Monday, January 2, 2012

Six String Biographies

For fans of music biography- six new memoirs from famous guitarists (including a bassist), covering the worlds of rock, folk, country and disco music!

Le Freak: an upside down story of family, disco and destiny (M)
by Nile Rodgers

"Most people may know Rodgers as the leader of the band Chic, whose songs "Le Freak" and "Good Times" raced to the top of the charts in the late 1970s. But there's so much more to the artist behind those songs. Raised in a mixed-race and counterculture family, Rodgers was almost destined to become a musician. His story culminates in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he produced hits with such superstars as David Bowie and Madonna. His writing style is reminiscent of his music; full of life and energy and a whole lot of fun. Verdict Rodgers's story is thick with typical rock star excess, but it shouldn't be dismissed as such. His firsthand knowledge of the late disco and early 1980s pop-music scene makes his memoir an original and telling read." - Library Journal

Diary of a Player: how my musical heroes made a guitar man out of me (M)
by Brad Paisley

"Country music superstar guitarist and singer-songwriter Paisley has collaborated with [David] Wild on this somewhat unusual memoir. Paisley's focus is not so much on autobiographical detail as on the role that music-and specifically the guitar and guitarists-have had on his life. From his guitarist grandfather to established West Virginia artists who supported him musically during his prodigious teen years to his contemporaries, Paisley describes the connections that music and the guitar have helped him make to older generations, his heroes, and his friends." -Library Journal

Iron Man: my journey through heaven and hell with Black Sabbath (M)
by Tony Iommi

"This memoir, dead certain to appeal to heavy-metal fans of all ages, tracks Iommi's life and the history of Black Sabbath. Predictably, given its subject, it's full of drugs, booze, and controversy, but Iommi makes no apologies for that. It's his life, the way he lived it. With plenty of behind-the-scenes stories and fresh perspectives on some of music's most notorious characters (including, again, Ozzy), this is a frank and honest look at a special part of rock history." - Booklist

It's So Easy: and other lies (M)
by Duff McKagan

"McKagan was a founding member of the bands Guns N' Roses (GNR) and Velvet Revolver, and he has penned what seems on the surface a standard tale of rags to rock'n'roll riches to rehab; however, McKagan's smarts (he writes a column for Seattle Weekly and, his insider's look at the punk scenes in both his native Seattle and Los Angeles, and his honest self-analysis propel his book above the standard crop of celebrity memoirs. Fans will love the descriptions of the struggles and early triumphs of GNR, but McKagan's descriptions of his equally driven efforts at self-transformation are just as compelling (particularly his meditation on the redemptive power of reading and the satisfaction he receives in his intellectual as well as physical revitalization). Verdict Rock fans-and would-be rockers-will find much to savor here. McKagan has packed a lot into his life and a lot of his life into this book. Readers will enjoy the ride." - Library Journal

Chinaberry Sidewalks : a memoir (M)
by Rodney Crowell

"Crowell is among the best storytellers to emerge from Nashville. Up to now, he told his stories in song, but with this heartfelt memoir, he can now be called a writer of the first order. Houston, where Crowell grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s, was a city full of characters found in stereotypical country songs: hard-drinking fathers and long-suffering mothers singing along to the beer-soaked ballads of Hank Williams. But this is not fiction; Crowell actually lived the life, soaking up its exhilarating and disturbing atmosphere. Crowell is unsparingly honest, yet there is an admirable restraint here, too. He clearly loves his family, accepting their bountiful deficiencies even when he criticizes them or wishes them harm. He can now see the kind of lives his parents wanted to live, and how they fell woefully short. He calls his father an enigma and savant; he admires his mother, who suffered from double dyslexia and epilepsy, for her towering instinct for survival. But he also discusses lighter topics, such as his early days in a rock 'n' roll band, making for an exceptional memoir. *Starred Review* " - Booklist

No Regrets: a rock "n" Roll memoir (M)
by Ace Frehley

"Bronx, NY, native Frehley wanted to play guitar for a living, and he got his wish in 1972 when, responding to a Village Voice ad, he met Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley. After a slow start, their band, Kiss, exploded and became a brand that appealed to millions of kids and adults. However, Frehley found rock 'n' roll stardom inseparable from sex, drugs, brushes with the law, and near-death experiences. Unhappy with the band's direction and concerned for his well-being, he quit Kiss in the early 1980s. The following years brought him more close calls, a solo career, and a Kiss reunion (and another breakup). Now five years sober, he continues to record and perform for his loyal fans. VERDICT Frehley's memoir is a blast- candid, conversational, and funny. He seems to enjoy recollecting his alcohol- and drug-fueled shenanigans and is never preachy but makes it clear he knows how lucky he is. Required reading for all past and present Kiss Army members, as well as fans of rock/pop-culture memoirs." - Library Journal

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