After Chilton left the Box Tops, he formed Big Star, a legendary cult band who many consider to be Ground Zero for American “power pop,” the melody-driven sub-genre that has been a staple of indie rock for decades. The irony is that despite the group’s fantastic songs and jangly guitar arrangements, Big Star never became big stars.
It’s no insult to the band to say that Kiss have always been about window dressing. That’s why Paul Stanley’s new autobiography, Face The Music: A Life Exposed, comes as such a surprise. After years of carefully maintaining his Starchild superhero identity, Stanley lets down his guard and unleashes a torrent of pent-up feelings that erupt and flow over 400 pages like molten lava.
Charlie “Bird” Parker is another “shredder” from the past worth investigating. Parker flamed out way too soon in 1955, but his shadow still looms large on the contemporary jazz landscape. Jazz writer Stanley Crouch spent the last 20 years researching this amazing figure, and captures him in all of his high-flying glory in Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker.
Finally, somebody came out with a beginner instructional guitar method book series for adults and teenagers that’s not an outdated, depressing turn-off that makes you want to throw your guitar off a cliff after having struggled to learn embarrassingly unsatisfying versions of the audience favorites “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Three Blind Mice.”