Good afternoon, my little Paperback Writers.
Well, it's morning for me. I like my sleepytime. But anyway.
I realized the other day that I'm always ranting about shitty movies and and celebrities that I'd like to pound with a tire iron, and I would just like to point out that I am in fact, rather well-read and actually did go to
Anyway, I actually do read sometimes, because looking at pictures is making my speaking English real good. So for this month's Aural Sex, I've given you guys a list of my favorite books that you can find in the music section at Barnes N' Noble. Or on the Kindle, because no one besides me seems to actually get a sexual high from the smell of the paper page anymore.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS
DONALD S. PASSMAN
This is the first piece of literature I purchased when I decided that I wanted a career in the music business. As it turned out, I made the right choice- a few of my old bosses, coworkers and most of my friends all own it as well. This is practically a textbook for anyone who wants to get started in music management, marketing, promotion or jump-starting their band on the live performance circuit. I don't know this guy personally but he is a fucking genius.
My original copy had dog-eared pages, notes in the margins and sections highlighted in color code (I'm really anal). Sadly, I lost that one when I switched coasts, but I recently bought it again- in hard-cover, yo. I'm bad-ass.
PLEASE KILL ME: THE UNCENSORED ORAL HISTORY OF PUNK
LEGS MCNEIL and GILLIAN MCCAIN
I own this in paperback, so I’m amazed that my copy is still intact. I’ve probably read it a good twenty times, and the spine is barely keeping it together.
Please Kill Me is a collection of interviews of almost everybody who was around during the New York City punk and New Wave scene that took place during the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Collected by the founder of Punk (the original ‘zine) and a promoter of downtown poetry readings, the oral observations are pretty much what fans of the genre might expect- everyone was fucking everyone and consuming whatever illegal (and legal) substance just happened to be lying around. It’s a miracle that the book itself is more than three paragraphs long and that anyone remembers anything that took place at all.
The voices of Please Kill Me do for the punk movement what the Jews do for Moses. Everybody makes an appearance and tells their own story- musical legacies such as The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Stooges to lesser-known acts like Television, Richard Hell and Johnny Thunders. You hear from famous “groupies,” wives and girlfriends, and even behind-the-scenes legends like Malcolm McLaren (one of my personal idols).
I could not put this down. Even if you don’t listen to punk rock, or weren’t alive during that era, you’ll be sucked into the candid debauchery and the shamelessness with which it all comes to life. My world is incredibly disappointing in comparison.
I never got the clap, though. So, yay.
CLAPTON: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I’m not usually into biographies, but Clapton is a legend and he’s also one of my dad’s idols, so when he told me to check this out I had no winning argument. I was able to finish the entire book on the plane going from California to New York, so it’s an easy read for those of you with the attention span of a Jewish girl in a room full of shiny things. (OOH! A nickel!)
Clapton himself was pretty fucked up- you have to wonder how this dude is still around. Everything is covered in his bio- his early days in England, his friendship with George Harrison, the epic Derek and the Dominoes album, the death of his son and a shit-ton more stuff I’m leaving out because I really want you guys to read this.
PS- after you plow through Clapton, pick up Wonderful Tonight, written by Pattie Boyd about her relationships with both Clapton and Harrison.
The only work of fiction to make this list, High Fidelity explores a record store owner’s life, loves and pop culture abhorrances through his obsession with depressing bands. While I am loathe to promote the writing of anyone that would publicly speak out against Radiohead, the main character is basically me with a penis so I had to put this on here.
The film adaptation, starring John Cusack, and its companion soundtrack are like music nerd porn. This is one of my most worshipped books, movies and compilations, and I recommend that you check out all three.
MASHED UP: MUSIC, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE RISE OF CONFIGURABLE CULTURE
Anyone that's interested in intellectual property, sampling, remixing and copyrighting needs to read this. The DJ culture is becoming more prevalent, and this book explores the business and legality behind it. One of the reviews on Amazon.com even recommends it as a textbook for music majors. While I find mash-ups annoying (especially if they include Journey, who should never be tampered with), they are a growing phenomenon, and this is definitely worth picking up.
How the fuck is this guy still alive? I’m only a third of the way through Life, but holy crap. Is Keith Richards even human? Seriously, read this. You will not believe this shit. It is ridiculous.
GRUNGE IS DEAD: THE ORAL HISTORY OF SEATTLE ROCK MUSIC
The grunge genre is largely considered the music of my generation. It really started to come up when I was in junior high, and most of my friends have at least one story about a band from this era that deeply impacted their lives.
This follows a similar format as Please Kill Me- it begins in the 1960's and spans all the way through the 90's. It features encounters with grunge icons such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains as well as criminally underdiscovered acts such as Melvins and Screaming Trees. The most poignant interview is with Layne Staley's mother, years after her son's drug addiction and subsequent overdose. I still mourn the loss of Alice In Chains and have an entire playlist devoted to them, so this really resonated with me. (Note: supplying us with a different lead singer does not a new Alice In Chains make. Layne Staley is irreplaceable. Period.)
This is the Bible for anyone in my age group who grew up with grunge and has a copy of Nirvana's Nevermind. So, basically, anyone in my age group. I am so, so happy that we're the generation of Pearl Jam's Ten and not, like, Hilary Duff.
WOODSTOCK: THREE DAYS THAT ROCKED THE WORLD
MIKE EVANS and PAUL KINGSBURY
I’m so pissed at my parents for not even knowing each other in the 60’s and therefore not giving birth to me like, 25 years earlier than they did. But then I’d be old and stuff, so no. Woodstock would most likely have been the greatest experience of my life and all I have now is my DVD player and fucking Disney Channel radio (this is an actual station; I heard it once).
TDTRTW includes a forward by Martin Scorsese and glossy photos of the bands, the fans and the booze that cemented Woodstock as an iconic pop culture celebration and always makes me wistful for a time that I will never get to be a part of unless I perfect my design for the Flux Capacitor.
CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP: A HISTORY OF THE HIP-HOP GENERATION
I don't like hip-hop. I'll go as far as to say that I think most of it blows. However, as a music maven and pop culture buff I can't argue the impact that hip-hop has had on my generation. Not to mention "Sabotage" belongs in some kind of museum for being awesome- probably the same one I'll be in when I'm deified later.
Can't Stop Won't Stop studies the influence of not only the musical movement, but of graffiti art, race riots, b-boys and street parties. With an introduction by DJ Kool Herc, Chang identifies hip-hop as groundbreaking American culture, not just the stupid crap it is now with made-up shit about clubs and vodka or whatever.
And hey, the American Book Award that's splashed across its cover probably means something pretty important, right?
SEX, DRUGS AND COCOA PUFFS: A LOW CULTURE MANIFESTO
Technically, this isn’t really about music. However, Klosterman is hilarious and a hipster God, and there are some really funny musical references in Cocoa Puffs. At one point some dumbasses compare their relationship to Sid and Nancy. Idiots. I hope it ends the same way, too.
Be warned- a lot of these books have big words in them, so while they definitely come with my stamp, they might make you feel all smart and stuff. If you do wind up trying out any of these, please give me your opinions. I'm anxious to know what you think.
By the way, I'm trying something different for next month's Aural Sex. I'm interested in what you guys are listening to, since you're always leaving comments up in here. So for April, I need ten of you to contribute your three favorite bands, and ten more of you to let me know your most anticipated album of the summer. Submissions can be sent by email to email@example.com by April 1st.
Oh shit, I forgot about the movies! If you want to be part of next month's Horrible Movie Review Blogring, send me an email for that, too. I need those by the 20th. I have no idea what the theme is yet, so if you think of one, I can pay you in cheese.