Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar

This autobiography is an easy read, written very clearly in a rock and roll, no-nonsense voice. Hagar takes you on his Journey from his boyhood, early bands, Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot and of course, his large body of work as a solo artist.

In addition to music, you learn of his business ventures, most notably his incredible success in the Tequila business and how he changed the landscape of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I really enjoyed this book a lot, but I have to say, I've always been a big Sammy Hagar fan. I know most of his music, liked him way better that David Lee Roth as the lead singer of Van Halen and in general, think his work ethic was always pretty admirable.

If you are into rock music and have been a fan, even a little, of Hagar, you will enjoy the book. I read half the book on a flight from Boston to Chicago and the other half on the way back - it fly's by (pun intended, roll with it). There's a love story, maybe even two, rock and roll lifestyles, love gone bad, mental illness, business and finance, record industry tell all and music all wrapped up in a concise yet complete story of what I always considered an underrated and undervalued journeyman in the industry.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bruce - Peter Ames Carlin

I am a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen so it was with great anticipation that I delved into this biography. This is not a quick nor an easy read and to those who aren't big fans of his, it may not even be considered a good read. For the most part, I really liked the book. The start was a bit confusing as it dug really deep into some of Bruce's family life that seemed at the time to be a mistake on the part of the editor. By the end of the book, I'm still not 100% convinced that it couldn't have been edited a bit tighter but it did add to the storyline that is the complexity of who Bruce Springsteen is.

I think my deepest criticism of this book is that it tried to be two separate things, a biography of Bruce Springsteen and an accounting of his music career. I know that it might seem okay since this is a biography of a musician but really, they are two very separate stories and really should have taken place in two volumes.

As a big fan, it was hard to read about the guy (Bruce) who really wasn't all that good to his love interests, who was often a bit difficult to his friends, and seemed on occasion to be a real pain in the ass. However, somewhere along the way, the obvious hit me. Bruce Springsteen, like all superstars that we idolize and look up to, is a human being. Another sparkling revelation, I know.

Another criticism of this book - The author really got exhaustive about the details of the music and the process behind it. To a point, it was necessary in many cases to further the biography but there came a point where pretty late in the book he wasn't far enough into the career and it seemed the later part of the career didn't get the due amount of space; and I don't just mean physical space but where the book seems to drag through the first 25-30 years of his career, the last 10-15 seem to just be thrown in there in some abridged form.

I think the book has a lot of really interesting information and as a fan, I'm happy to have read it. There are certainly enough Bruce and music fans that will likely make this book a success but I can't help wishing it were done differently.

by Chris Daniele