Win God Save the Kinks: A Biography by Rob Jovanovich

God Save the Kinks: A Biography by Rob Jovanovich
God Save the Kinks: A Biography by Rob Jovanovich

Win a copy of God Save the Kinks

In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. It was to be their salvation. After a little noticed debut and a follow-up that had failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group’s contract, but then ‘You Really Got Me’, with its unmistakable distorted guitar riff, went on to reach No. 1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the breakthrough of one of Britain’s most innovative and influential bands, and a turning point in the fortunes of two brothers whose troubled story is as tumultuous and characterful as the songs they produced: Ray Davies & Dave Davies.

In this definitive chronicle of The Kinks’ career, music biographer Rob Jovanovic has drawn on new interviews with former band members and collaborators, including drummer Mick Avory, producer Shel Talmy, bassist John Dalton and keyboardist John Gosling, to explore a remarkable, yet often neglected, chapter of Britain’s rock and roll heritage.

God Save The Kinks: A Biography is a tale of sibling rivalry, walkouts, a career-throttling ban from America, and the band’s curious rebirth as Eighties stadium rockers, God Save The Kinks lays bare one of the greatest acts in British pop history.

Buzzin Music has 2 copies of  the new book, God Save the Kinks: A Biography by Rob Jovanovich.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

To enter the free competition, simply answer the question below:

What was the 3rd single to be released by The Kinks that would launch their career?

a) Waterloo Sunset
b) All The Day & All Of The Night
c) You Really Got Me

Submit your entries to comps@buzzinmedia.co.uk with the subject line: ‘Kinks Book Comp’ (other subject lines will not be entered) with your full name, address & contact number.

This competition ends on 15th July 2013.

The editor will randomly choose two winners from the correct answers. The editor’s choice is final.

God Save the Kinks: A Biography by Rob Jovanovich is published by Aurum Press.

The Day The Country Died – A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 -1984, book review

The Day The Country Died – A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 -1984
The Day The Country Died – A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 -1984

The Day The Country Died – A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 -1984 by Ian Glasper & published by Cherry Red Books is Glasper’s second book in a trilogy of books exploring the landscape of a so-called “second wave” of punk rock that took hold in throughout the UK in the early 1980s.

The Day The Country Died concentrates on the anarcho punk movement that began with Crass. Like The Sex Pistols before them, nothing prepared the world for such an onslaught. But whereas the Pistols and the first wave of punk burnt out through hype and commercialism, Crass were more than just a small wonder – they became a way of life.

Their debut release was an 18-track 12” The Feeding Of The 5,000 on Small Wonder, an independent record label that shared Crass’ dislike for big business and the music industry.  However, when the label pressed the release without the blasphemous track “Reality Asylum” Crass decided all future releases would be on their on Crass Records label and in essence, this was the start of something much bigger than just a band.

Reality Asylum” / “Shaved Women” 7” was released in 1979 & The Feeding of the 5000 – Second Sitting was re-released on Crass Records in 1980.  Between them was, in my mind, a masterpiece.  Crass released their debut album in 1979.  Stations Of The Crass was a double album – three sides of studio tracks plus a live gig; and similar to those who heard or saw The Sex Pistols in 1976, the effect on audiences who witnessed the unique sound and powerful messages of Crass was to start their own bands which inadvertently by lead a punk movement sub-culture spreading across the whole of the UK.

With The Day The Country Died, Ian Glasper follows the same format as with his previous book, Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980 – 1984.  The introductory chapter gives an excellent incite to how the anarcho punk movement began, followed by subsequent chapters broken down into regions of the UK where the most popular bands from each area are introduced before offering a selected discography.

The anarcho punk movement was well represented in London and Ian Glasper acknowledges this with dividing chapters – north & northeast London which includes Flux Of Pink Indians, Rubella Ballet, Dirt & the mighty Crass among others; and south & southeast London where he also covers groups from North Kent. This chapter more than others fills me with great memories as I affectionately reminisce seeing groups every Tuesday night at The Red Lion pub in Northfleet, north Kent. Local bands such as Liberty, Anthrax & Naked (Isle of Sheppey) would play regularly; and it wasn’t long before the venue got a reputation and with it came The Sub-Humans, The Mob, regular gigs from Conflict… and one of the best gigs I have ever been to when a makeshift stage was erected in the pub garden for Anthrax, Dirt and Flux Of Pink Indians.  They are all here – well researched and in many cases including interviews with original members of the bands themselves.

Other groups highlighted include Rudimentary Peni, Chumbawamba, The Cravats and many others. Last year I returned to the Red Lion after more years than I care to remember, to see Anthrax & Dirt.  It wasn’t quite as dirty, smelly or fast as I remember, but seeing old friends and groups from that time of my life filled me with joy, as did reading this book.

The Day The Country Died – A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 -1984 by Ian Glasper was originally published by Cherry Red Books in 2006 and is now available as an eBook along with other book titles, covering a range of punk, indie and alternative rock.

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Nirvana: The Recording Sessions – book review

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions by Rob Jovanovic
Nirvana: The Recording Sessions

When asked ‘Is there something you would like Nirvana to be remembered for?’ Kurt Cobain answered: “Writing good music, good songs. That’s all I could say, because that’s more important than anything else”.

The majority of books written about Nirvana concentrate in part or wholly on Kurt Cobain’s inner turmoil and his trouble with dealing with fame and fortune.  Some concentrate on the music but no other titles concentrate solely on the recording sessions.

From start to finish Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana lasted no more than 12 years, and in that time there were over 40 recording sessions. Starting with Cobain’s first noise-making his first documented recordings during a family Christmas vacation as a teenager singing and playing guitar, bass and using a suitcase for a drum to his final recording session along with fellow band members Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic as Nirvana, one of biggest names in rock music in January 1994.

Each session, each track and version is well documented where available. A discography is also included to assist some of the harder-to-find recordings as well as details of all the band’s video recordings.

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions also includes information on every recording studio, a paragraph on every band member and session musician, plus a discography, list of videos & DVDs, list of Nirvana concerts and a selection of related non-Nirvana sessions.

Rob Jovanovic has painstakingly documented every recording session made between 1982 and 1994.  Each one is analyzed, from Kurt Cobain’s first bedroom four-track demos through to the “new” tracks including the With The Lights Out box set, Live At Reading, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind and the expanded Bleach.

In Nirvana – The Recording Sessions, the author draws on hours of interviews with those who worked on Nirvana’s sessions, including engineers, producers, guest musicians and other collaborators.

The hardback copy of this book was originally published in 2004 but was surprisingly not available in North America.  Published for the first time in paperback by Soundcheck Books based in London, the book is available in both the UK & North America.

This updated paperback edition underlines the fact that, aside from a cult of personality, Nirvana produced some great rock songs.

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions by Rob Jovanovic is published by Soundcheck Books priced £14.99.

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Heart of Darkness: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, book review

Heart of Darkness: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska
Heart of Darkness: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska

In 1980 Bruce Springsteen released his most commercially successful album to date.  ‘The River’ was a double-album that received both critical acclaim and more commercial success.  Springsteen was at the peak of his career. So his record label was very keen to release his next album and build on the commercial success of one of their most profitable artists.

All parties involved had grand expectations for the next album and in January 1982 Bruce Springsteen made some demo recordings, including a song called ‘Born In The USA’ on a four-track portastudio in his New Jersey home.

But while the record label wanted Springsteen to repeat the powerful rock production and sound of ‘The River‘, it became apparrent that after a series of sessions with his famous E Street Band, Springsteen decided the new recordings failed to capture the intimacy of the home demos and took the incredible decision to release the crude, home recorded versions of 10 of the tracks as ‘Nebraska’.

Released between the albums ‘The River’ and ‘Born In The USA’ you can imagine the conflict of interests between what Springsteen and his record label at the time.  But almost thirty years on, ‘Nebraska‘ is considered a classic album. Its everyman, blue collar themes resonated with much of his audience, and the intimate nature of the album gave it a unique presence amongst the increasingly overblown productions being used at the time. ‘Nebraska‘ also captured a new, darker side to Bruce Springsteen’s public persona.

In Heart Of Darkness: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, David Burke explores the album from a multitude of angles. From the nature of the material itself and the history of American folk music which foretold it, to the legacy and influence on later generations of musicians. The book takes an in-depth look at a record whose very existence defied the commercial and corporate nature of the music industry yet which has proved itself to be a timeless classic.

2012 sees the 30th anniversary of the album. An anniversary edition re-issue is expected, and Springsteen’s fan base is awash with rumours that this will include the E Street Band s studio recordings of the material and some of the tracks not included on the original album (to which the author has had access and has discusses in the book).

Heart of Darkness: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska
by David Burke is published by Cherry Red Books priced £14.99

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Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana, book review

Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana
Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana

In 1991 Kurt Cobain was quoted as saying: “I don’t think we’ll get that big. Our music isn’t that commercial.”

Twenty years after Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicide the Nirvana’s popularity has not waned. Their meteoric rise to fame as part of the ‘Grunge’ movement was due to the commercial success of their classic second album, Never Mind which was released in 1991; and their lasting appeal has no doubt been crystallized by Cobain’s untimely death. Hence, in the past twenty years there has been more than enough books about Nirvana and the cult of Kurt Cobain, so why consider reading another one?

While other books concentrate on the success of Nirvana and the troubled life of Kurt Cobain and his coping with the fame & attention that followed, Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana by music journalist Gillian G. Gaar covers the commercial success and the events that followed but concentrates on the early years of Nirvana and their part in the Seattle music scene that became the global centre of the Grunge movement.

Seattle-born author Gillian Gaar draws on early interviews with members of the band and the local music scene with many key people in the story (including bassist Krist Novoselic, drummer Chad Channing, and producers Jack Endino and Butch Vig) and discusses in-depth early demo recordings and the first album, Bleach which was released in 1989.  By critiquing every song the band recorded in this period, tracing influences and unpicking complex relationships between members, associates and record labels, Gaar gets to the heart of this compelling story, offering her own unique perspective on Nirvana’s journey from humble beginning to grunge super stardom.

The book traces Nirvana’s formation, their early recordings & many personnel changes that eventually led to the arrival of Dave Grohl on drums to complete the familiar three-piece line up.

The book starts with a collection of early live & promotional photos of the band, including Nirvana’s first gig at Olympia on 1st May 1987 when the band were still called Skid Row. The book also includes a selected discography & a list of selected live performances of members of the band and Nirvana between 1984 & 1990.

Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana by Gillian G. Gaar is a well written account of one of the most exciting bands & enigmatic figures in rock of the past 30 years.  Its appeal is in the detailed account of the early years in the life of a rock band that appeared to have a certain something, even before there was a whiff of commercial fame.  Gaar has delivered an interesting book that, by its very topic will appeal to the more avid fan who has been left wanting from reading other books that skirt over how the whole story began.

Entertain Us – the Rise of Nirvana by Gillian G. Gaar is published by in the UK & USA by Jawbone Press priced £14.95 / $19.95.

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