Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music By Michael Azerrad

This is when best of music book lists appear to help readers with holiday gift suggestions.

I read these best music book lists to see if my purchases appear on critics radar screens. These lists point out valuable music books I have missed and wish to add to my music library.

I have read several best of 2018 music book lists in the past two weeks. I keep returning to  The 2018 Music Book Gift Guide from Paste Magazine Top 10 list.

The first music book on Paste’s list is, “Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music” written by rock journalist, Michael Azerrad

Michael Azerrad uses Twitter to cultivate his readership, https://twitter.com/RockCriticLaw I follow him primarily to improve my music writing skills.  His book helps recognize and avoid music writer tropes which impact effective communication.

If you are a music journalist you will appreciate this book’s tongue in cheek approach. (I’m sorry was that a cliche’?)  The use of illustration and narration create a novel method of writer reinforcement.

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Jimi Hendrix – The Day I Was There

As a veteran of over 415 concerts in 49 years, one of my regrets is that I never saw Jimi Hendrix live in concert. Alas, that was not meant to happen.

I will soon have an opportunity to read about the personal memories of 400 eyewitness accounts of seeing Jimi live. Richard M. Houghton has a new book coming out on the 48th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death, September 18, 2018, Jimi Hendrix, The Day I Was There.

I love the use of color that illustrates the book cover.

Richard M. Houghton is a music journalist/archivist. He has forged an interesting niche by writing a series of books from a rock music fan’s point of view. His, I Was There theme is a smart and welcome idea. The Jimi Hendrix book is the fifth I Was There title in the series.

He has written I Was There books about The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd.

He is working on several more I  Was There books for 2019 and beyond. Upcoming projects are fan memories of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath (2019), the Faces, Cream and Neil Young.  I have some memories to share with Richard for those titles.

If there’s anyone else you’re passionate reading about, he’ d love to hear from you. Drop him a line at iwasatthatgig@gmail.com

I will be corresponding with Richard very soon 🙂

1968 * 50 Years On – Shindig! No. 75

Moving into 2018, I reflect upon the music released 50 years ago in 1968. This was the year I started collecting records and reading Rolling Stone in earnest. The cover story of Shindig! Magazine, Issue 75, January 2018 features a smartly designed psychedelic cover to commiserate the era.

Some of the more interesting albums released in January 1968 according to Wikipedia were, Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer which gave us heavy metal.

Spirit’s début album.

The first album from Canadian rock group, Steppenwolf.

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Ticket To Write – The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism

I recall the time when I was first seduced by rock music journalism. I soon became a voracious reader of publications like Rolling Stone, Creem and the East Village Other. Rock music writing influenced my record buying habits, concert attendance and what I listened to on the progressive FM radio dial.

Rock journalists such as Lester Bangs, Ed Ward, Cameron Crowe, and Greil Marcus expanded my consciousness. They added to the depth of my cultural understanding of rock and roll.

The documentary, Ticket To Write covers the fifteen year period from 1966 starting with Crawdaddy up until the MTV video age in 1981. Many of my favorite music journalists are interviewed, discussed and portrayed in this film.

I have been writing about music since 1973 and these authors are my true heroes. Rolling Stone Magazine is still with us, many of the 60-70’s music magazines are not. Today we live in an age where digital music companies like TIDAL HiFi and Apple Music curate music with notable authors. Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau continue to extend music journalism in electronic and book published form.

I’m thankful that Edward Turner (Producer) and Raul Sandelin (Director) followed their passion to create such a necessary documentary. Plan to read more about the film and the people bringing it to the screen, Road Ahead Productions in future blog posts.

Anil Prasad – Innerviews

Last year I wrote an A-Z Music Journalist series of posts. I kept wondering if there was a music journalist I was overlooking.

I finally discovered who that music journalist was so I am pleased to share his interview writings with you.

His name is Anil Prasad and he was the first music journalist to have an online music magazine, Innerviews in 1994.

Anil is profound in the scope and depth of music analysis. The musicians he interviews appreciate the research he conducts and the insightfulness of his questions

His interview writings are captured in an eBook, Innerviews: Music Without BordersThe eBook is available as a free download and may be shared and retransmitted under a Creative Commons Attribution, No Derivatives license.

A Subject Matter Authority In Music Cognition – Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Ph.D.

While conducting research for a book I am writing I discovered a subject matter authority in music cognition to share with my readers.  The book, On Repeat, How Music Plays the Mind by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis from Oxford University Press is a principle work that defines the psychology of repetition in music. (a.k.a. earworm)

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Ph.D. is conducting definitive research in the cognitive science of music. She is Professor and Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas.

 

 

In addition, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis is a contributor to Psychology Today where she authors the blog, Looking At Listening, Music and the Mind.

Her insights into the ways our senses formulate music interpretation provides greater substantiation of our “sonic” psyche. I look forward to the next level of scientific and psychological revelations from Doctor Margulis’s research studies.

Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation By Questlove

Questlove has another book coming out, hot on the heels of  Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (June 18, 2013). His new book is titled, Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation and it’s due to be released on October 22, 2013.

Questlove reveals the remarkable story of the captivating program, and his text is paired with more than 350 photographs of the show’s most memorable episodes and the larger-than-life characters who defined it: the great host Don Cornelius, the extraordinary musicians, and the people who lived the phenomenon from dance floor. Gladys Knight contributed a foreword to this incredible volume. Nick Cannon contributed the preface.

Questlove scored the 40th anniversary documentary of “Soul Train” and has been known to carry a personal collection of VHS tapes of the series with him on tour.

Questlove says, “start xmas shopping early! cop my SECOND book Soul Train http://amzn.to/1bEHHci a GREAT coffee table book gift item!”

Soul Train was the longest-running syndicated program in television history.

Soul Train
Soul Train (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Furthering the Legacy of Gil Scott-Heron

“Our greatest enemy is our own political ignorance” – M1

Gil Scott-Heron was an effective communicator who spoke to the restless soul in the music of our hearts. I love that visionary producer Kentyah Fraser has collaborated with original Midnight Band keyboardist, composer Brian Jackson (plus others) to build on that foundation and further the legacy of Gil Scott-Heron, forefather of socially-conscious rap.

A vital recording that captures our American struggle succinctly is  Evolutionary Minded (Furthering the Legacy of Gil Scott-Heron) Kentyah, M1 & Brian Jackson & The New Midnight Band. These core musicians joined on various tracks by Dead Prez, Chuck D, Gregory Porter, Martin Luther, Killah Priest, plus poets Abiodun Oyewole (The Last Poets) and Bobby Seale (The Black Panthers and Chicago 8).

The more I listen to the tracks on this recording, the better reacquainted I become with the cause of objection and protest. My favorite track thus far is “Occupy Planet Earth” which features that raw, commanding energy of Chuck D with M1.

This video explains the structure, method and purpose of why Evolutionary Minded (Furthering the Legacy of Gil Scott-Heron)  was released. It commands my total respect as a person of conscience as it should yours and those you love.

The élite GOP party that has shut down our government should heed this message well. For we are no longer complacent about such hostage taking measures. Fight back we will and must.

The Rewarding Influence of Richard Hell

Last month I wrote an extensive A-Z music journalist series. The tree of music journalism I planted continues to harvest fruit.

I commenced InterWeb reading this morning with Robert Christgau’s Barnes and Noble Review column Rock & Roll &. I was rewarded with a thought-provoking essay about Richard Hell’s new book, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp.

The more I dug into Richard Hell, Television, his (s)exploits and writing prowess the more intrigued I became.

I have tried to find  copy of the book at my local Barnes & Noble Stores so I can give you a closer perspective but no luck thus far.

I add this book to my ever-increasing music book reading list.

There is a tie-in event with Richard Hell, Fashion and Punk that I also want to share with you. The exhibit takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art May 9-August 14, 2013.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today. Featuring approximately one hundred designs for men and women, the exhibition will include original punk garments and recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” the seven galleries will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Themes will include New York and London, which will tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by Clothes for Heroes and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic—HardwareBricolageGraffiti and Agitprop, and Destroy.

Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques. – Description Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art 2013

A book, Punk: Chaos to Couture, by Andrew Bolton, with an introduction by Jon Savage, and prefaces by Richard Hell and John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), will accompany the exhibition. This publication will be illustrated with photographs of vintage punks and high fashion. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the $45 catalogue (hard cover only) will be distributed worldwide by Yale University Press.

John Densmore, The Doors: Unhinged and Record Store Day 2013

I was looking on The Record Store Day Website for The List 2013 when I found something much more valuable.  John Densmore, drummer for The Doors has written and self-published a new book, The Doors: Unhinged, available on April 17, 2013 (CreateSpace and Kindle Direct). There will be a special hardcover edition available  exclusively for sale at independent Record Store Day retailers, April 20, 2013.  John Densmore is conducting a book tour to be held at various record stores across the United States.

The book was self-published with Amazon’s CreateSpace an on-demand publishing platform. I am vehement about this distribution method of distribution. My plan is to self-publish a book this way in the future.

The premise of John Densmore’s book is the “greed gene”, and how that part of the human psyche propels us toward the accumulation of more and more wealth, even at the expense of our principles and friendships and the well-being of society. In effect no amount of money seems to be enough for even the wealthiest people.

This is an important societal characteristic to check. It’s at the heart of the Occupy movement which denotes the classic struggle between the haves and have-nots.

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I recall when John Densmore sued The Doors of the 21st Century. I was upset for the rift amongst The Doors. I had seen Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger twice live as that namesake band. I liked the moniker and how it felt to see them perform with Ian Astbury on vocals and Ty Dennis on drums. I originally sided with Ray and Robbie in the matter. But after closer examination of the issue and the understanding of honoring Jim Morrison’s wishes, I realized friendship and integrity trump greed.

I’ll am eager to read John Densmore’s interpretation of the lawsuit to get a better understanding about his sentiments and belief. The music press served as a “filter” for what transpired and I feel its best to read this from John’s point of view. I am hoping I can meet John Densmore at one of the record store tour events and get a signed copy of the hardcover edition.

The Record Store Day Official List was published on Wednesday March 20. You can find it here.

The Doors will once again have a Record Store Day Release Exclusive. A special 7″ release in the Warner “Side By Side” series. Side A is The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” and Side B includes X’s cover of the song, produced by Ray Manzarek. This one is on milky clear colored vinyl and limited to 3000 copies,