Lagoon, Signal to Noise, and other great books I’ve read lately

As part of a determined “read things for fun” kick (as opposed to “read for review/story research/copy edit” which had become most of my reading) as well as an attempt to read more diversely, I decided to stop adding things to my To Be Read list and start TBRing them. And thanks to many good recommendations and things like K. Tempest Bradford’s challenge, I got to read some awesome books.
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Metal Monday: Ace Frehley’s No Regrets

NoRegretsAs the founding guitarist for KISS, you’d expect Ace Frehley to have some pretty good war stories — if he can remember them. A self-confessed party animal, Frehley has been open about his addicitions to alcohol, cocaine, and painkillers.  But as he shows in No Regrets, his memory for a lot of things is just fine.

Frehley and original KISS drummer Peter Criss have been largely written out of the band’s official history over the years — at least, to hear Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley tell it. So it’s refreshing to hear the story of the band from Frehley’s point of view.
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Metal Monday: Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City

Fargo Rock City

One of the virtues of Chuck Klosterman’s take on 1980s heavy metal in Fargo Rock City is that, once you’ve read it, you’ll never look at metal the same way again.

Born and raised in Wyndmere, N.D., Klosterman had already covered music for the Fargo Forum and the Akron Beacon Journal before writing it, and has since gone o to write for GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and The Washington Post, as well as a number of bestselling books.
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Rough life makes for a great read

I’m not always keen on rock biographies. Some, like The Dirt, which tells the sordid story of Mötley Crüe, is a great if at times unbelievable read. Others, like Two Sides to Every Glory, which chronicles AC/DC’s rise and then ignores most what happened after 1990, leave something to be desired.  And I’ll always have a soft spot for Hammer of the Gods, even though I think all the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have disavowed it.

As a sometime book reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press, I occasionally get to write about a book like this — the autobiography of Guns ‘N’ Roses founding member Duff McKagan.

The following is republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2011 J7

Guns N’ Roses bassist rocks autobiography

Even a rock star can feel like a dork.

Guns N’ Roses co-founder and bassist Duff McKagan opens his self-deprecating memoir with his daughter’s 13th birthday party. While trying to stay out of sight so as not to embarrass her by his mere presence, he surprises two partygoers sneaking a kiss.

“My mind rushes through a checklist… of things I was doing at this same age,” he writes: boozing, smoking pot, dropping acid, snorting cocaine, stealing cars, having sex. These kids are just kissing.

Embarrassed, he mutters a quick, “Sorry,” and ducks back into the house.
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