy should have been a comedian! Frigg the dude is funny as hell and in this day and age of everything seriousness Zakk goes a different route and writes about his tales of touring and recording life and a ton of war stories about his days in Ozzy’s band and now  that Zakk is sober it’s still a hilarious read.

Basically Zakk is a Viking well those around him call that by his look and he just says it takes the piss out of everything so he just lets it roll to keep everyone amused. Berzerker’s is what Zakk calls himself and his fans.

The book is co written by Eric Hendrix who is basically Zakk’s point counterpoint kinda fella and they verbally spar each other chapter after chapter! ( don’t let the kids read this book ..just saying!)

The book is broken into 6 Chapters. Even the Chapter Titles are classic. Case in point Chapter 4 titled “No Shitting On The Bus” and Chapter 6 “Psssst Don’t Tell The Warden” hahaha….

Zakk spins a great life philosophy on all aspects of his career. From growing up in New Jersey, how he went about auditioning and getting the Ozzy Osbourne guitar gig. Going solo,family life and just general life stories all spun in a hilarious way on how it’s written.

One of the great stories is we all know he got the Ozzy gig so when Ozzy told him he got the job the first thing Ozzy told him was to make The Ozz a ham sandwich and to go light on the mustard!

Zakk,should do a speaking only tour! Man that would be something to see…

This book if you come across pick it up! It’s a great read!

Rock 101/Van Halen Rising By Greg Renoff

image1978. AC/DC puts out the classic Powerage. Judas Priest release Stained Class. Scorpions drop on the public Taken By Force. What do these three albums have in common?

They all stalled on the American Charts! None of them cracked the Billboard Top 100 unlike the four long hairs from Pasadena California calling themselves Van Halen.

David Lee Roth/Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with Michael Anthony did what AC/DC,Judas Priest and Scorpions couldn’t do in the United States and that’s sell records.

Van Halen’s debut titled simply enough Van Halen got as high as 19 on the Billboard Album Charts selling over 2 million copies. If your thinking overnight success not really and Greg does a very in-depth detailed look at the years leading up to 1978 and the release of the debut album. That’s as far as the book goes and it’s a awesome representation of the early years and struggles of Van Halen. Believe it or not they worked there asses off and it as we all know paid off in spades but getting there for these guys was tough.

Van Halen Uprising explains it all!

Greg did his homework here. Well over 200 interviews with people associated with the early years of Van Halen. Plus as an added bonus there are pictures  of  the earliest incarnations of Pre VH of photos who played with Ed and Alex  and also pics after Anthony joined.(pics I have never ever seen) Too be honest I’m not big on unauthorized books except for this one as Greg interviews key people to give this book a ton of legitimacy like Pete Angelus (who toured and worked for Halen and with Roth when he went solo) Neil Zlowzer(photographer) and the two biggies to gain street cred with me and that’s Ted Templemen(VH’s Producer) and Michael Anthony(VH’s  bass player)

One  of the many great things about this book are things that I didn’t even know about Van Halen is that Ed and Alex had auditioned David Lee Roth as far back as 1971 and he failed 4 auditions with the brothers. I’m not gonna give it away but the friction between Roth and  Van Halen was boiling long before 1978 rolled around. Some of the earliest band names of VH were Trojan Rubber Company,Genesis(until they heard about the British Genesis) and Mammoth(which I had read about).

The Brothers VH went through a few bass players before settling on Michael Anthony and the real deal of this book for myself is Greg goes at detail when VH opened for U.F.O and better still when the one and only Gene  Simmons shows up and begins working with VH! For every Kiss and Van Halen fan out their  was always talked that Gene had Ed play on some Kiss demos around the time of Love Gun. Greg goes into great detail on this time frame of the Simmons/VH alliance fallout and  disappointment that VH were dealt with. (Course we know the ending) this part is the Meat And Potatoes of the book!

We also get to read how Warner Brothers Records came to signing the band. It’s all here. No stone is left unturned!

What’s another real slick move on Greg’s part is his breakdown almost dairy like of the recording of the debut album. Greg places dates and this is not a bunch of B.S as its Ted Templemen (VH’s producer of the first 6 studio albums) giving the timeline of the debut albums recording.

Of course there’s also the tour details of Van Halen’s first Arena Tour opening for Black Sabbath and countless others. Also In true record company fashion you can read about the sordid details of how VH sells 2 million copies of their debut yet owe Warner Brothers 1 million dollars!

Welcome to the biz boys!

This is a totally awesome read! Hunt this book down its well worth it. Greg digs deep with interviewing a ton of people associated around VH(Templemen) and in VH (Anthony). I have even seen with my own eyes Billy Sheehan and Gregg Bisonette (Roths Bass Player and Drummer on the Eat EM And Smile Album and Skyscraper releases) even call Uprising a must read!

I could go on but Nope…buy this book and support a music fan (Renoff) who took the initiative to tell the story of Van Halens origins to a fan (myself) who has followed Van Halen for 36 years yet new little about their  pre 1978 history.

Bravo Mr Renoff!

ROCK 101…Carl Dixon/Strange Way To Live

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So of all the rock biography books that I have read lately for example Joe Perry/Paul Stanley/Stephen Pearcy/ Sammy Hagar the one that interested me the most was Carl Dixons Strange Way To Live(A Story Of Rock N Roll Resurrection) The reason is simple all those musicians I have mentioned above all ended up millionaires and more power to them but although Carl may have not tasted the Holy Grail of a Rock N Roll Payout. Dixon is a millionaire and has won the lottery in more ways than the Stephen Pearcys off the world have its just in a different kind of way!

Let me explain it to Ya……

Alright,so everyone knows my deal here at Arena Rock about how much the three  Coney Hatch albums(the self titled and Outta Hand) had on my sonic senses as a young lad back in 1982 thru to 1985s Friction(title makes total sense now after reading Carl’s assessment of the recording and interband working relationships).

I’m getting ahead here….

The first part of Carl’s journey ( after two  great forwards by Larry Gowan and Pat Stapleton) is about Carl growing up in Sault Ste Marie Ontario and he talks about the Dixon clan and his Grandma who Carl says is one of his heroes as in 2011 she celebrated her 100th Birthday. You know by reading in the early part of the book how much family has meant to  Carl.

Carls career as a professional musician starts at the age of 16 and he gives credit where credit is due to his music teacher in high school a lady by the name of Sharon Sibthorpe who also contributes a page in the book as well and commends Carl on his dedication to being a musician and taking his craft seriously. They have the upmost mutual respect for each other.

From there Carl writes in detail about his earlier bands that he was in like Boots and than onto Olias  back to Boots who borrowed a name of a band to become Hollinger(great story) back to Boots to which they finally called themselves Alvin Shoes who became a touring act like Carl says you drive all day Sunday to play your next bar in some forsaken Northern Ontario city to perform 4 shows a night 6 days a week and living in seedy conditions with cheap pay to do it all over again but the gratitude he says is when the crowd appreciates what your doing. Many are called….few are chosen! Eventually Alvin Shoes packed it in except Carl whose decides to keep going.

Firefly is the name of Carl’s next band which was based out of Montreal and he as he puts it had to fight to get his 2 songs into there set and like anything times were tough so Carl packed up and went back to Toronto and hooks up with Andy Curran,Steve Shelski and Dave Ketchum and they become Coney Hatch!

The Coney Hatch part of the book is a big reason I was looking forward to this read. Back when they were putting out records there was press but not too much. Carl here tells it how he remembers it as like he says he stayed pretty focused meaning he stayed straight so what he says is not just some juiced up rock n roll frat party!

Coney Hatch became a big deal in the Toronto area in the early 1980s being discovered by Kim Mitchell and this led to there deal with Anthem Records (home of Rush and Max Webster) Some cool facts from Carl in the early years of Coney are.

They signed for $10,000(1982) and there lawyer bill was $9,364 meaning Carl,Andy,Dave and Steve split $366 between them to get to there next gig! (Welcome to the Music Business).

Carl speaks highly of Kim Mitchell who produced the debut(1982) and guided them through the studio and showed them the ropes.

Coney started making the Rounds touring wise opening for Trooper/Saga/Peter Frampton but the one show that stands out in the book is when Coney returned home to open for Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent in Toronto. Cheap Trick were cool to hang with but Nugents road crew gave Coney shitty sound and basically sabotaged there homecoming but as Carl puts it you put your head down and get on with it even if people in  the crowd can’t hear you!

Judas Priest is a band they opened a ton of shows for as well and Carl has nothing but high praise for Priest especially singer Rob Halford who would hang out with Coney and even occasionally drive with them to gigs! No ego whatsover and Dixon says that both Priest band and Crew treated them very well!

When Coney went to do the second record (1983s Outta Hand)they were manipulated by management and there record company in dumping Mitchell producing there second record and hiring Max Norman(producer of the first two solo Ozzy Osbourne records) and it wasn’t a pleasant fit! Band had no say in the matter…

Opened for Iron Maiden on Maidens 1983 Piece Of Mind tour and like Priest Carl says Maiden were awesome to tour with and still remain pals to this day. Watch out for those flying M80s In Seattle Carl!

By the time the Hatch record  1985s Friction there third release it is a aptly named record to say the least. Problems with producers ( they had to reluctantly go back to Max Norman) management,changing drummers(Dave Ketchum gets the boot) not getting on a big tour,and inner band turmoils and Dixons marriage was crumbling as well so he bid adieu to Coney Hatch and moved on.

This part of the story is about survival,working odd jobs to support his young family becoming a staff song writer out of New York than losing that job joining the Guesss Who as the keyboard guy basically doing the Burton Cummings deal! Moving on and joining April Wine as the keyboard/guitar slinger and Also there are numerous rock stories to go along with him joining these bands! Carl pulls no punches in regards to other musicians behaviours etc. I wouldn’t even so much say dishing the dirt as opposed to just calling it like it is! I think Carl tends to take the high road on most of it but he gives you great examples on what it like to be on other bands payrolls! Hired Gun I guess they call it!

Of course the book also goes into great detail on Carl’s  car accident when visiting his daughter who was filming a TV show down in Australia and his long road back to recovery.( He has a pic of the car that he was in the accident,it’s amazing he survived. I’m sure that’s not the first time he has ever  heard that or read that comment) I think this is the part of the book where he finds Resurrection and happiness in both his personal and professional life after something so traumatic.

Of course it all comes full circle as he reconnects with the original Coney Hatch fella’s and they put out the very good cd titled ‘Four’ back in 2012.

This book was a great read and as a fanboy of Coney Hatch from 1982 it was great to read about Carl Dixons obstacles and how he always survived and his journeys to do what he loves to do without the real fame and fortunes of rock stars! Carl just found fame and fortune travelling down other roads !

 

 
 

 

Hair Metal by Martin Popoff

The cover of this classic Book! Bravo Mr Popoff!
The cover of this classic Book! Bravo Mr Popoff!
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Paul Stanley is pointing at you Sarca!

 

Good OL Skid Row for Aaron(haha) and a add for VH's F.U.C.K album for the Erickison bros!
Good OL Skid Row for Aaron(haha) and a add for VH’s F.U.C.K album for the Erickson bros!
A classic Y&T cover for Jon over in Sweden!
A classic Y&T cover for Jon over in Sweden!
The Coop for Mr Ladano!
The Coop for Mr Ladano!

Martin Popoff if you don’t know the story is a Canadian rock writer of various rock books and also is one of the top dog writers at brave words (music on line site).

Martin knows the deal with all genres of music and man does he  hit the nail on the head with Hair Metal!

All of you that have been reading my babbling on and on about things rock here know that I grew up in the 80s(I was born in 67) so hard rock was a very huge part in my life as I bought everything under the sun whether it was vinyl(cassettess sometimes) and a ton of printed media. (Creem,Circus,Hit Parader,Faces,Rip Magazine,Metallion,Rolling Stone,Kerrang) I loved to read and still do and wowzers when I seen that Martin was doing a book on Hair Metal….Ummmmmmm….SOLD!

So for Xmas on my wish list was “Hair Metal” and my super duper cool wife delivered the ultimate rock 80s rock book into my hands !

Martin starts the book from the 1950s with the first ever can of Aqua Net being produced(awesome) to Sept 24 1991 when Nirvana released Nevermind and sank many a 80s act in one fell swoooop!

Martin takes no shortcuts and lays out this beauty of a book decade by decade, year by year  like a scrap book with tons of pics/adds/ticket stubs you name it Martin has gone to great detail to satisfy all the sticklers (like ME!) that would find sumthin missing! I’m happy to report Nothing is missing at all!

The real cool thing is Martin jams the book with interview quotes  with everyone he has interviewed over the years! You want Dokken quotes? Check! You want Sammy Hagar quotes ? Double Check! You want more quotes from guys like Beau Hill( producer for Ratt/Warrant ) ? Triple Check! It’s all here ! In a one stop read!

Since I dumped all my magazines years ago into the landfill site here in Tbay  thanks to Martin for bringing back a ton of memories With this book!

Like I wrote in my review of Brent Jensens awesome Left Over People book review,do yourself a favour and support our homegrown guys like Brent,Martin and Sean Kelly who know how to put the rock into the book!

Tell EM Deke sent Ya!

ROCK 101….Leftover People By Brent Jensen

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Leftover 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 follow-up 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 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 crazy’s  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!

In 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 of Virgin Steele fame(New York band from the 80s) and the two get to talking and find out they have 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!

We’re 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!

 

 

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….