Music Books: Any recommended reading?

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The Obliging Fairy
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Postby The Obliging Fairy » 15 May 2004, 23:24

Not a biography per se, but a fantastic read nonetheless.

Image

The writer beats himself up over having to put together a quickie cash-in Liz Phair biography, knowing nothing about her at all, at the same ruminating at long and hilarious length on his depressing love life.

The closest thing I've ever found to an American High Fidelity, if that be your bag.
they are both nice albums, hurt by the weight of becoming crate digger bait (zphage)

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Postby meetthesonics » 15 May 2004, 23:31

The recent (kinda) Neil Young bio Shakey is a great read. Don't recall the author as I've lent it out at the moment.

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Postby Guest » 15 May 2004, 23:42

Can't imagine anything more boring than reading about fucking musicians.

They're all cunts, you know, professional cunts.

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Postby Magilla » 16 May 2004, 00:38

shame agency wrote:I hear This Band Could Be Your Life is a good one. I have it, but haven't read it.


Our Band Could Be Your Life is outstanding, Michael Azerrad really captures the US '80s indie scene well.
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Postby Owen » 16 May 2004, 00:44

Magilla wrote:
shame agency wrote:I hear This Band Could Be Your Life is a good one. I have it, but haven't read it.


Our Band Could Be Your Life is outstanding, Michael Azerrad really captures the US '80s indie scene well.


If you aren't really into the bands it kind of suffers from being the same story over and over though. Very good and I got a lot out of the first few bands I read about but then less and less.

I liked the stuff I picked up because of it though and he is a very good writer

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Postby John aka Josh » 16 May 2004, 00:55

More on the Beatles tack - Richard DiLello's The Longest Cocktail Party is a good read about what it was like in Apple HQ, Mark Shipper's Paperback Writer predates the Rutles & spoofs the Fabs story in an amusing manner. Highly recommended.

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Postby Butch Manly » 16 May 2004, 09:27

"shout!" by philip norman and "the love you make" by derek taylor are both very entertaining reads about the fabs, of course.

i'm a big fan of "england's dreaming" too, nikki's reservations notwithstanding.

"last night a DJ saved my life" is a fascinating read even if you're not particularly into the dance/clubbing scene.




incidentally, this is the sort of thread that should end up in the classic threads section so we can dip into it for inspiration every now and then.
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Postby The Modernist » 16 May 2004, 09:46

Other good ones not mentioned:
Strange Fascination - David Buckley
The only Bowie biog you'll need. Brilliantly written, it's very good on examining why Bowie's music made the impact it did. He talks to most of the main players -Visconti, Alomar etc. (much to Bowie's chagrin).
Manchester, England -Dave Haslem
Excellent book which is a history of the Manchester music scene. Haslem was the dj at the Hacienda so can draw upon first hand experiences, but he is equally adept at researching the history of the city so that the social context of the music is always clear.

On DeLilo's The Longest Cocktail Party I'd advise caution. Much of it has reproduced dialogue that gives no indication of the who,what or where. This quickly becomes repetitive. Infact I found DeLilo's prose style so tortuous as to make the book unreadable (still it only cost me a few quid in a sale..). No real interesting anecdotes involving The Beatles that I could find.

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Postby Megh » 16 May 2004, 15:57

the obliging fairy wrote:Not a biography per se, but a fantastic read nonetheless.

Image

The writer beats himself up over having to put together a quickie cash-in Liz Phair biography, knowing nothing about her at all, at the same ruminating at long and hilarious length on his depressing love life.

The closest thing I've ever found to an American High Fidelity, if that be your bag.


this sounds great. thanks.

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Postby Diamond Dog » 16 May 2004, 16:21

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Victor Bokris' biography on Keef.

Fabulous read.
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Postby Ranking Ted » 16 May 2004, 21:01

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Wonderful.

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Postby NancyL21st » 16 May 2004, 22:04

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THE DARK REIGN OF GOTHIC ROCK-IN THE REPTILE HOUSE WITH THE SISTERS OF MERCY,BAUHAUS AND THE CURE - DAVE THOMPSON(2003)



Book description
Starkly lit and draped in fog, blatantly minimalist in an age when ‘bigger’ was generally regarded as ‘better,’ there was little to actually look at, but a great deal to watch, three figures choked in cloaking smoke, the now omnipresent hats and ponchos conjuring images that would not be out of place in a Peckinpah movie. And that was before the band kicked into either ‘Phantom,’ with the ghosts of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly floating around its skeletal melody, or Dylan’s ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door,’ lifted straight from Peckinpah’s own Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. Other bands have toyed with the taut, tense expectation that was lay at the soul of the Sisters experience. But none before had ever captured it with such chilling calculation.
From Joy Division to Nine Inch Nails and from Siouxsie to Marilyn Manson, gothic rock has endured as the cult of choice for alienated youth. But, during its heyday in the mid-eighties, when The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and The Cure dominated the independent scene, it was the underground alternative to the glossy throwaway pop of the day.
Dave Thompson traces the roots of this golden era back to Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Taking in Hammer House of Horror, Dennis Wheatley, and a myriad of other influences, Thompson charts the evolution of a sound through the Doctors of Madness, the despair of Joy Division and the pantomime horror of The Damned and beyond.

From the brooding bass line of Bauhaus’s "Bela Lugosi’s Dead" to the Wagnerian majesty of The Sisters’ "This Corrosion", from the haunting nihilism of The Cure’s Faith to the full on sonic assault of The Cult’s "She Sells Sanctuary", this much maligned musical genre produced some of the most energising and enduring music of the era.




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MANCHESTER,ENGLAND-THE STORY OF THE POP CULT CITY - DAVE HASLAM(1999)


Book description
For nearly two hundred years the city of Manchester has remade and remodelled itself. In the process, it has brought fame and international credibility upon itself and upon the country at large. Dave Haslam places music at the heart of this story - from the Victorian music hall and the Jazz Age, to rock & roll, Northern Soul, Madchester and Oasis, and the definitive account of Manchester's crucial role in the dance revolution - a story which the author is uniquely placed to tell. But Manchester, England is also about artists, writers and thinkers, about cinemas, theatres and clubs, about Ancoats, Moss Side and Castlefield. It's a home for musicians, gangsters, factory workers and DJs - the people of Manchester and their story. Dave Haslam's erudite, witty and passionate book shows how Manchester and its culture has given a voice to these people, a voice heard around the world.
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marios

Postby marios » 17 May 2004, 04:01

Reading about musicians' lives kinda demystifies them for me and the appeal is more easily lost. So, i generally avoid music biogs.

I've read Dream Brother and found it quite good but after that i sort of lost interest in both of them for some reason.

I've started these books but haven't got past the first 10-15 pages:

ImageImageImage

The Cobain book isn't HTH but i couldn't find a pic of mine...

Oh, i've also read about half of Invisible Republic but i abandoned it for some reason. Perhaps i'll try to pick up where i left it someday...


I think i'd like to read some of Guralnik's work though. I will definitely pick up a copy of Sweet Soul Music and that Elvis book when possible.

Matt Wilson

Postby Matt Wilson » 17 May 2004, 14:19

Kenneth Pitt's David Bowie: The Pitt Report, and Ian McLagan's All The Rage. Another vote for Jon Savage's England's Dreaming too.

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Postby Kinkhurt » 17 May 2004, 14:25

I'm 'endevouring' to read, I'm upto page 42 at the minute and its proving to be ever so slightly bollox. He's trying to prove that Iggy is the godfather of goth ..... for pages and pages. Nice picture on the front though.

£4 in Selecta Disc btw - seen it in both London and Notts.

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NancyL21st
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Postby NancyL21st » 17 May 2004, 14:42

Kinkhurt wrote:I'm 'endevouring' to read, I'm upto page 42 at the minute and its proving to be ever so slightly bollox. He's trying to prove that Iggy is the godfather of goth ..... for pages and pages. Nice picture on the front though.

£4 in Selecta Disc btw - seen it in both London and Notts.


Yes,I've noticed that several things aren't (quite) correct while reading it too which is why I hugely ignored his(writer's) personal opinions and comments. I find it as a good historical/chronological book first.And one of the objections about it I have is that he passed over the second half of the 90s/early 00s too quickly. Admittedly the picture on the front is nice indeed.It is that UK one which is very much different from the US one that looks like this:

Image


The UK one looks so much better.
...Pick me up
Pin me down
Beg enough
Shoot me down...

- - - - -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBZDzjCwf2w
Cabaret Voltaire in Zagreb, Croatia (Sep 28th 1990)

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Postby Deebank » 17 May 2004, 15:09

Some essential reading:

'My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For the Prize - The Creation Story' by David Cavanagh is a weighty and excellent look at two decades of indie music from C86 to Madchester, Oasis and beyond. Maybe it's just me, but the bits before Oasis are the best. Hilarious descriptions of Guy Chadwick on extasy getting naked and looking like a loved up ET.

'The Last Party - Blair, Britpop and the death of British rock Music' by John Robinson is also very good - lots of Britpop gossip (did you know for instance that Pulp's bassist (Steve Mackey?) was enjoying carnal knowledge of both Alex James' long time girlfriend and school sweatheart and Justine Frischman at the very height of Britpop - it's always the quiet ones!) plus a social contect - Damon and Noel go to Downing Street.

Also honourable mentions:

'Give The Anarchist A Cigarette' by Mick Farren, an oddessey through the counterculture, Lemmy nicked his bird. He was according to the book jacket blurb "A student of the Camberwell Carrot". So there.

'Turn Off Your Mind' by Gary Valentine Lachman, one time Blondie musician gets seduced by the dark side "The mystic 60s and the dark side of the age of aquarius." Well freaky.... man.
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Re: Music Books: Any recommended reading?

Postby Kenji » 17 May 2004, 15:33

TheModernist wrote:
The Fish wrote:
Nikki Gradual wrote:Miles by Miles and Quincy Troupe


I love in that book the way Miles refers to everything under the sun as "motherfucker".

There's one great bit where he describes an oversized musician (may have been Fats Navarro ?) with a fairly petite wife by saying...

He was fat as a motherfucker and she was small as a motherfucker

Which has left me wondering to this day, just what is the standard size for a motherfucker.

I think everyone should read the book, who has Miles pegged as some kind of arrogant racist (paging Slider). It's very telling when other musicians were giving him grief for putting Holland and McLaughlin in his band. His response was, find me a black guy who can play as well as McLaughlin and I'll put him in my band and McLaughlin.


The craziest story in there is when he's describing driving through New York in an open top. It starts snowing and he's so wired he imagines the snow in the car is coke, so worried he's going to get nicked he stops the car in the middle of 5th Avenue and runs into an appartment. He jumps into an elevator, but when a woman gets into the elevator at the next floor he actually forgets he is in an elevator and pulls a switchblade on her saying "get out of my car bitch". Scarey stuff.
It's one of the most honest autobiographies I've read. His attitudes aren't for the faint-hearted, but the numerous accounts of the appalling racism faced by black musicians in the forties,fifties and sixties does give you some insight into why Davis held such strident views.


I agree it's very entertaining and there are lots of crazy stories...

But Troupe based this on "Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis" by Jack Chambers. Some sentences in "Miles" are exactly the same as Chambers book! Chambers book has a lot of details and is very long, so maybe isn't so interesting for some people like "Miles"...

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Postby king feeb » 17 May 2004, 16:14

The Abominable Dr Smalls wrote:Image

Wonderful.


This one is amazing, especially since Martin was one of those guys who was a mystery even to his friends. Tosches does a great job profiling the "hollow shell" that was Dino.

I'd also recommend

Image
and
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Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers and Unknown Legends of Rock N Roll by Richie Unterberger profile many obscure musicians and cult figures. It's really enlightening (not to mention dangerous to your bank balance; you'll want to run out and buy a bunch of discs by these folks after reading these). Great chapters on Bonzo Dog Band, The Monks, The Creation, The Pretty Things and too many others to list here.Highly recommended.
AND...
Image
Irwin Chisud's book covers every "outsider musician" including Daniel Johnston, Jandek, Tiny Tim, The Shaggs, Capt. Beefheart and many more. Fascinating and written with great sensitivity (although he does, very occasionally, lapse into easy cynicism), this book does not make fun of its subjects and is truly illuminating. The companion CDs are also a blast.
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Postby Kinkhurt » 17 May 2004, 16:42

you want to go for Mick Mercys Goth Rock book - its out of print but you might be able to get a copy on ebay (stay away from the hex files though its the 'comedy' edition) - also the Heartland Fan mags were good efforts for the time - you can sometimes get them cheap on ebay.

Nancy Von Eldritch wrote:
Kinkhurt wrote:I'm 'endevouring' to read, I'm upto page 42 at the minute and its proving to be ever so slightly bollox. He's trying to prove that Iggy is the godfather of goth ..... for pages and pages. Nice picture on the front though.

£4 in Selecta Disc btw - seen it in both London and Notts.


Yes,I've noticed that several things aren't (quite) correct while reading it too which is why I hugely ignored his(writer's) personal opinions and comments. I find it as a good historical/chronological book first.And one of the objections about it I have is that he passed over the second half of the 90s/early 00s too quickly. Admittedly the picture on the front is nice indeed.It is that UK one which is very much different from the US one that looks like this:

Image


The UK one looks so much better.
angering the feeble