Book Reviews: November 2004
Note: Reviews are in no particular order


Inside The Yellow Submarine: The Making of the Beatles Animated Classic
By Dr. Bob Hieronimus

Loaded with interviews from not only the producers but also the illustrators themselves (and of course the Beatles), INSIDE THE YELLOW SUBMARINE tells the amazing tale of the making of this '60s classic. I had no idea of all the problems that occurred during the making of the film (several of which could have shut down the project) and it is truly a testament to the spirit of the '60s that the film was finished at all. True, there were some contradictory remembrances by the myriad of folks that were interviewed for this book, but the true story does emerge. It is also interesting that the Beatles themselves eventually embraced the film - which they originally cast off as "unimportant".

Dr. Robert R. Hieronimus sets the record straight on a few of the myths that others have perpetuated - no, "Only A Northern Song" was NOT written at the last minute to fulfill the Beatles song obligations for the film. And no, Peter Max did NOT work on "Yellow Submarine". There were also little trivia facts about the movie that I enjoyed reading, such as the story of how there were actually two actors that worked on George Harrison's character! The book also contains fascinating illustrations, model sheets and promotional material for the project, as well as the 'comeback' of the film to video and the new wave of promotion that followed.

The only thing I found missing from the book were some of the info about the music. While the general facts are covered, there are a few tidbits that I've always been curious about: How did the studio chatter from "Think For Yourself" come to be in the film? Why is the movie version of "It's All Too Much" different from the released version (it has an extra verse)? I've heard a bootleg version of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" that has Jeremy singing a verse - was this version of the song every illustrated?

Forget about any of the other books about the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" film (some of which are grossly inaccurate and perpetuate myths that simply didn't happen) - this is the ultimate book on the subject and a welcome addition to any Beatles-fan's library!

Review by Ronnie



Queen: The Early Years
By Mark Hodkinson

Mark Hodkinson has written the only book you will need in order to see how the legendary British band Queen evolved from four individuals into one of the most popular bands in the history of rock music. While Queen had success in America, they are of much greater importance in other parts of the world. How many American bands can you think of where 70,000 people in a stadium can break into unison and sing many of the hits word for word? Okay, maybe the Village People, but in England, one of those bands would be Queen.

Hodkinson painstakingly stalks family members, former friends, and teachers to find information on the lives of the four men who would make up the band Queen. It is easy to see why the members were constantly at each others throats for the good of the band. They were all extremely bright individuals who for the most part could have had incredibly successful professional lives without Queen. Hodkinson does a wonderful job of showing us all the pieces it took to make this great band. The only problem is that books such as this are mainly of interest to those obsessed with the band being written about. Queen fanatics unite and by Mark Hodkinsonís book Queen: The Early Years, and for those of you who are not Queen fans, crawl back under the rocks you came from.

Review by Jack Teague



The Beatles in Rishikesh
By Paul Saltzman

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Paul Saltzman happened to be at the Maharishi's ashram in 1968 when the Beatles were on their Transcendental Meditation quest. THE BEATLES IN RISHIKESH tells Saltzman's story and of course displays his photos from 1968. Not being a professional photographer, it is amazing to see these vividly colorful pictures of the candid Beatles at the Maharishi's retreat. My favorite has to be the shots of John and Paul playing their guitars together - pretty much squashes the myth that they weren't collaborating by 1968. And Saltzman's retelling of his candid moments with the Beatles is very insightful (especially John's comments leading up to his pairing up with Yoko). The book is lavishly illustrated, not only with the color pictures, but also colorful pages, which truly take you on the journey to India in 1968.

With all the books on the Beatles available, it is hard to be impressed by any 'newly' found photos of the fabs (who were probably the most photographed entertainers in the '60s) - but you be impressed by the photos in this book, they are pure gold and a perfect 'time capsule' on what is probably the last enjoyable time that the Beatles had together.

Review by Ronnie



Blood And Glitter
By Mick Rock

This collection of photography by Mick Rock takes a look at the wonderful time period in music between the late 60ís and late 70ís. Rock takes us on a wonderful journey using photos from Londonís Psychedelic era ( Syd Barrett, etc...), Glam (Bowie, Queen,...), and finally Punk. While we have colorful figures in todayís music, nothing seems to compare with the artists from the periods covered by Rockís book. Mick Rock is similar to Charles Peterson, the famous photographer of Grunge, in the sense that he was there. He not only documented the events, but he was a part of the scene. There is a big difference between the person who is assigned the job of capturing a moment on camera and the work of the person who is part of the scene and happens to be documenting what is going on. If you want to see explosions of color leaping from the page and the blank stares of artists who have traveled one trip too far, please take a second to check out Blood and Glitter by Mick Rock.

Review by Jack Teague



POP! Goes The Witch
The Disinformation Guide to 21st Century Witchcraft

Edited by Fiona Horne

"POP! Goes The Witch-The Disinformation Guide to 21st Century Witchcraft" is a collection of essays by various writers covering the theme of modern witchcraft in today's society. Rather than exploring the actual basics of witchcraft in all its forms, this book concentrates on what it is like to practice "alternate religions" in the modern world. It seems to be a little top-heavy on articles concerning low self-esteem amongst witches, appearing at times to be another "self help" book. However, there are a few articles that pagan's will find useful, such as "The Religious Rights of Wiccans and Pagans in America".

While interesting at times, I wouldn't recommend this book as the first book for someone who is curious about witchcraft. But if you are a witch that suffers from low self-esteem, you might want to check this book out.

Review by Kano



Nirvana: Nevermind - Classic Rock Albums
By Jim Berkenstadt, Charles R. Cross

The Classic Rock Album book series is similar to the Classic Albums video series in that it gives the reader every possible bit of information on what went on during the creation of what is considered a classic recording. This information can start with where the band was in their career before the recording process began, the creation of the songs to be recorded, the people involved in the recording process other than the band and their careers, the recording methods and instruments used, and the introduction of the music to the general public and how it was received.

In the case of Nirvanaís Nevermind, Berkenstadt breaks down the guitar, bass, and drums just as Butch Vig who produced the cd described the recording of the instruments. Wanna know how they got such an incredible snare sound out of Dave Grohl? Read the book. Wanna know where the secret track came from and why they chose to use it? Read the book. Even though Cobain denied it, guess who was involved with the cd in order for it to have such an explosive sound? Read the book. What I am trying to say is that if you are a fanatic of the band Nirvana and want to know why things turned out on the first cd the way they did, you need to purchase this book. If you are a greatest hits kind of fan, skip it.

Review by Jack Teague



The Man Called Cash : The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend
By Steve Turner

Letís see. Iíve read The Man in Black by Johnny Cash, Cash by Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash: The Life of an American Icon by Stephen Miller, and now, The Man Called Cash by Steve Turner. My all time favorite of these biographies is The Man in Black for its cool 1970s feel. I feel that the most informative is probably Stephen Millerís The Life of an American Icon. The only problem I have with Steve Turnerís new biography is that there is such an overabundance of information out there. For the most part, Johnny Cashís life was something of an open book. With artists like Cash, you can only hope to find so much more information before the well is dry. I do think that

Turnerís book is a worthy read, but it does not offer the reader a much different view from the Miller book. If I was king of the world, I would have forced Miller and Turner to work together to write the end all biography on Cash. While there is no doubt that Turner had more access than most to the family of Cash and a few other notable people in the singerís life, it is just a difficult task to tackle to write a biography on a person who openly shared details of his life on a regular basis. The only way to divulge more would be to take a Kitty Kelley expose angle and tell the ugly side to his life. Thank god, that will not happen due to Cash being considered an American Icon. Turner does share the thoughts of Rick Rubin in regards to Cash, and Rubin is just the person who needs to put pen to paper about his and Cashís time together. The relationship that developed between Cash and Rubin is one that I would love to see described in a book.

Review by Jack Teague



Secrets of Cult Leaders Revealed
By J.E.

The Gurus Get All The Chicks: A Review of "Secrets of Cult Leaders Revealed"

Ever dream of becoming a charismatic cult leader with a flock of female followers fawning at your feet? Well now there's an e-book by a fellow named Jack Ellis that gives you the ins and outs (no pun intended) of how to build your very own harem from the ground up, and make it a tax-deductible charity while you're at it! Of course, Ellis makes it clear that you don't necessarily need your own self styled cult to score with the chicks-but you can just the same use those time proven techniques that groovy little gurus and crazed cult leaders have used since time immemorial to get laid and grow prosperous.

In his treatise, Ellis first runs through a Who's Who of the cult leader elite, from master manipulator Chuck Manson to apocalyptic rock star David Koresh to document their notorious respective successes in the realms of sexual conquest and manipulation. L. Ron Hubbard also shows up on this list along with Kundalini sex swami Yogi Bhajan and Reverend Jim Jones of Guyana poison kool-aid fame, to name but a few.

The second half of Ellis' treatise gets into the nuts and boobs (pun intended) of how to use various NLP and seduction secrets to become a babe magnet of the highest order. Some of these strategies make sense to me while others seem a bit heavy handed for my liking, but hey if you're not afraid of pretending you're the second coming of Christ, you sure won't mind pretending to like someone when what you're really trying to do is turn them into mindless zombies who will sign over their life's savings and let you bed down their wives all in one fell swoop.

Of course, many of these techniques can be used outside of the realm of gurudom, at the work place or at home, in everyday interactions. Just think: a way to get your boss off your back or to convince your wife to have sex with you again!

Review by Adam Gorightly