Kinks Bio Shows Davies Brothers Brawling to This Day

Original Kinky Kinks: Ray Davies (vocals/guitar), Dave Davies (guitar), Mick Avory (drums) and Pete Quaife (bass).
God Save the Kinks: A Biography
By Rob Jovanovic
Quarto Publishing Group, 330 pp., $14.95

As battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies continue to go back and forth with each other -- and in the press -- with sometimes wholly different views on what if anything the Kinks will do to mark their 50th anniversary, this new bio offers a fresh and insightful look into the band's music and history.

Jovanovic. who has also written books on the Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Big Star, Kate Bush, and R.E.M., pens a brisk and often hilarious narrative. He utilizes both previously published material including the brothers own books, Ray's X-Ray and Dave's Kink, and the more than two dozen original interviews conducted with band members, business associates, fellow musicians, fans, and journalists.

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The Rolling Stones' Rocky Road to Exile on Main Street

Photos courtesy of Mirrorpix/Da Capo Press
Two Birds of a Feather: Bianca and Mick Jagger arrive for the first show of the Stones' 1971 "farewell" tour of England in 1971
Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile
By Robert Greenfield
Da Capo Press, 196 pp. $25.99.

Like estranged lovers who can't quite quilt each other, music journalist Robert Greenfield and the Rolling Stones have kept coming back together through the least in print. His first book on the band, S.T.P.: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, was his personal, fly-on-the-wall account of much of the band's famously debauched 1972 tour in support of Exile on Main Street.

More than 30 years later came Exile on Main St: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, the definitive account of the making of what many consider the band's best record. In this slim, third effort, Greenfield takes an even more personal memoir, mostly of his experiences in the band's 1971 "Farewell" tour of England before they became (temporarily) tax exiles on France, And where they put down much of Exile.

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Pogues Accordionist Squeezes Out Anarchic Band's Story

Categories: Get Lit

The Pogues circa 1990
Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues
By James Fearnley
Chicago Review Press, 416 pp., $18.95.

It's interesting to note that, despite their status as one of the contemporary groups most identified with traditional Irish music, none of the members of the Pogues are actually Irish. Nevertheless, their insertion of punk-rock energy into the familiar sounds, instruments and themes of the Land of Erin have made records like Red Roses for Me, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash and If I Should Fall from Grace With God essential listening.

Accordionist James Fearnley has been with the band since its 1982 formation, when the group was called Pogue Mahone; roughly translated into "Kiss my ass," they changed it for obvious reasons. He offers this memoir (or, as he calls it, "creative non-fiction") of his run with the group from its early days to their 1991 sacking of troubled front man Shane MacGowan.

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Bill Medley Still Having the Time of His Life

Categories: Get Lit

Orange County Archives via Flickr
L-R: Righteous Brothers Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley at Knott's Berry Farm, date unknown
"I thought it was going to get easier by age 73...I guess I was wrong!"

Bill Medley is speaking to Rocks Off from the back of a car somewhere on the streets of New York City on the way to a radio interview as part of a whirlwind press tour for two projects.

First for one-half of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted duo the Righteous Brothers is his autobiography, The Time of My Life (Da Capo, 228 pp., $26.99), written with Mike Marino. And then there's a new CD, Your Heart to Mine: Dedicated to the Blues (Fuel 2000), in which one of the originators of "blue-eyed soul" tackles a bevy of blues and soul standards including "Drowned In My Own Tears," "Your Precious Love," "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and "This Magic Moment."

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Paul Stanley's New Book Looks Like the Most Reliable KISStory to Date

Photo by Neil Zlozower/Courtesy of HarperOne
KISS in their '70s prime
Face the Music: A Life Exposed
By Paul Stanley
HarperOne, 480 pp., $28.99

With the publication of this glitter-, greasepaint- and leather-slathered tome, all four original members of KISS have now penned their autobiographies.

Not surprisingly, as one astute Web site pointed out recently by comparing the quartet - their memories and opinions of the same shared incidents don't always coincide. Or even come close to similarity.

Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley, aka "The Starchild," always seemed like the most level-headed member of the group. Now he has written the best memoir of the four with the most insightful -- and probably accurate -- reading of KISStory.

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Justin Melkmann's Punk-Rock Comics: Life Irritates Art

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Art by Justin Melkmann/Courtesy of Melkmann Comics
This is a story about the sometimes roundabout ways we encounter new music. It's also about expectations: why we make them and how we adapt, often for the better, when they aren't fully realized. I'll start there.

TMI alert: I like to read in the restroom. I planned to spend a few minutes "reading" one morning, so I grabbed a 'zine one of the kids brought home from a show and was flipping through the pages when I came across some well-drawn, music-related and genuinely funny cartoon art. The artist's name was Justin Melkmann.

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Buck Owens: The Country Cad Who Couldn't Quite Escape Hee Haw

Buck Owens (left) and the classic lineup of the Buckaroos: Don Rich, Willie Cantu, Tom Brumley and Doyle Holly

Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens
By Buck Owens with Randy Poe
Backbeat Books, 360 pp., $29.99

Music legend says that bluesman Robert Johnson made his deal with the Devil at the Crossroads. If that's the case, then country legend Buck Owens must have booked his date with Ol' Scratch in the cornfield.

As Owens (1929-2006) mentions numerous times in this autobiography -- drawn largely verbatim from nearly 100 hours of recently-discovered taped reminisces -- his 17 seasons as co-host of the cornpone country comedy/music show Hee Haw fattened his wallet and made him a household name.

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The Allman Brothers Band's Still-Unfolding Saga Ain't Got But One Way Out

Ultimate Classic Rock/Polydor Records
The Allman Brothers Band outside the Fillmore East in 1971. From left to right: Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Jaimoe Johanson, Berry Oakley, and Butch Trucks
One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band
By Alan Paul
St. Martin's Press, 464 pp., $29.99

Make no mistake. While only two of the six original members of the Allman Brothers Band were actual biological siblings, the fraternal ties of Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson, went deep. Real deep.

Through their music, their joys, their tragedies, and enough infighting, drugs, boozing, breakups and reunions, and creative differences to do in most lesser bands, the Allmans have somehow kept going. Incredibly, for a group that lost its admitted leader and soul -- Duane -- in a motorcycle accident three albums into their career and then Oakley, almost a year later in nearly the same spot and also on a bike.

Paul is a music journalist and longtime friend of the band, and conducted more than 60 interviews with current and former bandmembers, musical friends, roadies, ex-wives and girlfriends, promoters and other writers. He had the Allmans' authorization, but lets everyone get his or her say (and sometimes contradict each other) in this oral history.

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Popping the Trunk on Houston Rap Tapes

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Photos courtesy of Peter Beste
Pimp C and Bun B of UGK
The shittiest thing about Houston Rap, the big, glossy picture book put out late last year by Sinecure Books, is that it isn't 11 million pages long. A ten-year labor of photographic love by documentarians Peter Beste and Lance Scott Walker, the book is an absolute treasure trove of snapshots capturing H-Town rap culture that instantly became a primary portrait of the city's hip-hop scene. For hardcore music and history buffs, the only disappointing part of the book was reaching the end.

The good news is that Walker has foreseen our frustrations. This week, Sinecure is releasing his 283-page companion piece called Houston Rap Tapes. The new book contains more than 40 interviews that Walker conducted over the past decade with Houston hip-hop movers and shakers large and small. The author will be signing copies at Sig's Lagoon today between 6-9 p.m.

Many small slices of the new book's interviews were woven into the photo narrative of Houston Rap. But Houston Rap Tapes offers up the long-form stories, conversations and musings Walker collected from the likes of K-Rino, Z-Ro, Lil' Troy and Paul Wall that offer a richer, deeper perspective on the city's rap culture and legacy.

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Five Bizarre Titles on Ye Olde Beatles Bookshelf

Classic Rock Bob in 1999 on a pilgrimage to Abbey Road studios. The black hair is gone, but he can still fit into the shirt.
Hi. My name is Bob, and I am a Beatles fanatic.

This won't come as any surprise to my friends and family, for whom I am a very, very easy mark for a Christmas or birthday gift: "Just get him something Beatles-related." The first 33 rpm LP I ever bought in 1978 was -- I'm pretty sure -- Meet the Beatles. Though it may have also been Shaun Cassidy; hey, I was a big "Hardy Boys" admirer.

For years, I wore a black armband to school on December 8, the day John Lennon was shot. As a young teen, I once wrote Yoko Ono a letter telling her I didn't think she was responsible for breaking up the band. She must have been very, very relieved by this bit of information, as she responded with a real hand-signed Christmas card.

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