Was 1965 the Most Revolutionary Year in Music?

Categories: Books
AP/Shroer photo, courtesy of St. Martin's Press
The Rolling Stones

Rather than being just another stuffy or vapid rehash of the culture behind '60s music, Andrew Grant Jackson's recently published book 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music features 25 delightfully bite-sized chapters that chronicle the 12 colorful months of 1965. Cleverly divided into four seasons, the chapters each encapsulate a series of verifiable vignettes that make the book come across more like an entertaining and thought-provoking almanac, rather than a dry, academic discourse. While Jackson wittily and eloquently presents his findings, he lets his readers decide for themselves whether 1965 was indeed the most revolutionary year in music. Either way, he makes a good case.

The book has an ambitious title, mostly because many rock historians would argue that 1967 was a bigger year. Not only was '67 the "Summer of Love" and the year of the Monterey Pop Festival, it was also when the Beatles released both Sgt. Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour. That year, the first two Doors albums and the first two Hendrix albums were released, as well. So how is it that the real revolution occurred two years earlier? We went straight to the source and asked the author with the very presidential-sounding name to give us his thoughts.

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This New EDM Book Looks Awesome, But Will Anyone Actually Read It?

Categories: Books
Today, HarperCollins Publishers and their Dey Street Books imprint announced the impending arrival of a new book on American EDM culture. Written by highly regarded journalist Michaelangelo Matos, it's called The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America and is due out in March of next year.

We're excited about this book. Matos, a long-time local contributor, former music editor at City Pages' sister publication Seattle Weekly and frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, NPR, and another of our sister pubs, the Village Voice, has long been one of the few U.S. music journalists who consistently writes about electronic dance music with intelligence and insight.

Still, we can't help but wonder how many EDM fans, at least here in the U.S., will actually read Matos's book. More »

Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking: "Things Boil Down to Fear and What It Makes Us Do"

Categories: Books, Interview
The cover of Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking.

Amanda Palmer | Cedar Cultural Center | Sunday, November 16
Ask and you shall receive. Getting the answer you want is another story, but what Amanda Palmer implores us to do is just ask.

Whether it's requesting a tissue or a tampon (this is literally how the first line of the book plays out), a place to stay or a loan, a minute of a stranger's time or a lifetime with the one you love -- there is always vulnerability in the art of asking for something. There is a selfishness in asking -- even if it's something you don't directly benefit from -- whatever it is means something to you. Herein, Palmer asks everyone to jump headlong into the great unknown no matter what.

"So many things boil down to fear and what it makes us do," Palmer told us in a candid phone conversation about her new book, The Art of Asking. "So I wasn't surprised to follow the breadcrumbs all the way back to the house of fear, where it often leads."

See also:
Amanda Palmer on Neil Gaiman: He desperately loves to be surprised

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Aerosmith's Joe Perry Walks His Way in New Memoir

Categories: Books
Copyright Ross Haflin/Simon & Schuster
Joe Perry tells his life story -- before and after the gray streak -- in ROCKS.

While they may not be blood brothers, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, singer and guitarist for Aerosmith, respectively, might as well be, given the relationship they've had for more than 45 years.

It's a love/hate story that Perry details extensively in his new autobiography, written with David Ritz, ROCKS: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith (432 pp., $27.99, Simon & Schuster). And, if you've been following the saga of the "Toxic Twins" today, the future of one of America's greatest hard-rock bands is still in flux. At the time we spoke with Perry, just days before publication, neither Tyler nor any other band member had seen a copy of the book.

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James Brown Was a Complicated Dad, Says New Book

Categories: Books

Chicago Review Press
Dr. Yamma Brown, whose father was the Godfather. Got that?

James Brown was, of course, the Godfather of Soul and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. But all the work he did to grab those titles over decades seemed to come crashing down through much of the '80s and '90s.

That's when he derailed into years of drug and domestic abuse, erratic behavior, weapons charges, a carousel of women, and questionable business deals. His name became more a punch line for comedians than a pillar for music writers, the low point being a crazy-looking mug shot and an actual stint in a South Carolina prison (remember the "Free James Brown" T-shirts?).

But his crash and burn was no laughing matter to some members of his family, especially daughter Yamma.

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Excerpts from new rock memoir I Killed Pink Floyd's Pig

Categories: Books
Beau Phillips
Beau Phillips (left) with Robert Plant
Beau Phillips was a radio programmer at Seattle radio station KISW from 1978 to 1996, and was head of marketing at MTV for a few years. During this time, he was around some of the biggest names in music, at a time when the biz was at its financial apex.

Phillips just self-published a memoir called I Killed Pink Floyd's Pig, which looks back on his career and "all the wildness that went on backstage," as Sammy Hagar says in the book's forward.

That includes Joe Walsh trashing a hotel room and Led Zeppelin throwing TVs. Then there's the time Phillips nearly lost Pink Floyd's iconic, promotional, inflatable pig, when it was tied to the KISW building. 

Read about this near-disaster and other highlights from the book below:

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Richard Hell: I'm more at ease now in my own skin

Categories: Books, Interview
richard hell.jpg
Of all the legendary figures and over-the-top characters to come out of New York's '70s punk scene, there were few who were more influential than Richard Hell -- and probably none who were as mercurial. He was a founding member of three groundbreaking bands -- Television, the Heartbreakers, and his own group, the Voidoids -- and played a vital role in transforming CBGB's into one of the world's most famous rock clubs.

In fact, Hell was the definition of punk: dressed in ripped clothes that were held together by clothespins, his shirts scrawled with provocative slogans -- one of them, "Please Kill Me," later immortalized in book form -- and hair done up in a mess of spikes. His style was even the inspiration for the Sex Pistols, and in turn, to most punks that have come since. And the music matched: a bundle of nervy, raw energy that threatened constant self-destruction, summed up by anthems like "Love Comes in Spurts" and "Blank Generation."

Now, almost 30 years since Hell retired from playing music, his career run off the rails by addiction, he's written a memoir, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, out now through Ecco press. Ahead of his reading this Saturday at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Gimme Noise chatted with Hell over the phone from his hotel room in San Francisco.

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L.A. Nik turns self-help author with Life is Short, Then You're Dead Forever

screenshot from "Friends in Minneapolis" video
Since L.A. Nik doesn't have a full-time job, he has to dabble in everything. Now the "Mayor of Minneapolis After Dark" has a book with his name on the front to add to the list of sort-of professions.

See Also:
- L.A. Nik releases "video" for his "Friends in Minneapolis" single
- L.A. Nik explains Letterman connection, drops "Friends in Minneapolis" single
- Mayor Rybak offers perfect rejoinder to L.A. Nik on Facebook

The title, Life is Short, Then You're Dead Forever: A Realistic Self-Help Book, wastes no time telling Nik's prospective readers what they're in for: a healthy dose of how Nik's experiences can help his audience "live life to the fullest," as the author says in a press release. "Realistic, straightforward advice on how to live your life without regret -- like me."

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Five Minnesota albums deserving of a 33 1/3 book

Categories: Books
God Loves Slug, and perhaps so would 33 1/3 readers.
The 33 1/3 pitches are open again! For music obsessives, this long-running series of short books devoted to iconic albums has been a great resource for amusement and exhaustive reporting.

Two personal favorites from the series are Carl Wilson's tome about Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love and Christopher Weingarten's take on Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. But there are titles concerning the Beastie Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, and a few with local ties. Prince's Sign "O" the Times  is explored by Michaelangelo Matos and the Replacements' Let it Be is explored by Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. (And, Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited by Mark Polizzotti, we suppose.)

Now, they're taking some more proposals until April 30, and here are five Minnesota albums that would be a fascinating read.

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Will Hermes in Minneapolis to read from 'Love Goes To Buildings On Fire'

Categories: Books, Interview
Hermes, Will.jpg
Photo By Adam Weiss
Will Hermes is currently a senior critic for Rolling Stone, as well as being a regular contributor to NPR's "All Things Considered," but he has a distinguished history with the Twin Cities music scene as well. Mr. Hermes began writing for the City Pages in the early '90s, and became the Arts & Music editor in '93, a position he still looks back on with deep affection. He is in town tonight to read from his illuminating new book, Love Goes To Buildings On Fire, which is a comprehensive and fascinating study of the New York music scene between the years 1973-77. We were able to ask Mr. Hermes a few questions about both his book and his long love affair with music in advance of his reading tonight at 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Central Library.

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