Now Read This: Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies, by Stewart Copeland


 
I snagged this one at the same time I picked up the Tammy Wynette biography from last week, mainly because, while I’m not the biggest fan of The Police, I could not resist that title. Pygmies? Polo? A rockstar with a (kind of) secret double life? Sign me up!

I am pleased to tell you that I had once again invested wisely, because Stewart Copeland definitely comes through in the hilarious / compelling anecdote department.

In addition to his time with The Police, his adventures as a documentary film maker and his trials and travails amid the ponies, the book also covers his childhood in the Beirut and England (his dad was founding member of the CIA!), his college years in California, his forays into the world of opera and ballet, the period he was in a band with Les Claypool and Trey Anastasio, a little bit about the making of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, his work writing movie scores, his stint as a judge on Just … Continue reading

Now Read This: Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen, by Jimmy McDonough

When I found this book in the music section of a used book store in Boston, I added it to my pile immediately.

Not because I’m a dedicated fan of Tammy Wynette – my favorite version of Stand By Your Man is the Lyle Lovett cover that was included in the Crying Game – but because she is such an iconic figure in country music, and I felt I should get to know her better.

Plus I’ve been reading a lot of auto/biographies of male rock stars lately, and I felt like I should branch out a little bit.

I may have picked it up out of a sense of duty, but what I got was the best kind of surprise. I loved this book. I honestly did not want to put it down, even though it was largely responsible for having Stand By Your Man stuck in my head on infinite repeat for the better part of a week.

Wynette’s story is a real rollercoaster ride of triumphant commercial success highs (all those … Continue reading

Now Read This: Deep Blues by Robert Palmer

 

My co-blogger and I are both tremendous consumers of books as well as of music. Naturally, we also read books about music, and you’ve seen a few examples of that sneak in here and there – Jennifer’s review of Keith Richards’ Life, my write-up of B-Sides and Broken Hearts by Caryn Rose, and the recent blurb about Put the Needle on the Record by Matthew Chojnacki – and there are more to come. To that end, we introduce Now Read This, where we’ll write about music-related books that we get our grubby, grabby hands on.

To inaugurate our new title tag, I am very pleased to present a review of Deep Blues by renowned music journalist/musician Robert Palmer (not that Robert Palmer) from the man who thought of our clever new tag, kick-ass friend of NTSIB, Rick Saunders. (If’n you don’t know, Rick is the commander of his own wonderful blog, also known as Deep Blues. He is the only person I know who can consistently recommend music to my idiosyncratic self, so if you like what I write about here, you’re going to love Rick’s blog.)

 

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Caryn Rose: B-Sides and Broken Hearts

 

Lisa Simon, age 37, still loves loud punk rock and hates Dave Matthews with an all-consuming passion. So begins the synopsis of Caryn Rose’s first novel, B-Sides and Broken Hearts. If this book is for you, you know it just from that sentence. You’ve already heard the click of recognition and know you’re about to read the story of a kindred spirit.

For the rest of you, let me put it to you this way: B-Sides and Broken Hearts is like High Fidelity for female music nerds. I mean big music nerds. The ones you know in school who always wore band T-shirts, who tried to sneak their Walkman/Discman/mp3 player to class, whose locker and bedroom was papered with band posters, who camped out for concert tickets, who spent hours in records stores on the weekends and cried when the tape recorder ate their favorite cassette/favorite CD became too scratched to play/computer ate their mp3s. But moreover, these are the music nerds who never “grew out of it”. They may have flirted with being “normal” – took a desk job, toned down their wardrobe, tried dating a guy with a steady job. But the nerd streak never … Continue reading

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Life by Keith Richards

Today, Jennifer treats us to our first book review after a wild ride with Keith “Have fun deducing how much of what I say is fact and how much is drug-addled hallucination” Richards.

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My first reaction, on turning the final page, was my god, this man is exhausting. And also to be amazed, again, that he’s still alive to co-write his autobiography. Yes, co-write; his assistant in this massive undertaking is James Fox, whom the jacket copy informs me is an old friend of Richards’, author of White Mischief and former journalist for the Sunday Times in London.
What they have produced together is a complex and fascinating portrait of Keith Richards, which reads like you’re sitting at the kitchen table with him while he tells you fabulous tales of sex, drugs (lots and LOTS of drugs) and rock and roll. (He also, unsurprisingly, has a lot of feelings about Mick Jagger.) I could almost see his hands waving and the smoke curling above his head. A good many of the stories cover territory that long-time and/or devoted Rolling Stones fans will already be familiar with; … Continue reading