Category Archives: Books

The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance And Social Revolution In San Francisco, 1965 —1975

The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance And Social Revolution In San Francisco, 1965 —1975
By Mat Callahan
PM Press
Street: 01, 01, 2017

The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams is an essential book that explores the powerful relationship between music and politics. Author Mat Callahan highlights the struggles that defined the 1960s and although it is a subject well covered, he shows that this era was fresh with sounds that made one move, and groove in a way that was totally revolutionary. This culturally and revolutionary period was far from perfect and could not be boiled down to the popular idea of simply having flowers in one’s hair. In his study, Callahan uses the San Francisco as his model to understand a deep political history that coincides with the cultural renaissance of the 60’s. To do this, Callahan explores a history of the civil rights, labor struggles and the emergence of feminism.

To understand the complex relationship between music and politics, Callahan first shows that the sounds that came out of the era defied traditional modes of authority because it was a form of expression that was beyond the ability to control. Music was and still is an expression of feeling. Callahan shows this by highlighting the power of performance as a way to channel revolutionary sentiment and even action. Callahan does not shy away from this medium’s controversial pitfalls or its limitations. For example, Callahan explores the capitalist motivations of people who worked behind the scenes and the fans/ musicians flirtations with the intoxicating effects of substances for inspiration. This being said, The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams is very much about the relationship that music plays with politics, for good or bad.

This is fascinating particularly because of the raw nature of sounds that came from folk, rock n’ roll or soul to evoke feeling—a notion not truly understood then by the powers that be. However, as Callahan cites this as an impressive and powerful feat, this revolution did not last. The raw feeling that largely defined the revolutionary aspects of the sounds that came out of the ‘60s were eventually co-opted and filtered into family friendly or acceptable means. Although this resulted in a certain potency being lost, Callahan does show that was to a large degree regained by the punk movement in the late ‘70s.

While Callahan’s look at music as ungovernable medium is above all fascinating, his explorations of topics like feminism, labor struggles and civil rights are intriguing and are important to understand the times. Callahan’s explorations of feminism are of particular note as a philosophy of brutal honesty. As a movement it challenged all things from the fundamentals of the revolutionary movements to societal relationships. Not only that, but Callahan shows that women’s part to play in musical growth is fundamental it’s evolution. Although, he does take care to point out women’s exclusion from the machinations of the music industry.

The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams is an important read to understand the power that music has in the realms of political change. The feelings invoked by rock n roll, soul, folk or other forms were exciting and raw—and arguably they still are. To couple music with forms of resistance was not a new idea, but for the turbulence of the ‘60s, it was truly revolutionary and considered a plausible threat to the establishment. No doubt music still plays a key role in expression, both politically and recreationally. Given the uncertainty of modern times and arguably our collective future, The Explosion Of Deferred Dreams may not only be an interesting read, but an essential one to explore what made music a definitive power of resistance and what were the shortcomings of it. —Nick Kuzmack

Top 3 Books of 2016

Top 3 Books of 2016
1. ECOSOCIALISM: A RADICAL ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALIST CATASTROPHE
“He explains his theory using examples of the struggle against capitalism and gives step by step solutions to guide readers on a better path. However, while Lowy presents his alternative way of life, he stresses that even his solutions are not a reason for optimism; rather they are the only real way out the catastrophic mess that threatens humanity’s very survival and that time is running out.”
2.SHOCK AND AWE: GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY, FROM THE SEVENTIES TO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY
“Its reign was brief. glam came out of the 1960s and charged through the 1970s with all that was glitter and gold. It was perhaps the most interesting subculture that emerged out of the woodwork before punk. It boasted a diversified range of groups that represented both high and low culture.”
3. LEE BRILLEAUX: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL GENTLEMAN
“The story of the infamous pub rock/protopunk group is really a tale narrated by the magnitude of Lee Brilleaux’s character. Brilleaux was a man born in the wrong decade. Throughout Brilleaux’s life, he carried a formidable love for the raw nature of the blues, and it was unparalleled and arguably out of place in the backdrop of 1970s England.”

SHOCK AND AWE: GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY, FROM THE SEVENTIES TO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY

SHOCK AND AWE: GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY, FROM THE SEVENTIES TO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY,
SIMON REYNOLDS
Dey Street Books
Street: 10.04

Author Simon Reynolds dives right into the history of glam rock and brilliantly explains its legacy, which continues to span into the 21st century. Its reign was brief. glam came out of the 1960s and charged through the 1970s with all that was glitter and gold. It was perhaps the most interesting subculture that emerged out of the woodwork before punk. It boasted a diversified range of groups that represented both high and low culture. Bands like Slade, Mud, New York Dolls, The Tubes, Gary Glitter T. Rex, Roxy Music, and of course, David Bowie, made up its ranks.

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LEE BRILLEAUX: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL GENTLEMAN

LEE BRILLEAUX: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL GENTLEMAN ZOE HOWE Polygon Street: 11.03.15

LEE BRILLEAUX: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL GENTLEMAN
ZOE HOWE
Polygon
Street: 11.03.15

If there were an alternative to 1970s charts music, Dr. Feelgood were that group. They not only stood apart, but by sticking to their roots, they also subsequently influenced a whole new generation of punk and otherwise that would come after. The story of the infamous pub rock/protopunk group is really a tale narrated by the magnitude of Lee Brilleaux’s character. Brilleaux was a man born in the wrong decade. Throughout Brilleaux’s life, he carried a formidable love for the raw nature of the blues, and it was unparalleled and arguably out of place in the backdrop of 1970s England. The practice at that time was to celebrate all that was glitter and gold. However, by defying that trend, Dr. Feelgood carved their place in the music world by playing the raucous power of R&B-infused rock n’ roll…

Dig the full book review published @ SLUG Magazine!

LOBOTOMY: SURVIVING THE RAMONES AND CHELSEA HORROR HOTEL

LOBOTOMY: SURVIVING THE RAMONES AND CHELSEA HORROR HOTEL
DEE DEE RAMONE
Da Capo Press
Street: 03.01

2016 marks the 40 anniversary of the release of the Ramones hugely influential self-titled debut album. In anticipation of this momentous occasion, Da Capo Press has released the autobiography of famed Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone (aka Douglas Glenn Colvin), Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones and his 2001 novel, Chelsea Horror Hotel. These releases are a perfect glimpse into the life of the controversial bassist. Dee Dee was the ultimate outsider and the authentic rebel. As a part of the Ramones, he helped form a group that symbolized the originality of rebellion in all things punk rock.

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LITA FORD: THE QUEEN OF NOIZE

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Lita Ford had quite the storied rock n’ roll career: starting off in The Runaways, she rose to impressive prominence as a heavy metal musician in the ’80s. After years in obscurity, Ford has made a comeback to tell her story in Living Like A Runaway, published by Dey Street Books on Feb. 23. “It’s a story that had to be told,” says Ford. “A chick in a rock band in the ’80s … ya know … I was the only one that really that did what I did—play guitar and front a bunch of guys.” Living Like A Runaway takes readers through Ford’s life, both personal and professional. In it, Ford shows time and time again that she pulls no punches. It’s an attitude that very much defines her way of doing things, musically or otherwise.

Dig the full interview published @ SLUG Magazine!!

ECOSOCIALISM: A RADICAL ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALIST CATASTROPHE

 

 

ECOSOCIALISM: A RADICAL ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALIST CATASTROPHE
MICHAEL LOWY  
Haymarket Books
Street: 04.15.2015

Michael Lowy brilliantly proposes Ecosocialism as a viable alternative to the capitalist mess that has enveloped the planet and that threatens our collective survival. His explanation on how socialism is the system is wonderfully engaging. He explains his theory using examples of the struggle against capitalism and gives step by step solutions to guide readers on a better path. However, while Lowy presents his alternative way of life, he stresses that even his solutions are not a reason for optimism; rather they are the only real way out the catastrophic mess that threatens humanity’s very survival and that time is running out.

Read the full book review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

DUST & GROOVES: ADVENTURES IN RECORD COLLECTING

DUST & GROOVES: ADVENTURES IN RECORD COLLECTING
EILON PAZ
Ten Speed Press
Street: 09.15.15

Perhaps one of the ultimate ways to celebrate the culture of record collecting—apart from buying more records—is Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting. This massive coffee table book holds an impressive collection of photographs and interviews from over 130 record collectors worldwide. Eilon Paz takes readers from apartments in New York to homes in London, through the backstreets of Ghana and beyond in an impressive journey exploring the lifestyles of vinyl obsession and appreciation.

Check out the full book review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

CENSORSHIP NOW!!

CENSORSHIP NOW!!
IAN F. SVENONIUS
Akashic Books
Street: 10.09.15

Censorship Now!! is the latest book by Ian F. Svenonius—best known for his membership in the hardcore punk band, The Nation Of Ulysses, and is a collection of essays that range on topics of art censorship from “Censorship Now” to “The Rise and Fall of College Rock: Mow yuppies and NPR gentrified punk.” Initially these topics suggest that there are ideas that serve to provoke intelligent conversation and allow the exploration of the possibility of needed controversy. Unfortunately, despite this premise, I cannot help but find that the prose flounders like a fish on dry land and gets lost in the execution.

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DREAMS TO REMEMBER: OTIS REDDING, STAX RECORDS, AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOUTHERN SOUL

DREAMS TO REMEMBER: OTIS REDDING, STAX RECORDS, AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOUTHERN SOUL
Mark Ribowsky
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Street: 06.01

Mark Ribowsky weaves together a brilliant narrative that explores the rise of Otis Redding in conjunction with the essential establishment of Stax Records as a powerhouse that greatly influenced and made the ’60s Southern soul scene. Dreams To Remember uses Redding’s life as the focal point that defined an era of soul music that came from the heart of Memphis and managed to rival Berry Gordy’s Motown label in Detroit—specifically by producing an authentic black soul sound to counter Gordy’s more white-friendly alternative.

Dig the full book review published @ SLUG Magazine!!