book Archive

The 411 on 415

Last November I wrote a cover story for SF Weekly; it focused on a series of reissue/compilation CDs on the Liberation Hall label. Those releases contained music originally released on 415 Records, an influential and trend-setting indie label based in San Francisco in the late ‘70s and early-to-mid 1980s. Founded by Howie Klein and Chris

Book Review: David Menconi — Step it Up and Go

Attempting to weave together the many and varied stories that collectively tell the story of popular music in North Carolina is a task of herculean proportions. It’s a task best not taken on lightly. Luckily for those interested in the subject, David Menconi seems born to meet just such a challenge. The connections between, say,

Book Review: Barrett: The Definitive Visual Companion

There have been quite a few books written about Syd Barrett. Some have emphasized the more lurid and sensational aspects of his story, including his drug use, mental illness, dismissal from the band he founded, and somewhat hermit-like post-Pink Floyd existence. Others have shone a light on his music. But few have delved with insight

Book Review: Ready Steady Go!: The Weekend Starts Here

Launched a few years ago, BMG Books broke into the market with the excellent Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout, Billy Edd Wheeler’s lively memoir. Soon thereafter, the publisher began its RPM series in earnest; that series shines a light on the histories of important record label. Titles have included Gillian Gaar’s book on Sub Pop

Book Review: Chris Hillman — Time Between

Musician memoirs/autobiographies are a decidedly mixed bag. Even when an artist is known for his or her songwriting wordsmith skills, that’s not a truly reliable indicator that said artist can write a compelling, worthwhile long-form narrative. Many enlist co- or ghost-writers, and – when they’re chosen carefully – that approach can compensate for any shortcomings.

Book Review: That Thin Wild Mercury Sound: Dylan, Nashville, and the Making of Blonde on Blonde

One of the most confounding and inscrutable of all artists, Bob Dylan and his body of work defy simple descriptions. Of course that hasn’t stopped journalists, academics and critics from trying. There’s no telling how many books and articles have been written about Bob Dylan and his music. But if a dedicated and thoughtful writer-researcher

Book Review: Steve Hackett — A Genesis in My Bed

As a longtime fan of early Genesis and the solo work of Steve Hackett – as well as having interviewed Hackett on no less than three occasions and seen him live onstage as well – I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read his autobiography/memoir, A Genesis in My Bed. It would be a

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen: A Conversation with Derrick Bang (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … Bill Kopp: I think it’s interesting the number of times in the books when you end discussion of a given film and its music from, say, the ‘70s by saying, “A soundtrack finally appeared in 2006,” or something. It only came out many many years after you’d think that even

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen: A Conversation with Derrick Bang (Part 1)

One of the many benefits of being a music journalist is that I come into contact with all manner of creative types. So it was that my friend Cheryl Pawelski of Omnivore Recordings introduced me to Derrick Bang. A film critic and author, Bang has written a two-volume work that digs deep into a subject

Book Review: Eddie Floyd with Tony Fletcher — Knock! Knock! Knock! on Wood

Eddie Floyd is best known for his 1966 hit single, “Knock on Wood.” Backed by the Stax band Booker T & the MGs, Floyd delivered a powerful, soulful and highly memorable performance, one that earned him a place in soul music history. He did a lot more of note before and after, though: he was