Happy Halloween!

 

Cowboy Song: The Authorized Biography of Thin Lizzy's Philip Lynott

You know, I've read three or four bios on Lynott and Lizzy before this one, and this will be the last one I read. The problem with all of them is a somewhat obvious one -- they never end well. They are depressing. No matter how well the book is written, it's never an enjoyable read because of how Phil's story and life ended. So what can be said about the first authorized bio of Lynott?  If you've read any of the unauthorized bios, there's very little new here.

BluGuitar AMP1

The AMP1 is a highly versatile tool for the gigging and recording musician. I’d recommend it to anyone who is tired of carrying around heavy tube amps but who’s not yet ready to go down the digital path. At the same time, it offers many different possibilities of usage without you ever feeling lost or with option paralysis. Thomas Blug has really made an effort to make an amp that suits all styles, and the tones that come out of this thing sound VERY convincing.

BOSS eBand JS-10 Jam Band Guitar/Bass Trainer

JS-10

I purchased this as a practice tool. And for that it's really good!  If you're someone who wants to work licks out over backing tracks, load your own songs in, and slow them down to learn them, this does all that. 

The features are modern and current. The sounds of the canned backing tracks aren't much better than backing tracks on drum machines were 15 years ago -- but they don't have to be. This still does the job.

A nice, desktop practice tool. 

Drum tuning and deadening before a recording session

So here's a critical piece of advice before the next session -- and it cannot be over-stated -- is take the time to deaden your drummer's kit before you record. Schedule a few hours -- at least as much as you would spend on one rehearsal, and do NOTHING but get those drums tuned and quiet. Often, the drummer will want to change heads before recording. That's fine. That's appropriate.

Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded.

I had already concluded on my own that 1971 was "best year in rock" a while back (anyone in doubt should Google "year in music 1971" and read the Wikipedia page for the albums released that year), so when I saw this book, I was curious to see how the author had covered the year where -- in many cases -- the biggest bands and artists of all time released their best albums.  I didn't know what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised.

Van Halen Rising

As the title, suggests, this book chronicles the rise of Van Halen from a Pasadena back yard party band to the rock giants they became in the late 70s. The book takes you through the band establishing itself on the debut album and first major tour. Renoff does a pretty remarkable job here of telling this story without much input from the band.  Most of it is told through interviews with the band's early friends and fans, supplemented by quoting other print interviews from band members, and sources such as DLR's autobiography Crazy from the Heat.