book Archive

Book Review: Experiencing Jazz

As part of my expanding odyssey of discovering the art form called jazz, I bought a book in December 2012, a title called Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz, by John Szwed. It was good, but left me feeling that the task of guiding a novitiate (one such as myself) into

Book Review: Lunar Notes

Lunar Notes is not a Great Book, nor do the requisite few hours spent with it reveal anything that suggests the author’s intention that it be so. What it is is a look into one man’s experiences as a member of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band during their most musically fertile period. In this slim and

Book Review: Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Imagine that you’ve just sauntered into a dimly-lit if friendly- vibed barroom. You’ve positioned yourself at a barstool and settled in to enjoy a leisurely drink to cap off a long day. A guy next to you offers a cordial hello, and you respond in kind. You like your space, but you’re not averse to

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Bill Kopp: One area you didn’t spend a lot of time on was the studio sessions. You didn’t avoid them, for sure, but neither did you get into deep detail about the recording. Howard Kaylan: That’s the most boring shit in the world! I can tell you, but it doesn’t matter.

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: I’ve read a lot of Jeff Tamarkin‘s work, and I’ve had a long conversation with you. So one of the things that impressed me about Shell Shocked is how perfectly it reflects what I expect to be your “voice.” He’s essentially invisible, which I’m sure was the plan. Can

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part One)

Autobiography or no, Howard Kaylan is an engaging, colorful character. His life story is full of highs and lows, but his highs and lows were set against the backdrop of being on one of the 1960s more popular bands (The Turtles) and then as part of the mad ensemble known as Frank Zappa‘s Mothers. In

Book Review: Beatles With an A

‘Tis the season for two things, at least: the annual holidays, and new Beatles-related products of note. Just this week, for example, the long-awaited (and delayed) release of the 2CD set On Air, a collection of BBC radio broadcasts (music and banter) from the band’s early days. As for me, since I have the (cough)

Album Review: Woody Guthrie — American Radical Patriot

Most Americans know the name Woody Guthrie. What they know of him beyond that – and/or their opinion on what he means to popular culture and music – varies widely. He’s an often misunderstood character, and as so often happens, human tendency toward a sort of reductionist thought tends to try and simplify him, to

Book Review: Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker

If you’ve been living and paying any attention to the human condition, you understand that people are complicated. We’re inconsistent, unpredictable, messy creatures. And even if one focuses on the “special” ones – those who excel at one thing or another, who are led up as exemplars of some sort – what’s inevitably found are

Book Review: Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes

Sidestepping tired allusions to Boston‘s Tom Scholz, Guns’n’Roses and Chinese democracy, Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes was a long time coming. Author Mary Donnelly began work on the book several years ago. Lots and lots (and lots) of interviews would form the basis of this exhaustive and supremely well-researched tome, and then various