The Last Page: Rock Reads From Jane's Addiction- Louis Armstrong- Clapton, Beck, Page- Progressive Heavy Metal and more

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Kevin Wierzbicki takes a look at another batch of rock books released in 2010 which are worth your attention.

Jane's Addiction: In the Studio
Jake Brown, Rock'n'Roll Books

Brown is a longtime Jane's Addiction super fan who has cobbled together a pretty good history of the band based on personal interviews with behind-the-scenes folks like producers Dave Jerden and Bob Ezrin and snippets of interviews that band members gave over the years to major publications like Details and Rolling Stone. The story begins when the band was still called Psi Com and surprisingly comes through right to the present day, complete with a few details of the sessions for the possible release of a new Jane's studio album in 2011. Also includes chapters about Porno for Pyros and Perry Farrell's live-event brainchild, Lollapalooza.

Pops-A Life of Louis Armstrong
Terry Teachout, Mariner Books

If you consider that the late, great musician Louis Armstrong long ago published his autobiography and wrote additional memoirs you may question the need for another biography at this point. The reasons actually are many, including the fact that lives and careers take on different perspectives as time passes, and Teachout is very aware of this fact as he very thoroughly documents how attitudes about Satchmo have and haven't changed over the years and how it all indisputably leads today to the fact that he was one of the greatest artists to ever grace the stage. At several hundred pages Teachout allows himself the space to really go into detail and one of the most endearing aspects of the book is how Armstrong's sense of humor is revealed and how other humorous situations occur because Armstrong was usually willing to please, oft-times at the expense of contractual or other obligations. Much of this compelling story is based on a trove of taped conversations that had until now gone untapped. Fans of Armstrong will love this book and those who only know him as the singer of "Hello Dolly" will be pleasantly entertained as Teachout reveals the rest of the story.

Guitar Player Presents: Clapton, Beck, Page
Edited by Mike Molenda, Backbeat Books

Culled from the pages of Guitar Player magazine, this book presents nine vintage interview articles each with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck but only a scant 20 pages total with Jimmy Page. Fans of these guitar gods or any of their various groups will likely enjoy this book but since the material comes from Guitar Player the interviews focus on guitar playing---there aren't any wild tales of rock'n'roll debauchery here. A favorite technique of each player is explained in a special "lessons" section at the end of the book.

Making a Living in Your Local Music Market, Fourth Edition
Dick Weissman, Hal Leonard Publishing

If you want to compose feature film scores but you live in the rural heartland you might want to consider moving to Los Angeles. But can you actually make a living scoring movies if you stay in Kansas? Weissman provides the reader with all the info that should be considered in order to make that determination in this handbook geared towards helping musicians of all sorts realize their marketing potential. Weissman is a working musician and has written almost twenty books about the music business so he knows his stuff; all the "basics" are thoroughly covered here along with unexpected topics like applying for grants and even becoming a music writer. Also included is a list of recommended additional reading and a list of websites significant to the musician.

Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal
Jeff Wagner, Bazillion Points

This is the story of how prog rock met heavy metal, did the dirty and ended up with more kids than you can shake a Keytar at. Wagner traces the evolution of progressive heavy metal from bands like Rush and Black Sabbath to Queensryche and Fates Warning to Voivod and Celtic Frost and on through to the extensive Scandinavian scene of today. Sprinkled between chapters you'll find lots of short pieces like a list of significant releases from 1993 (remember the Sublime Dementia album from Loudblast?) and a roster of the twenty most influential Norwegian bands. Besides being loaded with info on bands you know, Mean Deviation chronicles all the off-shoots you'll want to get to know and pretties it all up with illustrations throughout and sixteen pages of color photographs.