Archive for Featured Stories

Plan Your Trip by The Kentucky Barbecue Book

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The Food Network and other outlets churn out insufferable amounts of coverage devoted to barbecue in Texas, North Carolina, and Kansas City. With good reason, admittedly. Like anything, there are places where people simply do things right. And those locales should be celebrated and honored.

But by falling back on these old faithful locations time and time again (I mean, do we really need another peek at the Salt Lick in Austin, no matter how great the place is?), we miss the opportunity to explore lesser-known, but equally vibrant cultures of cooking.

For me, that oversight was rectified this past weekend when I was finally able to do a bit of exploring of my old stomping grounds, using Wes Berry’s excellent The Kentucky Barbecue Book. The end result was 4 barbecue joints in less than 48 hours and a great excuse to get off the highway and explore something more unique than just the fast food dumps that litter the exits.

An Associate Professor at Western Kentucky University, Berry wanted to document the barbecue customs and, more importantly, the people who dedicate their lives to it, from his home state. Along the way, he uncovered highly unique and diverse ways of treating barbecue that varied from, literally, county to county. What he calls “micro-regional” cuisine changes from Hopkinsville to Madisonville. And while the big time TV shows and annual New York Times roundups stick with only the most prominent representations of the genre, Berry goes deeper to show how two towns, just separated by a few miles, might go about things completely differently.

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Slushpile Founder Nears Goal of YA Novel Crowdfunding Campaign

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John Biggs, the patron saint of Slushpile.net, has launched a crowdfunding campaign in support of his young adult novel, Mytro. He is closing in on his goal, and offering some cool rewards, so contribute to the effort here. I’ve read the vast majority of this novel and it’s a great read, so I can definitely attest to the quality of the work.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting…

I’m a bit more of an old fogey in certain ways and I have my hesitations about crowdfunding and new mechanisms of getting literature out there. I’m no luddite by any means, but the jury is still a little more out for me.

John, on the other hand, spends his day job hours writing about the technology sector and he’s more accustomed to new fangled ways of thinking. Crowdfunding, as a way to raise capital as well as to serve as a test market for the viability of a concept or product, is almost second nature to him. He watches, and comments on, creators doing this on a massive scale all the time.

John has agreed to share all his experiences, good and bad, with us on this journey. Mytro is a real book, a real story, and one that people will enjoy. But it is also serving as an experiment for John to try out crowdfunding and releasing the book. So we will benefit from the lessons-learned.

You can read John’s explanation of why he chose the crowdfunding route to get caught up on the story so far. He’ll provide regular updates as things move forward.

Lamb of God Frontman Signs Book Deal

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Add another hard rock memoir to the constantly bulging list of headbanging books

But in this case, there’s definitely a different story to be told, beyond just the usual “banging chicks, doing drugs” story.

Publisher’s Marketplace is reporting that Randy Blythe, lead singer of Lamb of God, has signed a book deal with Ben Schafer at Da Capo. Blythe was incarcerated for slightly more than 1 month (and tied up in criminal wranglings for almost a year) after a fan in the Czech Republic was killed in Prague.

Blythe stood trial and was acquitted, but the legal turmoil took a heavy toll on the band. Drummer Chris Adler recently told The Virginian-Pilot that the court case bankrupted the band.

Expected to be on bookstore shelves in the spring of 2014, Blythe’s memoir will certainly stand out from the rest of the heavy metal bookshelf.

Round Up of Hard Rock Books

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Yesterday, we discussed the deluge of books related to hard rock and heavy metal. Whereas the prevailing attitude used to be that rockers don’t read, it now appears that anyone with a Marshall amp stack can get a book deal. And even if you don’t have a massive stack of amplifiers, you can still sell one of these books.

[In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that my own book Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes focuses on musicians within the hard rock and heavy metal genre.]

The list below is by no means a comprehensive, all-inclusive compilation of hard rock books. These are just the texts that pop into my head. This list doesn’t go back forever and it doesn’t include super-small fanzines and those kinds of publications. Some of these are by band members and primary musicians. Other books are by peripheral people to the groups or journalists. Some are bestsellers while some are self-published. The point is to give a simple off-the-cuff indicator of the size of this market.

If you’re a headbanger and you can think of other books that I’ve left off this list, feel free to add the title and author in the Comments section. And if you are interested in this form of music, then you should definitely check out Blabbermouth on a regular basis. Sort of the headline news of hard rock, Blabbermouth provides frequent updates that allude to books and musicians’ literary ventures.

[Editorial Note: This post will be updated whenever news of a hard rock book is announced.]

AC/DC
Rockers and Rollers: A Full-Throttle Memoir by vocalist Brian Johnson
Why AC/DC Matters by journalist Anthony Bozza

Aerosmith
Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith by Aerosmith and Stephen Davis
Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top by drummer Joey Kramer
Does the Noise in My Head Bother You: A Rock and Roll Memoir by vocalist Steven Tyler
–Bass player Tom Hamilton quoted in the press as working on a book
Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith by guitarist Joe Perry is quoted in the press as working on a book

Behemoth
–Guitarist and vocalist Adam “Nergal” Darski released his autobiography Sacrum Profanum

Black Sabbath
Iron Man: My Life in Black Sabbath and Beyond by Tony Iommi
Deep Purple and Beyond: Scenes from the Life of a Rock Star by Glenn Hughes (who also sang with Black Sabbath and others)
–Geezer Butler quoted in press as working on a book
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality via the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Broken Hope
–Media reports that Jeremy Wagner is publishing fiction with kRP Publishing

Def Leppard
Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History by rock photographer Ross Halfin

Dio, Ronnie James
Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography of Ronnie James Dio, posthumously, by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, forthcoming

Disturbed
–Vocalist David Draiman spoke in media outlets about his book to be published by HarperCollins

Ford, Lita
–Former member of the Runaways and solo artist Lita Ford sold her memoir to William Morrow

Foreigner
Juke Box Hero by former vocalist Lou Gramm

Guns N’ Roses
Slash by Slash
My Appetite for Destruction by Steven Adler
It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan
Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses by journalist Stephen Davis
W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose by journalist Mick Wall
Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction by longtime band associate and photographer Marc Canter
Sweet Child of Mine: How I Lost My Son to Guns N’ Roses by Deanna Adler
Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage by Roxanna Shirazi, romantic partner of several musicians, most notably to the book Dizzy Reed, a keyboard player for GnR
–Drummer Matt Sorum quoted in the media about possible autobiography

Gwar
–Vocalist Dave Brockie was said to be working on a book, however the status of this is unclear after Brockie’s untimely death

Hagar, Sammy
Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by vocalist Sammy Hagar
–Hagar’s sister Bobbi Hagar Harrell released Blinds, Patches, and Twine through Strategic Book Publishing

The Haunted
–Media reports state that Peter Dolving is working on fiction

Iron Maiden
The Beast: Singing with Iron Maiden – the Drugs, the Groupies… the Whole Story by former vocalist Paul Di’Anno
Run to the Hills: Iron Maiden: The Authorized Biography by journalist Mick Wall
–A photobook is reported to be in the works

Judas Priest
Dawn of the Metal Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal by former vocalist Al Atkins

Keel
Rock Star 101: A Rock Star’s Guide to Survival and Success in the Music Business by guitarist Marc Ferrari
Even Keel: Life on the Streets of Rock and Roll by lead vocalist Ron Keel.

KISS
Kiss and Make Up by bassist Gene Simmons
Sex Money Kiss by bassist Gene Simmons
Ladies of the Night: A Historical and Personal Perspective on the Oldest Profession in the World by bassist Gene Simmons
No Regrets by original lead guitarist Ace Frehley
Makeup to Breakup by original drummer Peter Criss
KISS: Behind the Mask – The Official Authorized Biography by David Leaf and Ken Sharp
Sealed with a Kiss by Lydia Criss, former wife of drummer Peter Criss
Kiss & Tell by Gordon G. G. Gebert, Bob McAdams, Danny Galgano, and Ellin Van Leeuwen
Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup by former band associate C.K. Lendt
KISS Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History by journalists Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs
The Eric Carr Story by journalist Greg Prato
Kiss and Tell by Shannon Tweed, longtime romantic partner of Gene Simmons
Into the Void… with Ace Frehley by alleged romantic partner Wendy Moore
Nothing to Lose: The Making of Kiss 1972 – 1975 by Ken Sharp, with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
Face the Music by Paul Stanley

Korn
Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn by bassist Fieldy
Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story by former guitarist Brian Welch
Washed by Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ by former guitar player Brian Welch
Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality by former guitar player Brian Welch

L.A. Guns
Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rockstar by guitarist Stacey Blades
–Guitarist Tracii Guns has been quoted in the press as working on a book

Lamb of God
–Chris Adler is reported to be working on a book that is a combination of nonfiction with musical tablature
Dark Days: My Tribulations and Trials by vocalist Randy Blythe

Malmsteen, Yngwie
Relentless: The Memoir by Yngwie Malmsteen
–An unauthorized biography was released in the virtuoso’s home country of Sweden

Manson, Marilyn
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson
–Manson has been quoted in the press as working on a new authorized biography

Megadeth
My Life with Deth: Discovering Meaning in a Life of Rock & Roll
Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir by guitarist and vocalist Dave Mustaine

Metallica
Too Much Horror Business by guitarist Kirk Hammett
Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica by journalist Mick Wall

Motley Crue
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Band by Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars
Tommyland by Tommy Lee
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
This is Gonna Hurt: Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx by Nikki Sixx
Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen by Vince Neil
–Guitarist Mick Mars quoted in press as working on a book
Motley Crue: A Visual History, 1983 – 2005 by noted rock photograph Neil Zlozower

Motorhead
White Line Fever: The Autobiography by bassist and vocalist Lemmy Kilmister
–Guitarist Phil Campbell quoted in press as working on a book

Ozzy Osbourne
I Am Ozzy by singer Ozzy Osbourne
Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor by singer Ozzy Osbourne
The Wit and Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne by journalist Dave Thompson
Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz by bassist Rudy Sarzo (who also played with Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, and others)
–Former drummer Carmine Appice (who also performed with Rod Stewart, King Kobra, Blue Murder, and others) said in press interviews that he is working on a book
Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Bezerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination by former guitarist Zakk Wylde (who currently helms Black Label Society)
For Fact’s Sake by Bob Daisley

Pantera
Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera by bassist Rex Brown
“Mouth For War: Pantera And Beyond by vocalist Phil Anselmo
Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of Dimebag Darrell Abbott by journalist Zac Crain

Poison
Roses and Thorns by vocalist Bret Michaels, forthcoming
A Shot of Poison: An Insider’s Tales of One of Rock’s Most Outrageous Bands by associate Christopher Long

Quiet Riot
–Original bassist Kelly Garni released Angels with Dirty Faces

Ratt
Tales of a Ratt by drummer Bobby Blotzer
–Blotzer has said in public he is working on a new book
Sex Drugs Ratt and Roll by vocalist Stephen Pearcy
–Former vocalist Jizzy Pearl (who has also worked with LA Guns and other bands) has released three books

Refused
–Media reports state that Dennis Lyxzen is working on a book

Satyricon
–Media reports state that Sigurd Wongraven is working on a nonfiction book about wine

Saxon
–Graham Oliver has been quoted in press as working on a book

Scorpions
–Former drummer Herman Rarebell quoted in media about completing a memoir

Skid Row
Un-Philtered: Real Life On And Off The Rock ‘N’ Roll Tour Bus by former drummer Phil Varone
–Former vocalist Sebastian Bach is writing a book

Slipknot
–Percussionist M. Shawn Crahan told media outlets that he is working on a book called Maggot Bible that will collect artwork submitted by the band’s fan

Slipknot and Stone Sour
The Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good by vocalist Corey Taylor
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by vocalist Corey Taylor

Stryper
Honestly by vocalist Michael Sweet

Testament
Geek to Guitar Hero by guitarist Alex Skolnick

Van Halen
–The editors of Guitar World put together Van Halen: 40 Years of the Great American Rock Band
–John Scanlan’s Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock n Roll published by Reaktion Books

Velvet Revolver
Not Dead and Not for Sale by former vocalist Scott Weiland (who also sang for Stone Temple Pilots)
Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness by Mary Forsberg Weiland, wife of singer
–Also Duff McKagan and Slash, as described above in Guns N’ Roses

White Zombie
I’m in the Band: Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie by bassist Sean Yseult