book Archive

Book Review: Shut Up You Animals!!! A Remembrance of Dirk Dirksen

Dirk Dirksen wasn’t known as musician, but his importance to the music history of San Francisco is substantial. Imagine a sort of Bill Graham writ small, with a perhaps unexpected interest in (and affinity for) the then-new punk rock and new wave, and you’ll have the beginnings of what he was all about. Dirksen –

Book Review: Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area

San Francisco has a rich and varied cultural history. The city by the Bay has been home to a long succession of cultural scenes, from the Beat poets to the psychedelic explosion to the punk and new wave phenomenon of the late ‘70s and early 1980s. Relevant to my own interests, I’m writing a book

Book Review: Paul Collins — I Don’t Fit In

One of the finest among the so-called new wave bands of the late-late-late ‘70s and very early 80s (the subgenre’s peak period) was The Beat. Renamed Paul Collins Beat to differentiate itself from the similarly-named UK ska-rock band (renamed to the English Beat, the group led by guitarist Paul Collins made some compelling music that

Pop music’s Terrestrial Paradise: Joel Selvin’s ‘Hollywood Eden’

Many authors have sought to chronicle the cultural ferment that gave rise to the Southern California pop music explosion of the 1960s. And while some efforts have yielded worthwhile books, Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise stands apart. The newest book from Joel Selvin – author of nearly

Progress Report: My Upcoming Book About 415 Records

Work continues at a just-this-side-of-feverish pace on my upcoming book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave. The San Francisco record label helmed by Howie Klein really only existed for a comparatively short time: 1978 to 1982 as an indie, and then up until ‘87 as a Columbia/CBS-affiliated label. During its

Things Get Better: Soul Man Eddie Floyd (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from Part Two … That success extended well beyond Eddie Floyd’s records. In fact – as he recounts in detail in his new memoir, Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul – Floyd got his start at Stax as a songwriter, not a performer. His first success as a Stax house writer

Things Get Better: Soul Man Eddie Floyd (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part One … During that “Knock on Wood” writing session, there was a torrential rainstorm going on outside. “In Alabama where I live,” explains Floyd, “the rainstorms can be fierce.” Even though “Knock on Wood” was shaping up to be a love song, he decided put that idea into it: “It’s like thunder,

Things Get Better: Soul Man Eddie Floyd (Part 1 of 3)

On the occasion of the publishing of his memoir, Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul, I spoke at length with soul legend Eddie Floyd. The feature based on that conversation – first appearing in Record Collector – follows. – bk Between 1966 and 1974, soul singer Eddie Floyd scored an impressive number

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,