Tag Archives: Biography

A Review of Mojo And The American Female by SW Hammond

Mojo And The American Female

by SW Hammond

4.5

I’m really not the target audience for this book. My son or daughter may even be slightly too old to get all the movie and television references, but they would get more of them than I do. Now I can connect to the music. I always keep current, so when Mr. Hammond is commenting about the Riot Grrrl movement, I get it. But those TV shows, I never did watch “Full House”, and who is John Stamos, and why should I care? Someone thirty years younger may get more of the topical items than I do, but I still relate to the actual message that this book is trying to convey.

And another thing! The blurb about Mojo and the American Female seems to indicate that this book is a collection of short stories. I don’t think so. This is more a print version of articles that were  published on Mr. Hammond’s website. If you call something a short story, that implies that it has some sort of a plot and a character or two. Short stories also mean fiction. But these articles are more autobiographical. Mr. Hammond may have distorted the truth, but that still doesn’t make this a book of fictional short stories. He may have changed some facts to fit the story that he wanted to tell, but I think it strongly follows his own life.

And speaking of story. This book really does have an underlying message. Even a 66-year-old guy can relate. If fact, I might get more out of this story than Mr. Hammond intended. He has one section of this book where he is talking about me. He figures that the only thing I have left is to wait until I die. I’ve got him fooled! My life is everything he is looking for in this book, and more. I found my perfect mate. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I just get to have fun and that includes spending time with my family that I love and with my children and grandchildren who love me too! I’ve got what he only wishes he could find.

But back to the book. What is it? I think that this is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories that Mr. Hammond has written over the past dozen years. He discovered that he really was growing up in these stories, and thought that his struggles might be worth reading. Well, he was right. This collection is thought-provoking. You can zip though it in one day, but take a little time to let it stew in your brain. Maybe you can hear it speak to you, like it did to me.

I give Mojo and the American Female 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready to take a little mind trip, join in, you really might learn something about your life, while reading about his.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

MojoAndTheAmericanFemale_400x533A collection of short stories spanning more than a decade woven together to create the misguided anti-love story of a young man learning about relationships and the opposite sex through music, movies, and television.

From music and baseball industry professional Sean Hammond, comes Mojo And The American Female, a collection of provocative short stories on his life as a Lost Boy in search of Winnie Cooper.

Raised on rock n’ roll, with a particularly strong affinity for women who rock, Hammond blends an unparalleled view of pop culture and philosophy that follows him from his early twenties through his early thirties. Mojo And The American Female is rich with photography capturing Hammond’s days as a tour manager on Warped Tour and working for Sony Music Entertainment, as well as bringing to life the music, movies, and television that has plagued his rational sense of love and relationships. From childhood viewings of Full House leading to his lifelong hatred of John Stamos, his introduction to the Riot Grrrl movement and Kathleen Hanna, and to a questionable infatuation with The OC’s Summer Roberts – each story blends a reflective Kevin Arnold-like inner monolog with Wild Turkey.

Mojo and the American Female is the byproduct of one too many romantic comedies. Inspiration, enlightenment, and delusion fuel Hammond’s quest as he searches for a bit of meaning to life and someone to share it with.

Book Details

File Size: 30091 KB
Print Length: 81 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Surf Star Media (April 7, 2015)
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00VU3QMLW

About the Author

seanaboutSW Hammond is a freelance writer and fiction novelist. His contributions can be found in music zines, athletic periodicals, and technical publications throughout the world. He has worked in the music industry for Sony Music Entertainment, Warped Tour, WAR Records / United Interest, and has managed and consulted a variety of artists. He has also worked in the baseball industry for the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels / Diablo Stadium, and in the Commission’s Office of Major League Baseball.

Hammond’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman-esq with countless references to pop culture, especially music. His brazen and honest approach creates camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and nobility square off against a materialistic society driven by instant gratification, with Sean treading water right in the middle.

His fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories often taking place in historical settings or playing on modern headlines, Sean uses common themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though often grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on honor and virtue, or lack thereof.

A Review of A Banquet of Consequences by Jake Rohrer

A Banquet of Consequences: True Life Adventures of Sex (Not Too Much), Drugs (Plenty), Rock & Roll (of Course), and the Feds (Who Invited Them?)

by Jake Rohrer

BoCJake Rohrer has a story to tell. It’s a story dominated by prison. It starts as he is going to prison on drug charges. He has been ratted out by an associate and will have to spend his time in a Federal prison. This is how A Banquet of Consequences begins. He tells us how he was arrested and then sent to prison.

Then Banquet of Consequences switches gears. He tells about his time in high school, and how he met the founding members of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). This short period in his life has some consequences. He lives well, but when CCR ends, so does his high life. He ends up selling cocaine, which is why he ends up in jail.

Then the book jumps back further, to his childhood. Mr. Rohrer gives us some interesting glimpses into his actions and their consequences.  Consequences, as Mr. Rohrer uses it really means the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. It doesn’t mean that result is bad, just that it happened because of something that you did earlier in life. All life has actions and consequences. Everything is related. Whatever you do will catch up with you. 

This book was full of interesting stories, jail stories, music stories, drug stories, coming of age stories, stories of life and what happens as a result of his actions. He tells us that his life has been good through these stories. He sounds like someone who always has an interesting story to tell. Like one of those guys who always has a group around him, listening to his tales. He wants you to take his life as a lesson, whatever you do there will consequences. Mr. Rohrer makes a valid observation, I just don’t quite buy it.

I give this book 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. I enjoyed reading Banquet of Consequences, but I had hoped for more. I had hoped for a bit more insight into the music business, what really goes on behind the lights, but I guess that wasn’t this book. This book had a lot of interesting stories, that were told very well, and it had a message behind all the stories. Mr. Rohrer wants you to know that even though life is full of actions and consequences, you can survive and work though them, and then have the good consequences.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

On A Banquet of Consequences: “A moving story full of entertaining characters, experiences, conflicts and triumphs. Offered in a decidedly unpretentious and conversational style, the stories go well beyond the author’s association with a famous rock & roll band.” ~ William Greenleaf, Greenleaf Literary Services, Inc.

On the author’s association with Creedence Clearwater Revival: “No one has told the Creedence story as eloquently.” ~ Russ Gary, CCR recording engineer, independent TV producer (Los Angeles area)

On the business of drugs: “… [This is] beyond good. I’ve never read a clearer, more graphic account of the mechanics of the dope trade.” ~ Bruce Anderson, Editor/Publisher The Anderson Valley Advertiser

On Federal prison: “Colorful characters loom large on the page. Physical settings are vivid and detailed, and are smoothly woven into the memories, musings, and anecdotes.” ~ William Greenleaf, Greenleaf Literary Services, Inc.

From the author: “My life story (first half), at once confessional, embarrassing, and proud. Irreverent in some places, humorous in others, a little drama here and there.”

Book Details

Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Inkwater Press (September 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162901138X
ISBN-13: 978-1629011387
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

About the Author

Jake Rohrer lives with his wife in rural Upcountry Maui where they farm the land, maintain a recording studio, and administer their music label featuring the traditional music of Hawaii.

A Review of Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar by Valentina Suzukei

Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar, Legendary Throat Singer from Tuva

by Valentina Suzukei, translated by Aksai Bapa

Singing“This book is a collection of stories from Mr. Ondar’s life, compiled by his good friend Tuvan ethnomusicologist Dr. Valentina Suzukei.” (Quote from Aksai Bapa).

This book is an interesting look into life in Tuva, a small province of Russia. It is located just north of Mongolia, in central Asia. You get to follow the life of Kongar-ool from early childhood until his death at the age of 51 in 2013. You learn of the tough times he had as a youth, how he was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and how he was elected to the Tuvan Parliament, the Great Khural. During all of these events, he was becoming a well-known throat singer (khoomei). He went on to tour worldwide and he also recorded a few albums. I was able to go on iTunes and purchase one of them, “Back Tuva Future”. I listened to it as I read this book.

Most of the book was about the life of Kongar-ool, but the author also let you know that Tuvan culture was in danger of being trampled down by the central Russian bureaucrats. You got the feeling that this book was more than just a life-story of one of the most famous throat singers, it was also trying to bring the Tuvan culture to the forefront. He doesn’t want the world to forget, to allow their folk music to be obliterated by the cultural committees in Moscow. And after listening to the music and watching the videos on YouTube, I agree. This should not be allowed to happen.

Singing My Life is a collection of stories, originally written in Russian, and then translated to English, and published this August as a Kindle e-book. There are many photographs, which really add to the completeness of the book. This will teach you about the phenomenon of throat-singing, how it is done, who does it, and why it is important that it is preserved, but unless you continue on and listen to the music and view the performances, you will be missing most of the story. Once you see Kongar-ool Ondar on stage, you will understand why this book had to be written. I think this is an important book. If you want a more complete sense of our planet, and what music can do to bring us all together, you should read this book.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5, it has some faults, but I encourage you to read it. You need to broaden your view of the world, and I think you will like it.

Some YouTube links.
3 styles of Tuvan overtone throat singing – Kongar-ool Ondar
Back TUVA Future: Ondar in Vladivostok
Kongar ol Ondar – My Tuva – Benim Tuvam (Türk Dünyası Ezgileri)

Book Description

August 31, 2014
Valentina Süzükei takes readers on a journey through the life of legendary throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar. When he came onto the scene in 1989, Ondar was one of the pioneers of Tuvan throat singing in the West. Süzükei tells stories of his childhood, his first travels abroad, his collaborations with Frank Zappa, and his work on the Genghis Blues motion picture.

Book Details

File Size: 9295 KB
Print Length: 134 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Bapalar (August 31, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00N70ZM4E
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled

This book was given to me by the translator, Aksai Bapa, with the knowledge that I would give it an unbiased review.

The Book Description and details are from Amazon. Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar, Legendary Throat Singer from Tuva

 

 

A Review of Dylan: The Biography by Dennis McDougal

Dylan: The Biography
by Dennis McDougal

I have listened to Bob Dylan’s music since I was in high school in the mid sixties. Mr. McDougal’s biography allowed me to learn a bit more about the stories, legends, and lies that have circulated over the past fifty years of Dylan’s public life.

When I read a biography of a musician, I like to listen to their music as I read their story. Dylan: The Biography let me read and listen in an orderly fashion. Sometimes I had to stop reading and just sit there and listen to one of my favorite Dylan albums. But sometimes the album was so weak that I just skipped it. Many of his lesser albums have a good song or two, but not all of them.

Mr. McDougal tells the story behind each album. He lets you put the music in perspective. You follow the path that Dylan went down. He tells some interesting tales. He examines how Bob Dylan and Robert Zimmerman became two different people, how Dylan and his people fashioned a public persona and kept control of what was known about his private life. They controlled the media. If an interviewer broached a subject that Dylan didn’t want to talk about, he got the look and if he continued along that line, then Dylan would just get up and leave. The interview was over, and most likely the interviewer would never get another chance. So this brings up the question, how much of this book is fact? Has this biography been shaped by Dylan and his people? Much of this book draws on other references, but since they may be suspect, who can ever really know.

So this book was a moderately interesting story, maybe fiction mixed in with the fact. It gives a new way of looking at all the Dylan books out there, and throws them all under suspicion. But it still was a fun read for a Dylan fan. It will open up your eyes and make you reexamine what you thought that you knew about Bob Dylan. I give this book 4 Stars out of 5. It was well written and an interesting biography of a famous musician of our time. It shows that Bob Dylan is a poet and a joker, a Jew and a Born-Again Christian, a master story-teller and a songwriter, …  But who is Robert Zimmerman?

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: May 13, 2014

The ultimate biography of the musical icon.
A groundbreaking and vibrant look at the music hero to generations, DYLAN: The Biography digs deep into Bob Dylan lore—including subjects Dylan himself left out of Chronicles: Volume One.
DYLAN: The Biography focuses on why this beloved artist has touched so many souls—and on how both Dylan and his audience have changed along the way.
Bob Dylan is an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and an Oscar winner for “Things Have Changed.” His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? What transformed a heroin addict into one of the most astonishing literary and musical icons in American history?
At 72 years of age, Dylan’s final act of his career is more intriguing than ever—and classic biographies like Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades and even his own Chronicles: Volume One came too soon to cover this remarkable new chapter in Dylan’s life.
Through extensive interviews and conversations with Dylan’s friends, family, sidemen, and fans, Los Angeles Times journalist Dennis McDougal crafts an unprecedented understanding of Dylan and the intricate story behind the myths. Was his romantic life, especially with Sara Dylan, much more complicated than it appears? Was his motorcycle accident a cover for drug rehab? What really happened to Dylan when his career crumbled, and how did he find his way back? To what does he attribute his astonishing success? McDougal’s meticulous research and comprehensive interviews offer a revealing new understanding of these long-standing questions—and of the current chapter Dylan continually writes in his life and career.

Product Details

Hardcover: 540 pages
Publisher: Turner Pub Co; 1 edition (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0470636238
ISBN-13: 978-0470636237
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

About the Author

With the upcoming publication of “Dylan: A Biography” (Turner Publishing, May, 2014), Dennis McDougal has authored a total of eleven books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in a career that has spanned over 40 years. Currently, he is working on “The Acid Chronicles,” a book and documentary film about the renaissance of LSD as a powerful tool in the treatment of mental illness.

Before he began covering movies and media for the Los Angeles Times in 1983 and, more recently, the New York Times, McDougal worked as a staff writer at dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. A UCLA graduate, McDougal holds a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Journalism. He was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and spent a year teaching and studying in Palo Alto, Japan and Canada. Over the years, his journalism has won over 50 honors, including the National Headliners and George Peabody Award. He was a producer for CNN during the O.J. Simpson murder trial and co-produced “Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times” (2009) for PBS.

A contributing writer with TV Guide, McDougal has also written for Los Angeles Magazine, Premiere, and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.

McDougal has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, and the California State Universities at Fullerton and Long Beach. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Memphis, Tennessee, have five children, and 14 grandchildren.

The book description is from Amazon.  Dylan: The Biography

A Review of Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine

TUNDRA BOOKS - Tundra Books to publish Legends, Icons & RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine

This large coffee-table sized book comes with 2 CDs of music included inside the back cover. There are 27 songs, one from each of the artists covered in this volume. Most of the stories of the artists can be read in the time that their song is playing, just keep the remote handy so that you can pause once in a while. I often play the music for an artist when I am reading a book about him. When I was reading the biography of the early Beatles, Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years , I had to purchase a lot of music that was mentioned, just so that I had a real feel for the book. This book does that for you. You get to connect an artist with his work. What a concept!

I didn’t know that this book is targeted to young readers when I read it. I didn’t feel like the authors were talking down to me. They use a lot of fun graphic and font elements in the thumbnail biographies of the artists. Looking back, I can see that it would work for middle school students. If you had younger children, you could listen to the music and read this book with them also. This would give them a feel for the music that you listened to and enjoyed. Maybe you could find an artist or two that you both liked.

I really enjoyed listening and reading this book. The authors knew what they were talking about. It was just a fun couple of hours. I give this book 5 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like music of the Twentieth Century, and aren’t too hung-up on just one genre, then I think you will enjoy this too. If you have kids that are getting into rock, rap or pop, and you want to connect with them musically, give this a shot. Who knows, it might bring you closer.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Description
Release date: October 8, 2013

Exclusive insights from a celebrated musician and passionate industry insiders, two accompanying CDs of legendary tracks and beautiful packaging make for a book with broad appeal — one that will captivate fans of Robbie Robertson and music lovers of all ages.

Part memoir, part tribute, and all great storytelling …
Music industry veterans Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Jared Levine, and Sebastian Robertson invite young readers to share with them in celebrating twenty-seven musical legends. Short profiles chronicle personal stories and achievements of extraordinarily talented artists whose innovations changed the landscape of music for generations to come. Carefully compiled like any great playlist, the line-up features originators, rebels, and risk-takers across diverse genres. From Ray Charles to Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry to Bob Dylan, Robertson shares anecdotes about these artists and the influence they had on his own musical journey.

Always respectful of their reader, the writers never shy away from speaking about the difficult challenges these recording artists faced and the very human foibles that sometimes led to their tragic end. Most of all, it’s the authors’ passion and insights into these personal stories of creativity and collaboration — and the power of music to shine a light on injustice and foster change — that will fascinate, enlighten, and inspire music fans of all ages.”Exclusive insights from a celebrated musician and passionate industry insiders, two accompanying CDs of legendary tracks and beautiful packaging make for a book with broad appeal — one that will captivate fans of Robbie Robertson and music lovers of all ages.

Product Details

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Tundra Books, Har/Com edition (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1770495711
ISBN-13: 978-1770495715
Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 12 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds

The book description is from Amazon.  Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World

A Review of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 by Mark Lewisohn

Tune InTune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1

by Mark Lewisohn

This book is part 1 of a trilogy, so it ends December 31, 1962. On this date, The Beatles have one single on the charts, but are working on an LP and the next single. Nothing has been released yet in the United States. Most of the stories in this book were new to me since I was never a huge Beatles fan. I liked their music, and bought their later albums, but never read the fanzines or joined their fan club. This is a thoroughly researched and very well written biography of The Beatles.

Mr. Lewisohn has combed though all the sources that he could find and is still asking for more. He lets you walk in each of The Beatles’ shoes. I know more about John Lennon’s childhood than I do about my own. He gives Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr the same level of detail. He also lets you really know the backstories of Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. He shows how all these people came together at the right time, with something different, something new, something that nobody expected, and burst on the music scene in 1962, after spending long, hard hours playing music in the “Red Light District” in Hamburg, sleeping in the back of a movie theater near the stinking public toilets, and playing in the overcrowded, underground Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Beatles were a hard-working band that would search though the new music from the US, looking for something new to play in their next show. They were a cover band, but with originality. This book lets you feel like you really know where they came from.

Tune In is a huge book, full of interesting stories, told by an informed author, in an authentic voice. You will have to live in this book for a while, since it is so long, but if you grew up in the 60s and have fond memories of that time, then you will enjoy spending time back there.

I give this 5 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! It is quite a commitment, but worth it.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 29, 2013 | Series: The Beatles: All These Years

Tune In is the first volume of All These Years—a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world’s leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record (“Love Me Do”) behind them and the next (“Please Please Me”) primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon.  This is the lesser-known Beatles story—the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.

For those who’ve never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s time to press the Reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word.

Product Details

Hardcover: 944 pages

Publisher: Crown Archetype (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1400083052

ISBN-13: 978-1400083053

Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds

About the Author

Mark Lewisohn is the acknowledged world authority on the Beatles. His books include the bestselling and influential Beatles Recording Sessions and Complete Beatles Chronicle. He has been a consultant and researcher on all aspects—TV, DVDs, CDs and book—of the Beatles’ own Anthology and has been involved in numerous additional projects for them as well as independent works like this one. Married with two children, he lives in England.

The book description is from Amazon. Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1