Sunday, July 29, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "My Life With Deth" - David Ellefson

BOOK REVIEW
My Life With Deth
- David Ellefson -
(Howard Books / 2013 / 257 Pages)
__________

How on earth it took five years
for this one to pop up on my
radar is a mystery to me. But
be sure, it's never too late to
discover an amazing story.
__________

With his 2013 memoir, My Life With Dethco-founding Megadeth bassist, David Ellefson delivers a beautifully written, deeply personal story of fame and fortune, faith and family.

Brimming with irresistible Joe's Garage-style charm (He used to cut the grass, he was a very nice boy), the Grammy-winning music industry guru offers a heartfelt glimpse into his upbringing on his family's Minnesota farm. A naive church boy coming of age during the 1970s, Ellefson recounts his earliest rock and roll discovery   Bachman-Turner Overdrive's classic, Not Fragile — on 8-track. Of his first KISS concert experience in 1977, he recalls the overwhelming enormity of the spectacle and how, "there was pot smoke everywhere."

Eager to shed his rep as a "dork from the farm," Ellefson soon is seduced by friends into a life of teenage partying — hanging out playing video games at the local bowling alley and navigating through a menagerie of early cover bands — a time when he admits to first developing a "bias against religion."


Revealing a treasure trove of unique and riveting insights regarding his life as a heavy metal superstar, Ellefson succeeds in taking the high road throughout, as he dissects in great detail Megadeth's legendary history — including his decades long creative partnership with the band's iconic co-founding guitarist, Dave Mustaine. Oozing humility, Ellefson is equally transparent in dishing about his own personal demons and struggles, such as his uncontrolled addictions and financial snafus. He further shares his personal triumphs — from his ultimate sobriety to his spiritual awakening.

Packing more punch than the typical chest-thumping rock star tell-all, Ellefson's story is refreshingly real. A gripping tale of inspiration, encouragement and hope, My Life With Deth is a contagious read  — one that delivers an incredible payoff.

-Christopher Long
(July 2018)
__________

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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)


- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "Never Look at the Empty Seats" - Charlie Daniels

BOOK REVIEW
Never Look at the
Empty Seats: A Memoir
- Charlie Daniels -
Thomas Nelson / 2017 / 288 Pages
__________

A gifted musician and celebrated
songwriter, Charlie Daniels is
an American treasure. But above
all, he's a master storyteller. And
his recently released memoir is a
surefire treat for those who, like
me, crave a great story.
__________

Ah, yes  the summer of 1973. I was just ten years old when "Uneasy Rider," the breakout single from Charlie Daniels, was racing towards the Top 10 on Casey's weekly countdown. 45 years later, I continue to take issue with how the (now) legendary track is dismissed occasionally as a mere "novelty" record. "Uneasy Rider" wasn't "The Purple People Eater" or "Ahab the Arab." It was a captivating musical story of an unlucky, yet resourceful guy who just happened to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time — kind of a redneck-looking joint called the Dew Drop Inn. The compelling lyrics captured my young imagination completely, and the record ultimately would inspire the story-based hard rock songs I would write later in life. Even as his career was propelled into the stratosphere with an impressive string of chart-busting classics during the late '70s and early '80s, the true magic of Daniels' guitar and fiddle-driven all-American music was, for me, all about his impeccable storytelling. As a result, upon discovering Daniels' recently released memoir, Never Look at the Empty Seats, I was sold in short order. 

Told in his uniquely engaging, downhome, conversational style, Daniels reveals an array of insights into his personal and professional life openly and (seemingly) honestly. From his humble beginnings as a kid growing up in various southern U.S. locales during the Great Depression and World War II eras of the late '30s and early '40s to his days as an energized young musician coming up on the nightclub scene during the fabulous '50s and crazed '60s, Never Look at the Empty Seats serves as much as a concise crash course in American history as a personal memoir.

Early on, the (now) 81-year-old entertainment industry vet confesses how the driving force behind writing his book was to offer guidance and inspiration to aspiring artists. In that regard, the key professional takeaway might be the old adage, "It's not what you know, but who you know," as Daniels recounts his six decades worth of first-hand experiences working with such music icons as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, The Marshall Tucker BandLynyrd Skynyrd and many others. In fact, Daniels' rapid-fire roll call of performers, producers and promoters with whom he has worked can often be a bit overwhelming.

About two-thirds into his story, Daniels dedicates a full chapter (or more) to addressing his personal faith. While he claims not to be an expert in theology, I would disagree strongly with his transparent assessment. As someone who does have a degree in Bible studies, I found his non-denominational breakdown of Christianity to be crystal clear and absolutely spot-on accurate. In fact, Daniels' narrative burns brightest when sharing his personal faith perspectives. C'mon and preach it, Pastor Charlie!

From celebrating his incredible personal and professional highs (a 50+ year marriage, sold-out concert tours and platinum-selling records) to revealing heartbreaking lows (Daniels nearly lost his arm in 1980 during a heavy equipment accident and at one time was two million dollars in debt), Never Look at the Empty Seats delivers readers a riveting payoff. In sum, Daniels has offered up a bona fide page-turner — a fabulous summertime read, to be sure.


-Christopher Long
(July 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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(Coming April 7, 2019)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

GRETA VAN FLEET: Modern-Day Rock Messiahs Drop Explosive New Track, "When the Curtain Falls"

GRETA VAN FLEET
Modern-Day Rock Messiahs
Drop Explosive New Track,
"When the Curtain Falls"
__________

Contrary to what some
purists may choose to
believe, apparently, rock
and roll ain't dead after
all — not by a long shot.
__________

When Michigan-bred brigade, Greta Van Fleet, first thwacked the international music scene with the blistering 2017 debut EP, Black Smoke Rising, the band re-ignited and re-inspired a pure rock passion in fans of all ages around the world — and in very short order.

In a vein similar to such other current rock revivalists as The StrutsPalaye RoyaleJule Vera and  YYNOT, Greta Van Fleet hemorrhages irresistible songs — gloriously organic, well-crafted rock songs. Proving that the band's breakout release and subsequent expanded double EP were no fluke, the acclaimed four-piece combo has returned in 2018 with "When the Curtain Falls" — a crunchy and concise taste of what's to come when the group's debut full-length record arrives via Lava / Republic Records later in the year.

Greta Van Fleet - "When the Curtain Falls"
Check it out NOW on YouTube!

Finding 22-year-old frontman, Josh Kiszka, to be in fine Plant-like vocal form, "When the Curtain Falls" also oozes the alluring classic rock guitar work of 22-year-old, Jake Kiszka. Reinforced by the moist and throaty rhythm section of 19-year-old bassist, Sam Kiszka, and 19-year-old drummer, Danny Wagner, the track already is fanning the flames of Greta Van Fleet's budding international notoriety.

But is it going overboard to proclaim Greta Van Fleet as modern-day rock messiahs? Well, in a recent Rolling Stone feature, the iconic arts and culture publication commented, “Greta Van Fleet is making rock and roll cool again for a younger demographic.” Hmm. Told ya so.

Greta Van Fleet - live onstage 2018
Upcoming Greta Van Fleet 2018 Summer Concert Dates:

JULY
18  Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
20  9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
21  The Anthem, Washington, D.C.
23  House of Blues Boston, Boston, MA
24  House of Blues Boston, Boston, MA
27  Floydfest, Floyd, VA
29  Panorama Music and Arts Festival, Randall’s Island Park, New York, NY
31  The Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH

AUGUST
1   The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
3   Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL 
4   Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL*  (Lollapalooza aftershow)
18  Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka-Shi, Japan
19  Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo, Japan
23  Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI 
24  The Republik, Honolulu, HI

-Christopher Long
(July 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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(Coming April 7, 2019)

Friday, July 13, 2018

RECORD REVIEW: Ken Sharp "I Wanna Be David Cassidy" (Jetfighter Records)

RECORD REVIEW
Ken Sharp 
"I Wanna Be David Cassidy"
(Jetfighter Records)
__________

While visiting South Florida
recently, I finally got my
hands on a limited edition 7"
vinyl copy of Ken Sharp's
infectious musical tribute
to the late David Cassidy. I
"got happy" in short order.
__________

It was a lifetime ago — 1971. Richard Nixon was revving up for "Four More Years," Laugh-In was one of the top-rated American TV shows and kids from coast-to-coast were being introduced to a couple of tasty, not-so-terrifying characters known as Count Chocula and Franken Berry. 1971 also was a magical time for pop music, as The Osmonds, Bobby Sherman and The Jackson 5 dominated Casey's weekly countdown. And television / music superstar, David Cassidy, was hot as a pistol.

For pre-pube purists like me and millions of other salivating die-hards during that glorious shag-covered era, David Cassidy was our "Elvis." The irresistible pop / rock music he produced and the feather-coiffed, boy-next-door image he projected fueled a lifelong fire that would lead us in our teens to discovering and worshiping such guitar-driven idols as The RaspberriesThe Bay City Rollers, Rick Springfield and Cheap Trick.


When the Partridge Family icon passed away last fall, the shocking news hit me like a mule kick to the rib cage — as if a chunk of my cherished childhood had gone with him. Fortunately, fellow aficionado, best-selling author and acclaimed singer / songwriter, Ken Sharp, was quick to offer the grieving masses an infectious feel-good tribute to the true "King of Pop" in his timely single, "I Wanna Be David Cassidy."

Written and performed primarily by Ken Sharp and overseen by famed musician and co-producer, Fernando Perdomo, the single captures Sharp's passion perfectly, from the personal lyrics, right down to the authentic-sounding harpsichord backing track and the realistic classic, black and silver Bell Records-inspired label on the 7" vinyl edition. A highlight track from Sharp's 2016 full-length record, New Mourning, the single's B-Side, "Let's Be Friends" is equally a pop treasure.

Recorded at Reseda Ranch Studios in Reseda, California and at The Manor in Toluca Lake, California, the single currently is available digitally on iTunes and BandCamp, as well as on 7" vinyl via Jetfighter Records.

-Christopher Long
(July 2018)

__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)


- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)