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Category: Music

The man who punched Glenn Danzig has written a book about it

Glenn Danzig in 1994
Do you want to read a book about what it's like to punch Glenn Danzig? Maybe it's something you've been pining for. But don't worry, the wait is over. That book is finally on its way.

The author/pugilist is Danny Marianino from the band the North Side Kings. The punchee is the notoriously buff Glenn Danzig, the hard-rocking musician who got his start as lead singer of the Misfits. The encounter, which happened in 2004, was captured on video. It has had a long Internet shelf life.

It's the Internet attention that prompted Marianino to write about his experience in a book he's titled "Don't Ever Punch a Rock Star: A Collection of Hate Mail and Other Crazy Rumors." Marianino has set up a Facebook page for it (via Spin). There, Marianino writes:

I have had this book sitting dormant for a while. I enjoy writing and wrote it more or less for fun, but after the LA Weekly interview where he yet again almost eight years later said he allowed me to hit him cause he didn't want to get sued, I finally decided to put the book in motion. Just cause interviewers ask the question doesn't mean you have to answer it, with nonsense of course....

I'm not mad, I'm not bitter, actually I find it amusing. This book is not about a ten second fight. This book is about pokes fun of all of the internet bullying that came my way, and continues to come my way every time he is in the news acting crazy at festivals or saying something completely false about what happened between him and I.

Please laugh. This is a funny book. It pokes fun at me. It pokes fun at the situation. The hate mail and rumors is very amusing. Amusing enough for an entire book. If I am laughing at the whole situation years later, so has anyone that has read this and you should be too. Lighten up people, the world is too messed up to be all angry all the time.

According to the Facebook page, the book "profiles a regular guys journey in music and learning to shrug off one of the most opinionated events in music history. Plus an amazing amount of hate mail." It is not currently available through major book retailers Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but its Facebook page has more than 650 TK "likes."

ALSO:

Paul and Storm to George R.R. Martin: Write like the wind [video]

Dolly Parton to publish new book, 'Dream More'

What should Cee Lo Green's memoir be titled? [poll]

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Glenn Danzig performing in 1994. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Paul and Storm to George R.R. Martin: Write like the wind [video]

Comedy duo Paul and Storm have a "Game of Thrones" obsession. In a new video of their song "Write Like the Wind (George R.R. Martin)," they implore the author to pen the next book in the series. "George R.R. Martin, please write and write faster," they sing. "We need our allotment of incest and intrigue and six-page descriptions of every last meal."

George R.R. Martin's rich, complex "A Song of Ice" and "Fire" fantasy series began with the novel "A Game of Thrones" in 1996. Since then there have been four sequels: "A Clash of Kings," "A Storm of Swords," "A Feast for Crows," and "A Dance with Dragons." Together, the five massive fantasy novels total more than 4,200 pages.

That's in hardcover. It'll be even more in paperback, once a paperback edition of "A Dance With Dragons" is released.

Writing all that material takes time. Famously, six years passed between book 4, "A Feast for Crows," and book 5, "A Dance With Dragons," which finally came out in 2011. As promised release dates came and went, devoted readers clamored for the next installment. The agitation reached such a pitch that Neil Gaiman was prompted to write a blog post telling people to calm down:

Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they're ready to write again. Sometimes writers haven't quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that's ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y....

Wait. Read the original book again. Read something else. Get on with your life. Hope that the author is writing the book you want to read, and not dying, or something equally as dramatic. And if he paints the house, that's fine.

Gaiman used some off-color language in his post, which -- fair warning -- makes its way into the Paul and Storm video. The comedians are clearly fans -- not just because they tromp around in period outfits weilding swords and turkey legs, but because their lyrics are grounded in Martin's books. They even reference the two further, yet-to-be-written books in the series, "The Winds of Winter" and "A Dream of Spring."

Since "A Dance With Dragons" came out, Martin has garnered even more fans, thanks to the HBO series based on the books. It's slated to return for a third season in 2013.

The Paul and Storm video premiered Friday on the Sword and Laser show on the Geeks & Sundry YouTube video channel -- a show that also included an interview with George R.R. Martin himself.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Scott Turow flashes back with the Beatles on KCRW

Scottturow-2010Author Scott Turow is the latest to step into the radio booth for KCRW's Guest DJ Project. In the short recorded segment, the guest DJs select and play five songs while talking about what they like about them, or why they find them important.

Turow, of course, is the bestselling author of legal thrillers such as "Presumed Innocent" and "Reversible Errors." His musical tastes run toward baby boomer-era classics -- Del Shannon, Pete Seeger and, not surprisingly, the Beatles.

But the Beatles song Turow picks is a surprise: "Free as a Bird," released in 1995 with performances by the surviving Beatles grafted onto an archive recording of John Lennon, produced with Yoko Ono's permission. Turow explains what he likes about it:

“What compels me to choose it -- although I always thought it got down-talked in a way it didn’t deserve, I think it’s a great song -- but by the time it was released in 1995 with, you know, the full vocalization, I was a middle-aged father of three. And the anticipation of hearing this new Beatles song brought me back to 13 years old when they first appeared. And I hovered by the TV set and just waited, and by the time the first guitar chords were struck, I was just absolutely transported and moved by this song.

I always liked to imagine that Lennon was singing about the Beatles, as a group, and that together they had felt free as bird. But it was a powerful lesson because I liked John Lennon’s music, the music he made as a solo artist, a great deal. But I’ll still take “Free as a Bird” over anything that he did by himself. The addition of the other three still brings it to a musical level that I don’t think anybody got to on their own.”

In addition to being a writer and a working lawyer, Turow is the head of the Authors Guild. I'll be talking to him about publishing and e-books June 22, when he comes to town. The reason for his visit is, actually, musical: He's a founding member of the writers' rock group the Rock Bottom Remainders. They mostly play covers; Turow sings.

The Rock Bottom Remainders will perform their last public show June 22 at the El Rey Theater with a lineup that includes some big bestsellers: Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Matt Groening, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Sam Barry and Roy Blount Jr. Roger McGuinn from the Byrds will be along providing some serious guitar help. All proceeds from the event are to go to charity.

After the jump, the Rock Bottom Remainders sing "Wild Thing" with a fan who had donated money to sing along; he joins Turow at the mic.

Continue reading »

Poetry Magazine gets a little rock 'n' roll with Lou Reed

Loureed_2002
Poetry Magazine, which makes a good portion of its content available online, has gotten a little rock 'n' roll in its June issue with a prose poem from Lou Reed. Reed, of course, was a member of the seminal band the Velvet Underground and his music, hits and experimental both, have made him an essential singer and guitar player.

But before all that, in the early 1960s, Reed was a college student at Syracuse University, where he studied under Delmore Schwartz. And it's Schwartz to whom Reed is writing in the poem, "O Delmore how I miss you."

Delmore -- Lewis MacAdams writes, "no one ever called him anything but Delmore," so I'll follow along -- was a great writer who was undone by his addictions. His story "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," published in 1937, and the collection that followed, gave him strong, stellar footing on the literary map. He taught at Kenyon and Harvard; he wrote poetry, fiction and critical essays. And increasingly, he drank and took pills.

Reed has written obliquely about Delmore before, in a fashion: the Velvet Underground song "European Son" was dedicated to him, but there aren't many lyrics. In the poem "O Delmore how I miss you," there are quite a few more. Here's a portion:

The mad stories. O Delmore I was so young. I believed so much. We gathered around you as you read Finnegans Wake. So hilarious but impenetrable without you. You said there were few things better in life than to devote oneself to Joyce. You’d annotated every word in the novels you kept from the library. Every word.

And you said you were writing “The Pig’s Valise.” O Delmore no such thing. They looked, after your final delusion led you to a heart attack in the Hotel Dixie. Unclaimed for three days. You — one of the greatest writers of our era. No valise.

The June issue of Poetry Magazine includes works of writers who set diligently to work on their own valises: W.S. Di Pierro, Stuart Dybek, Kim Addonizio, Adrienne Rich, Rita Dove and another musician, Will Oldham.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Lou Reed reads "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe at Royce Hall in Westwood on Halloween in 2002. Credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Dolly Parton to publish new book, 'Dream More'

Dollyparton_dreammoreA new book by Dolly Parton is on the way from G.P. Putnam's Sons, the publisher announced today. "Dream More" is coming in November 2012, in time for the holidays.

Described as a book of "inspirational wisdom," "Dream More" is based on a commencement speech Parton gave at the University of Memphis in 2009.

In a statement about the book, Parton said:

I know that I’ve learned some things in my life that are important to me, and I think maybe they might be good ideas to pass along to you. Not as advice, but as information that I have found has helped me over the years. Enough to share, and a little to spare....

If you’re lucky, your dreams will never die, you may not always achieve them, but if you always have dreams and reach for them, you’ll never be a failure. I still have dreams of what I want to do next.

Dolly Parton was born in a small rural town in Tennessee in 1946, but her singing talents brought her to the Grand Ole Opry by the time she was 13. Parton's career went on to include singing, songwriting, acting and founding a theme park, Dollyland.

Parton was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for her achievements in the arts in 2006. She has won 10 Country Music Assn. awards, five Academy of Country Music awards, three American Music awards and seven Grammys. Twenty-six of her songs have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music chart. She has written, her bio states, a whopping 3,000 songs, including  "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You." She has sold more than 100 million records.

Prior to "Dream More," Parton penned the memoir "Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business." In a release about her new book, Ivan Held, president of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, said, "Everyone knows Dolly Parton — it's an honor and a privilege to be able to publish her words of deep and abiding wisdom. 'Dream More' is her wish for each of us — and the philosophy she's developed over many decades."

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826LA adds Pee-wee Herman to Judd Apatow benefit

Apatowpeewee

The Los Angeles branch of the literary nonprofit founded by Dave Eggers, 826LA, counts among its star supporters writer-director/producer Judd Apatow. He hosts the occasional live event to raise funds for the organization, called the Judd and Jon Comedy Music Hour(s). The Jon is musician Jon Brion, who leads the music part of the show.

On Tuesday, 826LA announced two guests who will be on the bill: Pee-wee Herman and Ray Romano. It's hard to imagine the comic minds of laconic Romano and antic Pee-wee meeting, but that may be the point. It had already promised to be entertaining, with Apatow, Brion and Peter Frampton (yes, that Peter Frampton) confirmed. Expect more surprise guests (one previous event included Lindsey Buckingham, Randy Newman, Garry Shandling, Ryan Adams, Aziz Ansari and Maria Bamford).

The event is scheduled for June 14 on the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. However, rubbing shoulders with Apatow and friends isn't cheap: Regular tickets are $250, and VIP tickets, which include a reception, are $500. But it is for charity -- a literary one.  

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Photos: Judd Apatow, left, in New York in April 2012. Right, Pee-wee Herman in 2009. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

What Patti Smith and Neil Young won't be doing at BEA

The nation's biggest publishing conference, Book Expo America, announced Monday that it had scored a rock 'n' roll coup: On its second day, Patti Smith will interview Neil Young on stage. That's far more rock power than the annual conference, taking place June 5-7 in Manhattan, usually has in-house.

Publishers have come to see that Smith, a legendary rocker since the release of her 1975 album "Horses," and longtime poet, is a literary asset. Her recent memoir "Just Kids," in which she wrote of her early years in New York with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe, was a runaway bestseller. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize, one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 books of 2010, and won the National Book Award for nonfiction.

Maybe some of that literary fortune will rub off on Young, who enters the publishing marketplace with his own memoir "Waging Heavy Peace" in October. The book, publisher Blue Rider Press promises, chronicles his youth in Canada, playing in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and his years with the band Crazy Horse. It will include, among other things, stories of "the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles."

The conversation at Book Expo between Smith and Young promises to be a highlight of the conference, for 2012 and over its long history. The two will have a lot to talk about, and who knows, maybe they'll even hum a few bars.

But no matter what creative sparks fly between them, nothing can compare to the performance above. Despite the low-quality video, the performance of Neil Young's song "Helpless" is stunning. When Patti Smith comes in, around the 4:29 mark, she is a majestic, commanding force, and her additional lyrics give the song a whole new dimension. Keep watching: she and Neil Young share a mic for the chorus at about 6:40.

The performance was in 1996, at one of Young's annual Bridge School Benefits. Pearl Jam was also on the bill that year. They won't, as far as I know, be joining them at BEA.

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Whitney Houston's mom, Cissy, planning book about her daughter

Whitney Houston with mom Cissy

Cissy Houston, the commanding gospel singer and mother of Whitney Houston, is said to be shopping a book about her daughter to publishers. Pop star Whitney Houston was 48 when she died in February in Beverly Hills.

The New York Times reports that Cissy Houston met with publishers this week in New York.

Affectionately calling her daughter “Nippy,” her childhood nickname, and appearing emotionally and physically drained, Ms. Houston met with publishers in a suite at the St. Regis Hotel, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were still going on.

Ms. Houston, 78, described the book in meetings as the real and definitive story of her daughter, the pop legend who died on Feb. 11 in Beverly Hills at the age of 48.

“It’s going to be the bad, it’s going to be the good,” she told one publisher.

Cissy Houston is said to be planning to work with a ghostwriter on the project, which may -- or may not -- deal frankly with Whitney Houston's drug use. The L.A. County coroner determined Houston's cause of death to have been drowning, along with heart disease and cocaine use.

Whitney Houston's career included a reality television show, the film "The Bodyguard," millions of record sales and six Grammy awards.

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Photo: Whitney Houston and Cissy Houston in 1995 at the taping of the "Soul Train 25th Anniversary of Hall of Fame" special. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Rodney King and the L.A. riots: When 20 years can seem like yesterday

Click to view photos from the Festival of BooksOne aspect of Los Angeles hasn't changed in the 20 years since the 1992 riots: Traffic tie-ups. Rodney King, whose March 1991 beating by L.A. police officers was the first link in the chain of events that culminated in the 1992 riots, was a half-hour late Saturday for his interview with Times columnist Patt Morrison.

So, in a sense, the session ran in reverse. With Morrison, who also anchors a radio show on KPCC, as the moderator, Angelenos spent a half-hour talking about their own experiences during and after the riots as they awaited King's arrival. The general consensus: The LAPD has changed for the better, but the socio-economic conditions that set the stage for the riots have worsened. And the racial divides are still chasms.

PHOTOS: Festival of Books

"I'm surprised at how white we are here," said one white woman, looking around at the crowd of more than 500 people in a basement auditorium at USC's Ronald Tutor Campus Center, about four miles north of where the riots began near South Central's Normandie and Florence Avenues. The woman said she lived in South Central, in a neighborhood in which she is the rare white resident. "The riots can certainly start again, until we have socio-economic changes, and in how we view other people."

King, for his part, arrived out of breath, and spoke of forgiveness for the officers involved in his videotaped beating after a high-speed chase. With his history of substance abuse, he said, he has been in need of some forgiveness. "I am a forgiving man," he said. "That's how I was raised, to be in a forgiving state of mind. I have been forgiven many times. I am only human. Who am I not to forgive someone?"

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What should Cee Lo Green's memoir be titled? [poll]

Cee Lo Green

Grand Central publishing announced Tuesday that it will publish a memoir from musician Cee Lo Green in 2013. The book, which will be written in partnership with Cee Lo's "brother from another mother" Big Gipp and the help of writer David Wild, does not yet have a title.

The platinum recording artist, multiple Grammy winner, and inveterate showman has had a remarkable career. He's succeeded through many musical phases and now appears weekly on the hit television show "The Voice." And he seems to be enjoying himself all the way. 

"After reading my book, there will be no doubt that I am meant to be," Cee Lo said in a release. "You will enter into the supernatural, the surreal and extraordinary. As Cee Lo Green, a.k.a. ‘everybody’s brother,’ I will make you a believer."

Do you believe? What should he call his memoir?

After the jump: the G-rated version of his song "Forget You," performed live.

Continue reading »
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