Thursday, August 1, 2013

Book Review: FROM BLACK TO LIGHT by Detroit DJ Steve Black

Steve Black has an incredible Rock N' Roll pedigree for a humble radio Disc Jockey.

The Flint MI-born native has traveled the world, partied with Slash, sung on stage with Steve Vai, and been on Zakk Wylde's tour bus.  When you've worked on the air next to Ted Nugent and interviewed about a thousand other musicians, you've undoubtedly accumulated plenty of stories. Toss in a personal life mixed with tragedy and you've got the makings of a great book...

FROM BLACK TO LIGHT, Steve Black's stellar new autobiography, is a Detroit DJ's tale of Life, LOVE and the Pursuit of Rock N' Roll.  Normally a rather private person, Black has made the bold decision to open up his life on these pages and the reader will be extremely grateful that he did so.

From the streets of Flint to the youth hostels of Europe, Black's experiences growing up shaped his life and sent him straight down the Rock N' Roll path.  Since we're about the same age, I can totally relate to Steve's early memories of The Archies and The Monkees, Eight-Track Tapes, and spending hours in front of the radio listening to the banter of local DJ's.  (As a kid, I couldn't wait for the 2:00PM change over from Ken Calvert to Arthur Penhallow on the WRIF just to hear what the two of them would have to say to each other!)

After graduating from high school, Black took off on his own and backpacked his way through Europe working odd jobs and meeting some great people along the way.  The beginning of the book is filled wonderful tales like Black "breaking-into" the Russian embassy, making up a new sunglasses-wearing "holiday" for his foreign co-workers, and falling so deeply in LOVE that he almost never returned to the States.

In a true sign of serendipity, attending the Monsters of Rock festival in 1987 led to a chance meeting with Kirk Hammett from Metallica on the streets in Nuremberg Germany. Says Black, "without that trip I would have never gotten into radio."  All of Black's radio career is detailed in the book, including his amazing and frantic stint as Ted Nugent's morning show sidekick up to his current stint at WRIF in Detroit.  His entrepreneurial skills along the way allowed him to successfully create a winning string of nationally syndicated programs, including The Chop Shop weekly guitar show.

In the book's forward, Guitar-god Steve Vai describes Black perfectly:  "Steve has always fought tirelessly for the listeners.  True to form of the original model of a DJ who possesses a magnetism, a deep understanding of the music and excellent taste, Steve has delivered wonderful programming to the audiences that truly enjoy rock music."

The underlying, or perhaps "overlying", theme of the book is actually...LOVE.

The book chronicles in detail Steve's relationship with his late-wife Sabrina, who succumbed to Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2006.  Sabrina Black was a dynamite Detroit radio-personality who shared Steve's love of sports and music.  I actually got goosebumps reading of Sabrina's diagnosis in a San Francisco medical office just two days prior to their wedding in Hawaii.  Black has included actual passages from Sabrina's journals, and for anyone who has ever heard her voice they are a haunting reminder of her greatness.

After Sabrina's death, Black poured his energies into his work and emerged triumphantly onto the bright side of life again because of...LOVE.  He's currently remarried and a step-father to two great kids.  When I asked Steve what his wife, Gina, thought of the book he responded "she came up crying after reading it and told me not to change a single word."  As they say, LOVE conquers all!

Steve Black has led quite the RockStar life yet stayed clean, focused and sober throughout the journey.
The fact that he's only had FOUR beers in his entire life just may have something to do with his success.
FROM BLACK TO LIGHT is truly an inspirational tale of SEX, DRUGS, and ROCK N' ROLL...
minus the DRUGS!

It's available on August 1st, 2013

For more information on this fantastic book:
Check out Steve's Facebook Page by CLICKING HERE
Or Visit the Chop Shop Radio Webpage by CLICKING HERE

Listen for Steve Black on WRIF in Detroit or
Listen for The Chop Shop or The Chop Shop Classic on your local radio stations

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