Book Review

SINATRA: THE CHAIRMAN By James Kaplan. Hardcover. Doubleday. 992 pages. Review by Francis DiMenno. For the first time in over a year I have foregone sleep to finish reading a book – namely, Kaplan’s brand new three-pound Sinatra biography, spanning the years 1954 to 1998. (The compelling first half, covering the years up to 1954, is called Frank: The Voice, and came out in 2010.) Here is where most amateur reviewers might insert some anecdote of how deeply touched they were … Read More >>

Book Review

You’re Crazy: First-Hand Accounts of Mental Health Struggle, Addiction, and Trauma from the Punk Scene. Volume I. Better Days Recovery Press, [n.l.], Revised edition 2014. Paper, 158 pp. Edited by Craig Lewis. Review by Francis DiMenno What I was dreading – and what might (but shouldn’t) deter you from reading this insightful book – was the thought that it might consist of twenty-five recovery narratives: hard-luck stories in which the principles of A.A. and the wonders of therapeutic intervention are … Read More >>

Book Review

ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN: A Personal History on the Road and Off the Tracks By Victor Maymudes. Co-written and edited by Jacob Maymudes. St. Martin’s Press. Hardcover. 288 pages. Reviewed by Francis DiMenno Long time Dylan crony Victor Maymudes meant to write a memoir of his friendship with Bob Dylan—as well as his time as tour manager for Dylan and his entourage, during both the mid-’60s and the late ’80s and early ’90s. Instead, prior to his untimely death in … Read More >>

Book Review

COWBOYS & INDIES: The Epic History of the Record Industry  By Gareth Murphy.  Hardcover.  St. Martin’s Press. 364 pages. Review by Francis DiMenno The first thing which ought to be said about this impressionistic slab of reportage is that it is neither epic, nor really a history per se. It is more like a series of sharply written and carefully shaped anecdotes in which selected highlights of music biz careers are chronicled and then hung out to dry, as it were. … Read More >>

Book Review

GOD SAVE THE KINKS A BIOGRAPHY by Rob Jovanovic Aurum Press 2013, paperback, 330 pages. A Review by Francis DiMenno Rob Jovanovic has written other well-regarded books about musicians, notably Pavement, Nirvana, Big Star, and REM. Here, however, he is taking on territory which quite a few people have a fanatical interest in. After all, just about anyone can be a diehard fan of The Beatles or The Stones. However, it takes a special type of personality to be mesmerized … Read More >>

Book Review

NEXT BIG THING.  A novel by Terry Kitchen.  Urban Campfire Press. 256 pages. Paperback. Review by Francis DiMenno … I am tempted to make a travesty of this book by pointing out how very much it resembles an identikit of a standard “conflicted rock star” story. It occurs to me, however, that simply making a dignified list of what I do not like about the book could very well serve the same purpose in a somewhat more professional fashion. … … Read More >>

Book Reviews

BOOK  REVIEWS PSYCHO CHICKEN &  OTHER FOOLISH TALES  Sons of Liberty Publishing    284 Pages by Mike Girard Review by A.J. Wachtel This book is enjoyable on many different levels. It is required reading for Fools fans, local music scene history buffs, and anyone interested in a very well written compilation of confessions about on- the-road camaraderie—specifically, a closeness between New England boys traveling all over the world and experiencing the strange social customs of  that era. In his acknowledgements, Girard warns: “The following story is mostly … Read More >>