Capcom- 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia – Review

November 8, 2013

The video game world has no shortage of iconic characters: Mario, Link, Lara Croft, Kratos, Master Chief, Solid Snake, Ryu Hayabusa. But rarely do many of those familiar faces originate from the same company, except when it comes to Capcom.

No Regrets – Ace Frehley – Review

December 23, 2011

Wanna rock all night, and party every day? Ace Frehley, he of the Spaceman makeup and Cherry Sunburst Les Paul did, and now he tells his life story in No Regrets: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir.

It’s So Easy – and other lies – Review

November 18, 2011

Duff McKagan is one hell of a nice guy. And he’s also one lucky son of a bitch. These are the two main things you take away from It’s So Easy (and other lies). Maybe that, and nice guys sometimes do finish first.

Experienced – Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fiction – Review

October 28, 2011

Experienced: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fiction is an anthology of short stories and essays all connected by one theme: Rock’n’roll. I can’t say all the stories rock, but some of them do indeed roll. “Tour Diary (Excerpts)” by Sean Ennis is a fictional primer of life in a rented van (written as multiple diary entries), about sleeping on people’s floors, playing to fluctuating audiences and having to visit an urgent care doctor. The protagonist wasn’t getting laid, either. Ouch.

The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal – Volume 4 – The ’00s – Review

July 1, 2011

Your first inclination is to bounce around to your favorite artists to see if the writers’ opinions match your own. Beyond that, most reference books go on the shelf, resigned to an occasional looksie when you discover a new artist and your taste needs to be validated. It’s a testament to the writing in Volume 4, then, that it’s good enough to read from beginning to end, discovering new artists as you go just to hear the author’s take.

My Appetite for Destruction – Sex & Drugs & Guns N Roses – Review

May 26, 2011

Say one thing for Steven Adler, drummer for the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses: He tells it like it is. At least, according to him, which is something you have to keep in mind regarding any memoir. Not that I have reason to disbelieve him, but reading and watching enough accounts of the Guns N’ Roses story, and even having lived through it myself, it’s funny how everyone can view the same events differently.

Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy Blues – Review

July 27, 2010

Jeff Buckley: Mystery White Boy Blues is about an artist as star-crossed as they come. Jeff Buckley may not have been destined for tragedy – or fame – but the reality of his lineage, ascent to selective fame, and untimely demise is really remarkable.

Guiness World Records 2010 -Gamer’s Edition -Review

May 1, 2010

Wisely avoiding being simply a rundown of high scores and obscure arcade accomplishments, the creators divide up gaming tidbits into logical categories (party games, 3D platformers, strategy RPGs) and bundle together facts (best-selling, first-in-genre, most critically acclaimed) in bright, inviting layouts.

Poisoned Heart – I Married Dee Dee Ramone – Review

March 1, 2010

This story is from the perspective of Dee Dee’s first wife Vera Ramone King and probable second love (crazed junkie/prostitute Connie Gripp was first), and it tells of an enduring love that would’ve sent most people to the brink – and over it – several times. And reading the memoir, you have to ask yourself: Is this the patience of a saint or the cognitive dissonance of a fool? It’s likely somewhere in between.

Metallica – The Club Dayz 1982-1984 – Review

March 1, 2010

In Metallica: The Club Dayz 1982-1984, Bill Hale, chief photographer of ’80s Metal Rendezvous International Heavy Rock-Metal Magazine chronicles the band at an even earlier incarnation: The Cliff Burton/Dave Mustaine Years. Soon, Metallica would take over the world, but here in intimate (mostly) never-before-seen photos (including Hale’s last photograph of Burton), they were just a bunch of dirty, long-haired punks drinking copious amounts of alcohol, playing faster than anyone could imagine, and living out their lean years with great vigor.

Black Diamond – The Unauthorized Biography of KISS – Review

March 1, 2010

KISS has always been many things: A good time, fun, meat and potatoes rock’n’roll, a pop phenomenon, and a joke all rolled into one. Dale Sherman, in this 10th anniversary edition of Black Diamond – The Unauthorized Biography of KISS, gives an exhaustive, behind the scenes account of the band throughout their impressive, sometimes tumultuous, history.

The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists – Review

June 1, 2009

Like punk in the ’70s, no one asked for it, it makes up its own rules, and it’s a helluva lotta fun. Really, WTF? I mean, these are kinda like “Call someone up we know who’s kinda cool and ask’m ‘whats yer fave nine unpunk things to do in a punk way.'”. Beside these sortsa shenanigans, there are choices by all kindsa people involved in punkliness/punklitude/punkness that sound off about various musical, philosophical, and sartorial situations.

Judas Priest – Heavy Metal Painkillers – Review

June 1, 2009

Really, if you care about Judas Priest or the germination of metal, you’re gonna wanna look at this. The pictorial evidence alone is fantastic. Hell, even if you read no English, you’ll know what’s what. Martin Popoff is a deep crate digger in the hard rock and metal world, a lifer’s lifer. He’s got 20 books under his Maiden belt buckle.

Keep It True – Festival History Book 2003-2008 – Review

January 1, 2009

Cool idea, a whole pile of enthusiastic metalheads getting together to celebrate the hard power “traditional” metal legacy of Germany’s Keep It True Festival. The straight goods: This is a good looking book, hard cover with silver foil, embossed, large format, and full color throughout with lots of photos of all the bands who’ve thrown the horns over the years.

The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists – Review

December 1, 2008

Joel’s choices are sure to cause kitchen table knife fights (and wait until you get into the Top 20!). But, as I say, McIver is at the front edge, making that paradigm shift, retiring the old gods for all manner of death black thrasher, not to mention young pups in bands such as Bullet For My Valentine, Dragonforce, and Avenged Sevenfold.

Ye Olde Metal – 1973 to 1975 – Review

November 1, 2008

Ye Olde Metal: 1973 to 1975, the second in Martin Popoff’s series of books detailing the early, odd, under-appreciated, or just all around forgotten gems of metal, finds Alice Cooper gracing the cover, bottle of drink in hand, giving the reader quick insight of the tales to be found inside.

Reign In Blood – Review

November 1, 2008

D.X. Ferris did dozens of interviews and basically wrote a short, intense, meticulous history of Slayer’s Reign In Blood and really, the whole band, including sociological context bios on each of the guys, and impact on the metal world. If you don’t know the deal, this is a well-regarded series of about 60 books, 4″ x 6″, the rule being it’s a history of one album in around 30,000 words.

Diary of a Punk – Life and Death in The Pagans – Review

September 1, 2008

The Pagans howled great high-octane rock and roll (Neil) Cassidy car-jacking their recent past honed dagger sharp unto it’s essence. Closest peers: Dead Boys; with fellow flamethrowers in the Ramones/Saints punk juggernaut. The writing is plain spoken, sensible, and focused. No obfuscation, no ring-around-the posey; like reading Burroughs’ Junkie or Bruce Caen’s Hollywood, it’s just straight on there.

The Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal – Vol. 3: The 90s – Review

March 1, 2008

There’s no way a guy like me could ever find out more about the general metal family from someone he trusts more than getting these Guides. Cuz I’m not deep metal, I’m wide metal. Herein, you get about 3100 reviews, the stuff you expect in the metal genre/gene-splice spiced with heavy aggressive music tangential to metal. You get your punk, your hard rock, your industrial, your stoner rock AS LONG as it has the requisite amount of heft/stroke. Plus, he’s funny, often in a droll kinda way.

Sixx A.M. – The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack – Review

February 1, 2008

Nikki Sixx has published a book called The Heroin Diaries and this is the soundtrack. I should first point out that the book is a captivating if often gut-wrenching read that anyone who dug Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt should dig. There are a lot of beautiful and otherwise inspired lyrics on this album – including those of the first single, “Life Is Beautiful” – but none so beautiful as “Accidents Can Happen,” a song about recovery and friendship.

The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia – Review

February 1, 2008

The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia, as simply as it’s rendered, shouldn’t be difficult to grasp. On the surface, the idea is simple enough: A film guide whose focus is rock & roll-based movies. Fine. Seems like a good enough idea, a reference guide for folks in search of music-based feature films, bio-pics, documentaries, and the like.

If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work – Review

February 1, 2008

If You Liked School… is a collection of five short stories. They take place all over the world and host a variety of characters, but together, they present a sort of mosaic with characters and plotlines ranging from the monstrous to the merely pathetic. The end result is a decent collection that’ll probably do the most business in hip record stores, the kind that have a small fiction section composed of books by folks like Bukowski, Kerouac, Burroughs, Palahniuk, and Henry Rollins.

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