Totally True Tales of Classic-Rock Debauchery!

Photos courtesy of Beau Phillips
Red Rocker Sammy Hagar (with wild blonde hair) and radio man Beau Phillips (with dark, super-'80s mustache) hanging out.
Come with me now, rock music fan, to visit a bygone time of yore.

Imagine a time when radio station program directors could actually program their radio stations. When artists both on the rise and hugely successful playing in town might drop by the station, hang with the DJs, and play some softball. And when interviews could last days over various illicit substances rather than as a series of phone calls in 15-minute increments with a publicist listening in to interject if the conversation got too "controversial."

This golden time of rock radio lasted roughly from the late '70s to the early '90s, and Beau Phillips lived it firsthand. As a DJ and director at Seattle's KISW radio and, later, VP of Marketing for VH-1, Phillips had plenty of opportunity to study the species rockstarus maximus up close and personal.

More »

Pop's History In 624 Pages, Plus One Very Loud Who Book

Photos via Wikipedia (Boston)/Daniel Kramer (Madonna)/Wikipedia (Wizzard)/Robin Harper-Parkwood Entertainment (Beyonce)
Clockwise from top left: Boston, Madonna, Marvin Gaye, Wizzard and Beyonce all figure -- briefly -- in Bob Stanley's The Story of Pop.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé
By Bob Stanley
W.W. Norton, 624 pp. $29.95

Well, that's not an ambitious title or anything, now is it? Especially when music journo Stanley (also the co-founder and keyboardist of Saint Etienne) has such a broad definition of "pop" music. This means that the doorstop-sized tome covers everyone from rockabilly to doo-wop to Merseybeat to folk rock. From Motown and psychedelia to soft rock and country and western, punk and New Wave to metal and electropop. From hip-hop and indie to grunge, acid house and R&B. Bill to Beyoncé indeed.

And you know what? Stanley seems to make this roller-coaster ride through pop history work, cramming hundreds of performers and songs into the narrative's whirlwind journey.

More »

Southern Rock Gets a New Bible in Southbound

Capricorn Records
Kings of the Hill -- the original lineup of the Allman Brothers Band: Jaimoe Johanson, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Berry Oakley, Dickey Betts, and Butch Trucks.
While there are plenty of musicians, record collectors and journos who will argue (as only musicians, record collectors and journos can) that all rock is "Southern rock" due to its geographical origins, Southern rock is nonetheless a well-defined genre.

And that genre finally gets its comprehensive Bible in Scott B. Bomar's Southbound: The Illustrated History of Southern Rock (Backbeat Books, 304 pp., $29.99). Insanely detailed with band bios, rare live and publicity photos, and chapters giving the context of Southern rock in both the greater world of music and its '70s heyday, Southbound covers the genre's giants (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top), mid-level players (Marshall Tucker Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section) and more obscure groups (Cowboy, Grinderswitch).

Recently Rocks Off spoke with Bomar, a researcher and music-industry pro who specializes in reissues, about the book, the bands, and how Southern Rock helped elect a U.S. President.

More »

Confessions of Bob Dylan's Ex-Joint Roller

St. Martin's/Photo by Edward Chavez
Victor Maymudes and Bob Dylan, 1964
Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and Off the Tracks
By Victor Maymudes, co-written and edited by Jacob Maymudes
St. Martin's Press, 304 pp., $26.99

From 1961 to 1966, Victor Maymudes filled a lot of roles -- both official and not -- for Bob Dylan: friend, confidante, gofer, driver, road manager, interference runner, party buddy, chess and conversation partner, and procurer/carrier of marijuana. And joint roller.

It's that last role even Maymudes' son Jacob says will likely be his lasting legacy, at least in rock history. For on that fateful night of August 28, 1964 at the Delmonico Hotel in New York, it was Maymudes who made the famous Smoke Summit/First Meeting between Dylan and the Beatles possible, after nearly getting sucked away by the teeming crowd of screaming girls and cops around the band.

The New Yorkers, mistakenly thinking that the repetitive chorus "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" went "I get high" instead of the actual "I can't hide," figured the Fabs were already experienced smokers.

More »

Houston in the '60s Was a Happening Place

Photos courtesy of Vicki Welch Ayo
The Larry Kane Show
One day, in the distant future, hopefully there will be a Vicki Welch Ayo to document Houston's present-day music scene. If so, that person must now be a dedicated and adventurous showgoer, someone who is enthusiastic about the current acts and venues, and who cares about local music enough to one day look back at it with unabashed love and respect.

That's what Ayo did for the 1960s Houston rock scene in her book, Boys From Houston. Released just over a year ago and weighing in at more than 400 pages, it's a glance back at the players who sowed the seeds for today's Houston music landscape.

More »

Pimp C's Story Coming Soon to Bookstores

Photo by Ray Tamarra/OZONE
L-R: UGK's Bun B and Pimp C at the 2006 OZONE Awards
The life of Pimp C is coming back -- in hardcover format.

Julia Beverly, the former editor-in-chief of OZONE Magazine and noted documentarian of Southern hip-hop culture at large, is planning to release an biography on the late UGK rapper, who died in 2007. Currently untitled, the book comes with the blessing of Pimp's mother, the late Weslyn "Mama C" Monroe and is set to detail his life, career and untimely death with vivid accuracy.

More »

Bio Paints Complex Portrait of AC/DC's Mighty Youngs

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC
By Jesse Fink, 320 pp., $25.99.

The mere mention of AC/DC to even the most casual of fans will bring up one image: the short, frenetic guitarist Angus Young dressed as a schoolboy and running around the stage like a maniac -- even while pushing 60 years of age, and sometimes making his own devil horns. He may not be the lead singer, but when the crowd chants "AN-GUS! AN-GUS!" during "Thunderstruck," there's no doubt as to who the real front man is for the group.

Diehard fans and writers who know a bit more about the band dynamics might tell you that it's quiet rhythm guitarist Malcolm who really calls the shots, while overlooking them both is older brother George.

George was never in the group, but was a crucial developer of the band's sound (especially in the early days) and the whiz in the studio, utilizing knowledge first learned as a member of the Easybeats, who had a worldwide hit in 1966 with "Friday on My Mind."

More »

Ballad of History's "Record Men" Sings Familiar Tune

Categories: Get Lit

Photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
L-R: The great record men Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun in 1960
Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry
By Gareth Murphy
Thomas Dunne Books, 400 pp., $27.99

For a music-industry executive, label head, A&R scout, producer or agent, there was once no higher praise than to be known far and wide as a "real record man."

That meant you were someone who wasn't simply concerned with the bottom line of deals and financial figures, but a person who actually gave a shit about the artists and the music they produced -- whether it was something following that week's trend or a piece of work that would outlive anybody involved with its creation.

More »

How Paul McCartney Spread His Wings In the '70s

Uncut Magazine
Wings at their peak - the mid '70s lineup: Jimmy McColluch (guitar), Joe English (drums), Linda McCartney (keyboards), Paul McCartney (vocals/bass), and Denny Laine (guitar/vocals)
Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s
By Tom Doyle
Ballantine, 288 pp., $27

While mighty expanses of forests have sacrificed themselves to create all the pages written about Paul McCartney's time as a Beatle, the ensuing post-breakup decade has killed far fewer trees. The 1970s found McCartney both trying to both build on his musical reputation as a Fab and distance himself from the already-looming legend, as both the leader of the ever-shifting lineup of Wings and a solo artist.

Now author Tom Doyle has added a valuable entry into the Beatles Bookshelf with this effort. Fascinating because, as he says, two words summed up Paul in the '70s: struggle and escape. That's illustrated with the book's core sources: several lengthy firsthand interviews Doyle and subject have had over the years for various music publications, plus new talks with band members and associates and research.

More »

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.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault