Friday, July 31, 2015

End of Summer To Do List



Summer.
My favorite season.



So much so that I named a child after it.

And now it's slipping away.
Again.



THINGS TO DO LIST:

  • GO SWIMMING
  • WATCH THE MOON
  • CIRCLE UP AROUND A BONFIRE
  • SPEND TIME WITH MY WIFE
  • WRITE MORE
  • SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY
  • GET OUTSIDE
  • STOP PANICKING
  • LOVE MYSELF



Should be easy, right?!




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How To Be A Man by Duff McKagan: Book Review



Punk Rock Lesson No. 1:  Real Men Read Books.

Punk Rock Lesson No. 2:  Real Men Write Books.

Duff McKagan, the wisest man in Rock N' Roll, has done it again.
The original Guns N' Roses bassist and current real life husband actual Rockstar Dad has written the book that all men must read. That's right...ALL MEN.
And don't give me that crap that guys don't read books.

(See above Lesson No. 1)

Duff McKagan: How To Be A Man (and other illusions)
How to Be A Man (and other illusions) is Duff's second book, a follow-up if you will to the wickedly inspiring It's So Easy (and other lies) that was published in 2012.  As a 1970's punk rock pinball kid from Seattle, McKagan bought himself a $300 Ford Maverick as a teenager, drove himself to Los Angeles and landed straight into the Rock N' Roll history books by co-writing some of Guns N' Roses biggest hits.  Needless to say his twenties were filled with debauchery, drugs, sex, alcohol and drugs.  And alcohol.  And drugs.  Get the picture?!

But now at fifty, Duff has figured out life's most important and vital skill...SURVIVAL.
Fortunately he's generous enough to share his wisdom with us, the readers, in an easy to swallow textbook of advice and guidance.  The common theme here is: LOVE.  McKagan is happily married with two wonderful daughters and he's not afraid to be proud of his family.

Duff on Marriage: "Find a good woman...Be loyal!...Hold her close!...who you have kids with will always be the very most important decision you ever make.  They should really teach that stuff at school."

Duff on Pets: "Get A Dog...it will make you a better man."

Duff on Being THE Man: "Listen...Do the dishes...Set a good example...Educate yourself...Don't be a pussy...and Evolve."

Duff on Sobriety: "Resentment is a brutal thing.  In the first year or two after I got sober, I found myself swimming in a dense, black swamp of resentment and regret."  "But of course, in the end, sobriety and the choices that I make when sober are really and truly mine." "Get Sober."

Sure, we get some dirt mixed in with the advice along the way too.

Duff on Checking into Hotels under Assumed Names: "Slash and I dubbed ourselves the Likesheet brothers.  'Luke Likesheet' and 'Phil Likesheet'...from what I can remember, we had some fun."  Although basic nourishment must not have been a priority...
"Now that I think about it, I don't remember Slash and me eating food in those early days."(!)

Duff on The 100 Albums Every Man Should Own:  "...we could argue about the list and you could turn me on to some of your favorite bands that I've missed.  So feel free to ping me @DuffMcKagan on Twitter and we'll have a go at it."  I would love to debate this list (The Ramones, The Stones, The Stooges, The Temptations, Heart, Bowie, Jack White) but it is SOOO DAMN GOOD that I just can't do it.  Except...No J. Geils Band? Where the HELL is 'Blow Your Face Out'?  Huh, Duff???

Duff also recommends a list of books for all men to read...and only A FEW of them are about Rock N' Roll.  I'll personally add his first book to the list since he's apparently too humble to do it himself!

The absolute brilliance of McKagan's life lessons is summed up in these following words from a chapter about age and The Rolling Stones, "Don't Die Young, You'll Miss Out on Being Fifty":
"I believe we're staying younger longer because of rock and roll.  Fifty is the new thirty-or, twenty-nine, really-because The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Iggy, and Motörhead keep touring."

Duff, like me, holds The Stones in high regard for continuing to perform live in concert.  "We in the audience can see the creases, scars, warts, and all.  They don't give a fuck and they are a quarter century older than I am.  I'd be an asshole at this point to think fifty was anywhere close to old.  The Stones have single-handedly raised the worldwide bar of how we, as men, think about ourselves in terms of age."  HELL YEAH!

Men! Go NOW and get this book.  (Or women: get it FOR THEM)
Stay humble, give thanks, never quit doing what you love and all the while ROCK ON!
Follow his lead, boys, and we can all slide headlong into our graves without regret screaming...
"Wow! What a ride!"

Just like Duff McKagan.
The MAN.

HOW TO BE A MAN (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan is OUT NOW!

Go to a REAL BOOKSTORE and BUY IT!

Or Visit the Da Capo Press website by CLICKING HERE for more info!

Or SIMPLY CLICK HERE to order it from Amazon.

It's so Easy(to be a man).




Friday, April 17, 2015

Black Sabbath Symptom Of The Universe: Book Review




Quick and Bizarre Rock N' Roll Question:
Can ANYONE even fathom Michael Bolton as the lead singer for Black Sabbath?

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe by Mick Wall poses this beauty and lays out years and years of drug and alcohol abuse, band in-fighting, mismanagement and financial ruin for the founding members of the mighty Black Sabbath.

If you enjoy reading a classic tale of Good vs. Evil with a sappy happy ending...
this new book is NOT for you!



Mick Wall, the UK's prolific and successful rock journalist, was actually a publicist for the infamous band in the early 1980's.  At the raw age of 21 after working with bands like Journey, REO Speedwagon and Dire Straits, the PR agent felt like he was more than qualified to take care of Black Sabbath. But in the author's own words: "I was wrong."

The story of Black Sabbath is a long and sordid one from their humble beginnings in a rough Birmingham neighborhood to their years of shameful debauchery in Los Angeles.  None of the four original members, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne, could have possibly even dreamed of the twisted fate that lay waiting for them in the music business.

Universally scorned by the critics, including Rolling Stone magazine who refused to even review most of their albums, the band battled to the top mostly by word of mouth in the early days. In February of 1970 upon the release of their first record straight in the Top 30, Ozzy admits "...and from that moment on, my life totally went off like a rocket!"

Touring, great songs and more touring led to a meteoric rise in fame.  On the first American tour in October 1970, Sabbath was opening for Canned Heat, Alice Cooper and the James Gang.  In these short weeks things really starting cooking for our anti-heroes.  They opened for The Faces and wickedly won the crowd over "...then Rod Stewart came on and they began throwing things at him. It was just incredible."  By November they were heading in Detroit!

Fame brought dissension and alcohol and cocaine.  Still outcasts clouded with darkness and drugs, the band remained a rung below most of their contemporaries. 'Even Led Zeppelin, still being scolded as equally derivative heavy metal dogs of war, were considered cultured and not without charm compared to Black Sabbath.'  According to Ozzy, "...other bands' roadies got better looking groupies than we did."

'The very top of the very bottom, baby.'

Wall chronicles the band throughout its various lineup incarnations, with Ian Gillian and of course Ronnie James Dio, but also follows the parallel tracks of Ozzy's successful solo career including some wonderful Randy Rhodes' stories.  The stories of their management struggles aren't so wonderful.

As typical of the times, Black Sabbath was taken advantage of and completely used by managers, record company executives and lawyers.  'The band spent a fortune in legal fees only to discover that, in effect, they had no real money of their own.  The cars, the houses and even the music were all owned by their management company.  Don Arden and his daughter Sharon were brought in by Tony Iommi to step in and save them.  Decades later, the original band members are still seeking common salvation.

Bill Ward drops his sad summary on the downfall of the band, "I think alcoholism and drug addiction played a great part in the breaking down of the union of Black Sabbath.  I don't think it can be overlooked, that has to be acknowledged."

Black Sabbath remains one of the most influential Rock bands of all time and this biography does the group some mighty justice by heralding both the highs and the unseemly lows of life on the road.

It's a crying shame that the ride couldn't have been a straighter one.

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe by Mick Wall from St. Martin's Press
is out NOW and available EVERYWHERE!

For more information on this kick ass book:

GET UP AND VISIT YOUR LOCAL BOOK STORE!

OR TRY AMAZON ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE

VISIT ST. MARTIN'S PRESS BY CLICKING HERE

OR VISIT THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE






















Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CLOTHES...MUSIC...BOYS by Viv Albertine: Book Review


Viv Albertine is always portrayed as a strong and powerful woman in the history books of Punk Rock music.

As a member of the spectacularly ground-breaking and explosive girl group The Slits, Albertine blazed a trail for the multitude of guitarists who desperately needed female role models to find their own voice in the music business.  The Slits bashed their way on to the scene right alongside the Sex Pistols and The Clash during the late seventies and left an indelible impression during their short-lived career.

Now with the release of her captivating new autobiography, Viv Albertine thrusts herself back onto the scene with a strong and powerful story of perseverance.

CLOTHES, CLOTHES, CLOTHES.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC.
BOYS, BOYS, BOYS.
released by Thomas Dunne Books, is simply a must-read memoir for ALL Rock music fans.
With the very first sentence, Albertine lures in the reader with an honest and humorous declaration of her intentions:
  -"Anyone who writes an autobiography is either a twat or broke. I'm a bit of both."
Or a bit of a genius...

Cleverly presented and formatted like a vinyl LP, the book reads almost as two separate stories.
"Side One" chronicles Albertine's rise and fall from the bright hot spotlight of fame. Growing up in a broken home in North London allows our heroine the opportunity to not only witness musical history in the making but to inject herself straight into it.  Before she even turned sixteen, Viv witnessed The Rolling Stones play Hyde Park, followed Marc Bolan and T. Rex around London, and had been stepped on by David Bowie!
  -"He's not as dainty as he looks."

But its after watching Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols live in concert that Albertine sees her destiny.
  -"All the things I'm so embarrassed about, John's made into virtues...I think he's brave. A revolutionary. He's sending a very powerful message, the most powerful message anyone can ever transmit. Be yourself."

And with this new found sense of purpose and encouragement from her boyfriend Mick Jones (of The Clash), she's off to buy her first electric guitar. Albertine explains the revelation felt on the bus ride home from the music store, "Nobody knows I can't play it. At this moment in time, I look like a guitarist...For the first time in my life, I feel like myself."

Albertine informs her Mum that she's dropping out of college to play in a band, and the rest is history! Well, it should be noted that like in all great Rock N' Roll stories, Sex and Drugs tend to get in the way of success...and the story of The Slits is no exception.  Toss in friendships with Sid Vicious ("...I think one of the most shocking things he's ever done is get involved with Nancy Spungen."), Chrissie Hynde ("...no one wants to be in a band with her, she's too good.") and Johnny Thunders ("It feels like we're meant to be together. If he wasn't a junkie...") and this book ROCKS!

"Side Two" of the book details Albertine's life after The Slits.  It is here that we learn to empathize with the everyday struggles of her life and admire the stamina of this woman's battles with cervical cancer and a failed marriage.  After years of being completely out of the public eye, with her confidence rattled and self-doubt sabotaging a potential return to the stage, Albertine is saved by the unconditional love of her daughter.
  -" 'Mummy, you were born to play guitar.' That phrase, and the way she says it, sustains me for years."



CLOTHES...MUSIC...BOYS by VIV ALBERTINE!

Viv Albertine.
A strong and powerful woman, indeed!

Friday, November 21, 2014

My DAD RULES


I'm feeling nostalgic today.
Dad blogging...

Bringing me back to thoughts of a simple sheet of paper that
used to hang on our refrigerator door.

I made it myself...
I deemed it "refrigerator-door-worthy" myself...
I used to stare at it and wonder if anyone else did...

I still have it somewhere, the original DAD RULES.
I do believe its time to dig it back out and start living it again.

My Dad rules.

I rule.

These are MY RULES:


Dad's Rules


Right?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: The J. Geils Band Last Friday Night


Last Friday Night...

Waiting for hours on a freezing cold Detroit City sidewalk...

Not for tickets, like in the past, but for an enviable spot...

At a General Admission J. Geils Band concert with my son...

Showing him the ropes for my job as RockStar Dad is almost done...

Complete with crazed diehards like myself swapping tales of old...

How this band once ruled our town with a vengeance like no other...

Detroit Breakdown Motor City Shakedown, amen my brother.


Wedged up front and dead center we warm and we Wait...

For Peter, Seth, Magic Dick, and DK but its not quite the same...

Somethings been whacked firmly and permanently from place...

A faceless drummer, two guitarists and a teleprompter on the stage...

The songs are still great but the Teeth of Time they don't care...

I know too much and over-analyze this Come Back Houseparty again.


I checked the marquee and it read the J. Geils Band not the D. Levine...

And for the first time I'm old and I'm sad and sure of two things...

Love Stinks for real and I miss seeing J. Geils the man.


The J. Geils Band Detroit 2014






Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Seventeen Years Ago



Seventeen Years Ago...

Again with the Rock N' Roll road trips Going Back To Cali...

Golf and Best Friends and Cigars and The Stones...

In a really good place a downright fine and great place...

Flying first class with a bottomless gin and tonic glass..

Getting lost in an Oakland neighborhood not unlike Detroit...

Checking into our room to head straight for bar's last call...

Wondering why I had seen this video before.


Pacing myself drinking Diet Coke for a spell...

Some weird misunderstanding leaves my smoke crushed by a boot...

Worn by a Vietnam Vet with a chip and an attitude...

Sorted out in time for Pearl Jam to rock out...

Another famous opening act left to play second fiddle...

The Rolling Stones cross their Bridge arriving five feet from my seat.


Even with a parking lot Thief In The Night robbing us blind...

I continually and continuously live a charmed life...

For in the midst of it all, I high-five Mick Jagger.







Friday, October 31, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Twenty Years Ago



Twenty Years Ago...

I arrived home from the airport exhausted just in time...

To hurriedly paint a Stones' tongue on my pumpkin and wait...

For tiny Trick or Treaters to beg while my mind was still gone...

Left back in California riding The Voodoo Lounge Tour bus...

Nearing the end of an old life unsure of starting a new life...

Yet inspired once again filled with Sympathy For The Devil...

And love for a Best Friend who never ever failed me.


Caring not for the next day the next week the next year...

Drinking too well and too much like I was long prone to do...

Holding strange hands and smiling and laughing with the skies...

Out of town in my element out of mind in my haze...

These guys are true heroes and wicked role models...

When all else crumbles the music's Love Is Strong and unfazed.


Jumping over the wall turning good tickets into great ones...

I'm on top of the world roaming floor seats like I own them...

It was Halloweek with The Stones at the Oakland Coliseum.











Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Twenty Five Years Ago Night Two


Twenty Five Years Ago...

Tickets deftly obtained by reentering the line after #1 SOLD OUT...

Back for Round Two with my best Los Angeles mate...

An indisputably pissed off Living Colour opens with a rant...

And tensions are high with bigotry and hate...

For Axl the Offender is no where to be found...

Only Izzy and Duff and Steven and Slash swagger out...

For an epic apology by the top hat on the perils of smack.


After the heroin ramblings I'm not sure it was Pro or it was Con...

But the message was delivered and the G n' R Show was on...

With a true Appetite For Destruction these guys lay to waste...

A hometown crowd whacked straight across the face...

Yet the monstrous stage remained solidly in place almost panting...

To welcome The Rolling Stones and their powerful musical embrace.


Had Keith Richards himself convinced the new kids to stick it out...

In Slash's own words...

"Nobody ever told us shit."