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Favorite rock n roll autobiography


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Regarding Snider --- he first record is still my favorite of his. Listened to a Chicago, Park West Hard Working American show, (off the archive https://archive.org/details/hwa2014-02-22.mtx.teamdrink.flac16) - it is a fun listen  --- it is nice to hear them sing a Bottle Rocket song and the way he sings Gillian Welch's Wrecking Ball is great.

 

Regarding his story telling - noticed that the below is up on Dime - it is a five disc set. (That Moondawg story is a good one)

Moondawg'S Tavern is a great compilation of his life stuff. Get it when you can. The HWA's album that came out this year is all cover tunes. They have a new one coming out (not sure if it's even done yet) next that is all original stuff. Caught them again last week (w/ that Isbell guy) and they toss in Todd tunes to their sets, too....

The Zevon book was great.  You wonder how anybody could still have the slightest ounce of friendship, respect or affection for him but they all still do.  The stories of him hoarding grey Calvin Klein T-shirts explains him pretty well.

 

 

This kinda bums me out....

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Got a Barnes and Noble gift certificate so I'm thinking of picking up the Neil Young Biography Shakey.  In perusing this thread it seems like that one holds up as maybe the best Book about Neil Young?  Or has something else come along that would be a better purchase?

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Nice thread, glad it got bumped.  Nothing to add on Neil (Waging Heavy Peace was OK, I agree it got very boring on Pono) but I do want to recommend Joe Jackson's A Cure For Gravity; while JJ may not be the biggest star (especially here in the US), his book is very well done and thoughtful.

 

Also recommended - Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz

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I need to read the Joe Strummer book.

 

This is a totally different thing (but then I am pretty different); I just finished "Bessie" by Chris Albertson, about Bessie Smith.  It is a relative short, although comprehensive, book on her life and work which is a great read and very illuminating.  Smith was a pioneer American musician and her life, sexuality, and behavior would put most rock stars to shame.  It also includes some illuminating information about the music industry of the time as well as conditions in the theaters for artists of color in the early 20th century.

 

LouieB

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How about a "biography" about a music label?  I just finished Our Noise which is the story of Merge Records, one of the greatest indie labels -- started and run by Laura and Mac from Superchunk.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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He looked up briefly and smiled when I had entered the room but went straight back to the book. I sat down and picked up a copy of the New Musical Express and started to flick through the pages. It was as if we were both waiting to be interviewed for a job. Moments passed, and the long, thin, skinny guy with the mod haircut and oversize ears hadn’t looked up again. I was now positive I knew him.

‘I don’t want to appear rude but haven’t we met?’ I asked, rather nervously for fear I may be intruding.

‘I thought that when you walked in but I can’t think where.’

‘Neither can I. I’m Sean Tyla, by the way, I’m with the Helps,’ I said getting up and offering my hand.

‘Oh, okay, I’m Nick Lowe,’ said the mystery man, offering a hand, ‘I’m a Brinsley.’

‘Nick Lowe?’ I said, the penny beginning to drop. The memory cells were now in overdrive. ‘Let me try one out of left field here.’

‘Okay,’ Nick replied, a curious smile breaking across his face.

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FInished this a couple of days ago. It's a quick read with super short chapters. I imagine a lot of folks will read it for the Thurston breakup stuff, but I found the chapters about her family growing up in California to be more interesting.

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I know this thread is about favorites but I just read Bob Mould's book and was somewhat disappointed.  I liked the early stuff, the formation and dissolution of Husker Du, the early solo stuff, etc.  But after that I sort of lost interest in the book, which I suppose parallels my interest in his work. 

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I know this thread is about favorites but I just read Bob Mould's book and was somewhat disappointed.  I liked the early stuff, the formation and dissolution of Husker Du, the early solo stuff, etc.  But after that I sort of lost interest in the book, which I suppose parallels my interest in his work. 

Likewise, I was disappointed with the Richard Hell book. I mean, some of it was interesting, but most of it came off as a lot of bitching, self-aggrandizing, and sour grapes.

I'll think of a favorite sometime soon, though.

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Let's be honest, what exactly do Bob Mould or Richard Hell have to say for themselves, or any number of middle level musicians?  (Or even Kim Gordon, but at least she was a female musician at a time when there weren't so many.) Just because they were in interesting and maybe even seminal bands does not mean they have much to tell us about their lives.  Someone has to have been a real ground breaker, or hobnobbed with some pretty interesting people to sustain any interest over the course of a book.  in some cases musicians flat out lie about shit just to make their lives more interesting (which is why bios are sometimes more important that autobios), because the subject themselves doesn't even know what might be interesting or they can't write worth a damn. 

 

There are plenty of musicians who's life stories are worthy of being read about, but others are not and just need attention (don't we all) or some money (don't we all.) Those musicians whose life stories have an interesting arc or are ground breakers (Charlie Parker, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Beatles) will always be interesting to read about.  Many our others are fairly dull or have not completed their careers and are therefore not so fascinating.

 

(The above mentioned Bessie Smith bio is worth everyone's time whether or not you know anything about her.)

(Patti Smith's "Just Kids" is also interesting, but not because she is a musician.) 

 

LouieB

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Well, this was the first one that came to mind when I saw the thread title, but I didn't post it because Miles isn't really "rock and roll" now, is he?

But I guess that, for this thread, he's close enough.

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Read it at the beach on my honeymoon and it was fantastic. Some great stories and insights about most of the biggest names in 20th century jazz. Entertaining, insightful, and a just plain great read.

Highly recommended.

How's that one, Louie? You read it?

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Let's be honest, what exactly do Bob Mould or Richard Hell have to say for themselves, or any number of middle level musicians?  (Or even Kim Gordon, but at least she was a female musician at a time when there weren't so many.) Just because they were in interesting and maybe even seminal bands does not mean they have much to tell us about their lives.  Someone has to have been a real ground breaker, or hobnobbed with some pretty interesting people to sustain any interest over the course of a book. 

 

so..... Bob Mould or Kim Gordon didn't hobnob w/ interesting folks? i'm waiting for the unofficial bio of Greg Ginn to be written.

 

a lot of it has to do w/ how good the writing is...  i would love to read the book that Albini has in him. once i get some free time, i'm gonna dive into Jon Fine's book w/ gusto.

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This is the next one I want to read.  Fagan recently did some writing for Rolling Stone on a festival Steely Dan played at and it was hilarious.  Has that cynical, grouchy old man persona.

 

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I didn't read the Mould or Hell books so I don't know what they said about their contemporaries.  I am sure they did hobnob with interesting people, but maybe they couldn't put that across.

 

Miles autobiography is a great read, if not entirely trustworthy, which doesn't mean the shit he has to say (mean or otherwise) isn't fun to read.

 

LouieB

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