By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Charlie Christian, The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Columbia Legacy). I figured out why they didn‘t include any of Christian’s burning, shredding 1941 Minton‘s Playhouse live bootlegs in this cutely packaged four-CD set documenting his work with Benny Goodman’s tight & tidy sextets and orchestras: If they had, you‘d never listen to the rest.
Christina Aguilera, Stripped (RCA). Like every other old man, I thought Aguilera was just kiddie porn with pipes. Now she’s hired serious songwriters to help her dig into serious shit, and she sounds like she means it. Stealing from Aretha and the Beatles may not please the mall rats, but if Winona could thieve half this well she‘d be a CEO instead of a convict.
Stuff by a Guy With My Name
Greg Burk Trio, Checking In (Soul Note). This alien Burk is a pianist with a gift for melody and a generous touch that makes you want to like him, unlike certain journalists one could name.
Books by My Friends
Beer Goggles and Amplifiers by Jeff Muendel. I read this chapbook novella by Hammond-humper Muendel straight through. This must mean either that his semifactual minor-league rock narratives possess some strange fascination, or that I’m as twisted as he is. (Available at Amazon.com.)
Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs by Brendan Mullen with Don Bolles and Adam Parfrey (Feral House). Not only did this book have enough sleaze, scope and authenticity to keep my nose in it, but I‘ve heard nothing except praise for the damn thing from everyone aside from co-author and former Germ Don Bolles, and even he admitted that “Brendan didn’t fuck it up too badly.”
S.T.P.: A Journey Through America With the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield (Da Capo). Speaking of sleaze, you‘ll need a hot shower after you finish this travelogue on the Stones’ 1972 tour, published in a small run not long after the fact and out of print till now. Right in the thick, Greenfield struck the perfect tone of mild disdain without missing a drop of rockness.
Jimi Hendrix and the Making of Are You Experienced by Sean Egan (A Cappella). My favorite story: Hendrix is carrying on with Keith Richards‘ New York girlfriend, and needs a guitar. The woman lends him Keith’s, and Hendrix smashes it onstage.
Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow (Three Rivers). Here‘s another: Ozzy has been replaced in Black Sabbath by Ronnie James Dio. “When Osbourne became a successful solo artist, every night he had a dwarf come onstage to serve him drinks. He’d tell the audience to ‘Say hello to Ronnie.’”
So What: The Life of Miles Davis by John Szwed (Simon & Schuster). The broad hint dropped by his Sun Ra book is now confirmed: Szwed is the best music biographer in the business, and this is by far the best Miles bio, including Davis‘ own. You’ll learn once again that artistic geniuses are sick fucks, but more important, you‘ll learn a hell of a lot about music.