strumzilla

​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

Filtering by Tag: Non-Fiction

Book Review - One Train Later

The autobiography by the brilliant guitarist for the Police. This covers his entire life until this point with a large portion detailing his musical career before the Police which unknown to me prior to reading this book was actually pretty successful. He was a member of much of the 60s musical movement in England and the San Francisco/California psychedelic movement. He bounced around to various bands and gigs and was pretty well known to many of the big players in those days including the Stones, the Who and others. He played with the Animals and had a variety of backup/session type gigs including Neal Sedaka to name just one. He was heavily influenced by Jazz at an early age and it's the variety of musical experiences he had that allowed him to develop such a unique sound within the Police that had never been heard before and has been copied but never equalled in the time since. It's a good book for Police fans and a great book for Andy Summers fans. On the tail of finishing this book, the news broke that the Police have reunited and are touring this summer. I just finished watching them open the Grammy's last Sunday (they sounded fantastic by the way, they haven't lost anything in twenty plus years apart) and have now found out they will play Dallas in June. I plan to be there if at all humanly possible. I was fortunate enough to see them play across the street from where they are playing this June on their last tour (Synchronicity). Update: I was able to buy two tickets for 17th row center floor at the Dallas show in June. I'm just slightly stoked, to put it mildly.

Book Review - Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven by Richard Cole - this is basically the diary (or at least a very subjective retelling) of life on the road with Led Zeppelin by their primary tour manager, Richard Cole. It is mostly filled with stories of life on tour, including all the crazy stories that surround the band. Yes, the shark story is there in full detail. It's a interesting read in that it does reveal some character traits of the band members that may not be as readily obvious through their music and interviews. Since he was their tour manager, there isn't much about their studio time and the development of the songs and albums, which is what I would consider the most important aspect of their legacy as a band, although their touring is probably what made them most famous. This is mostly for the real fans of the band, but it is told by someone who was truly on the inside so it gives details you won't find anywhere else. I also recently re-read "Hammer of the Gods" which treads much the same ground as Stairway to Heaven



Book Review - A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Non-Fiction).

It's a laymans guide to the history of science and an enjoyable read. There are bits that apparently get lost in translation when Bryson tries to decipher some of the more theoretical topics, but this isn't meant to replace textbooks or research articles. If you like the Discovery channel but sometimes find yourself wanting a little more, you'll probably enjoy this book. I have particularly enjoyed some of the analogies he makes (quotes?): if you reduced the Sun down to the size of a pinhead, Pluto would still be 35 feet away, and the outer edge of our solar system (everything within the gravitational field of our sun) would still be farther away than the eye could see (the edge of our solar system is tens of thousands times farther away than the distance to Pluto). Those sorts of quotes really altered my perception which was mostly based on those illustrations in my old science textbooks (you know the ones which show all the planets in relation to the Sun, complete with Mars being in the shadow of Jupiter, etc.) There are many great analogies like that which really help to gain a perspective on how complex and amazing the natural world is, and how insigificant and temporary modern man is in the age of earth and the universe.