Fat Mike of NOFX talks about the bands new book “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”.

Mike Burkett better know to the world as Fat Mike is the bassist/lead vocalists for California punk rock band NOFX and owner of Fat Wreck Chords. Together with first time writer Jeff Alulis and his band mates Eric Melvin, Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta and Erik “Smelly” Sandin the guys have just released their first tell autobiography aptly titled “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”. The book which is being released via Da Capo Press is a down and dirty tale of punk rock debauchery told candidly by those who lived it. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Fat Mike recently about the book and also about the bands upcoming album and tour.

Adam Lawton: Where did the idea for you guys to do a book come from?

Fat Mike: It was something that we had been talking doing now for awhile. It wasn’t until I read “The Dirt” by Motley Crue that I started to take doing our own book seriously. Once I read that book it got me thinking that NOFX could do a really good book because I think our stories our better. Our stories are a little less rock and roll. I had also read the book “Please Kill Me” which really changed me as I thought the book was just so good. Our story is right up there but totally different so we said “let’s do a book”.

AL: Did the other members of the band have any reservations about doing this type of book being that it was going to go pretty deep?

FM: There were things that I knew the guys were going to be a little uneasy to talk about. Eric Melvin had never talked about being molested before and Smelly never wanted to talk about his times with Courtney Love. Those guys went in and gave it all up for the book. Smelly really told everything which makes the book his in a lot of ways. We had to wait this long to do this because 10 years ago guys wouldn’t have wanted to tell these stories. You have to get to a point in your life where you are comfortable to talk about these things. For me the chapter which talks about cross dressing was something we added at the last minute because as of 2 years ago I wasn’t ready to talk about that publicly.

AL: Was it difficult revisiting some of those darker memories that make it into the book?

FM: The chapter where I talk about killing my mom was from a very hard part of my life but at the same time I think it was one of the best things I have ever done. My mom brought me into this world and raised me and I was able to give her the greatest gift I could ever give by helping her when she needed it. I wanted to put this in the book because it’s a heroic thing to be able to do that when someone needs your help in that way. Just letting the doctors take care of it is bullshit. That’s what a coward would do. My lawyer didn’t want me to put that stuff in the book so there’s a line stating that it’s the only part of the book that’s not true. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like going back and reading some of the chapters written by former band members?

FM: The chapter with Dave Casillas was really funny because he denied a lot of the stuff at first but then by the end of his interview he said “I guess it could have all happened”.  During the older days of the band when everyone was doing a lot of drugs I only drank beer so my memory from those years is really good. I remember stuff no one else does. It’s the past 15 years that I have a problem remembering. (Laugh)  I just remember those early days so well. Nowadays we will do a House of Blues tour or something like that where everyday kind of blends into the next however, when we first started we would stay at some ones house and sleep on their floor for 3 days, get crabs and then get told not come back. (Laughs) Those are the things you remember.

AL: Were there pieces of the book done separately or were there portions that everyone worked on together?

FM: Everything was done separately. That was something that Jeff Alulis wanted so that we would be able to open up more. What I love about the book is that after reading it we all learned things about one another that we had never known. There was one part of the book I had to call Eric Melvin about just to give him a warning about what he was going to read because it’s a pretty hard thing to read.

AL: What was it like working with Jeff in this capacity as compared to the group’s previous video work with him on “Backstage Passport”?

FM: It was difficult and very trying at times. He didn’t change any of our stories but he did change some of the wording to make himself look like a better writer. (Laughs) He used words that I would have never said. It was still the same thing but he just cleaned it up a bit and made it readable. We went with someone who had never written a book before because we didn’t want someone with a lot of experience who would take our experiences and change them. Jeff felt his way through the book and the early reviews have been great so I think we made the right decision. I am really proud how it turned out.

AL: Did you notice any similarities between writing a book and writing an album?

FM: Our new album is I think our most personable album yet. For me it was like peeling off my skin. The new album which will come out in June is the first album that I wrote and recorded a lot of while I was using drugs. In the past I have always gone into the studio and recorded sober. What I found while working on this album was that I cared more. After I would do a line I became extremely focused on making whatever song I was working on the best it could be. A lot of this came from not only writing the book but also from when I was working on the “Home Street Home” musical. With a musical you can’t put in one word that’s not needed as you have 2 hours to tell an entire story. You can’t waste a word. You will definitely be able to tell the influences of the book and the musical on this new album.

AL: With a book and album coming out this year what are the bands tour plans?

FM: When we make a record we tend to not tour like a lot of other bands do. Our schedule generally doesn’t change in that we will do a two week tour, have six weeks off and then we will do another two week run of shows. With having a book out we really want it make the New York Times Best Seller list so we are going to be doing a bunch of signings and stuff like that to help promote the book. The book was already in its fifth run of printing prior to the release on April 12th so we are really excited for everything.

Be sure to check out our review of NOFX’s “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” in the book review section of the site.

 

Book Review: NOFX: “The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories”
Author: NOFX w/ Jeff Alulis
Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 368 pages

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

NOFX has been called one of the worlds most influential and controversial punk bands, but its full story has never truly been told until now. The band has sold over 8 million records, toured six continents and founded one of the most successful indie labels in the world. Together with writer/filmmaker Jeff Alulis “NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” takes a look back on more than three decades of completely inexplicable success told directly from those who lived it providing a close-up look at the punk-rock music genre and the punk-rock life.

Growing up as a skateboarding, punk rock music fan of late the late eighties and nineties I was extremely anxious to get a hold of this book. Written much like Motley Crue’s famous/infamous tell all “The Dirt” “NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” is a similar tale of debauchery minus the excess and stereotypical “Rock n Roll” life. Instead you get an in-depth look at the seedier underbelly of rock n’ roll bastard step son know as Punk Rock. Over the course of the books 368 pages band members from past and present tell their tales of trial and tribulations while wading through a cesspool of filth consisting of drugs, murder, suicide and the occasional S&M occurrence. After reading some of these stories it’s a complete miracle that the band is around to tell these let alone have enough memory to recount the tales so vividly and in such detail. Bassist “Fat Mike” Burkett, Guitarist Erik Melvin, Drummer Erik “Smelly” Sandin and Guitarist Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta along with a list of other notables keep your attention page after page making this book damn near impossible to put down. Spread out amongst the tales of punk rock madness are tons of rare photos and show fliers from all stages of the bands career which only seem to add to the books over all appeal.

“NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories” is definitely not for the faint of heart. The book and its writers pull no punches as they are both candid and real as they can be in this mesmerizing tale of the true punk rock life. Even if you have never heard of the band NOFX or its members do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book!

Also be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Fat Mike in the interview portion of the site.

Book Review: Barney Hoskyns “Small Town Talk”

“Small Town Talk Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock”

Author: Barney Hoskyns
Publisher: Da Capo
Hardcover: 402 pages

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

In the 1960’s when musicians in the New York City folk scene decided to “get it together in the country,” they headed to Woodstock. There manager Alan Grossman established his personal fiefdom of studios and restaurants where the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield and Todd Rundgren mixed and mingled with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. “Small Town Talk” tells Woodstock’s story from its earliest days as a bohemian arts colony to its ongoing life as a cultural satellite of New York City.

Author Barney Hoskyns delves deep into a period of time when some of the period’s biggest singer/songwriters were leaving the crowded cities for the peaceful wooded areas which lay waiting just a few hours away. Tons of great stories are heard here for the first time as the book evolves just as the scene in the Catskills did. As you read page after page you never know who you are going to bump into from that time period which was something I found kept me looking forward to that next page. Hoskyns doesn’t only include just the big players of the time but does a great job of incorporating the community that this scene engulfed and how that era shaped what the town became and how it still remains to this day. “Small Town Talk” is simply not just a book for fans of the 60’s or its accompanying soundtrack as it has a little something for everyone. Woodstock was and is more than just a mud filled 3 day music fest and Barney Hoskyns latest book proves that.

Book Review: Lita Ford “Living Like A Runaway”

“Living Like a Runaway”

Author: Lita Ford
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Hardcover: 272 pages
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Living Like a Runaway” provides a never before glimpse into the life of musician Lita Ford. The child of immigrants, she had a near idyllic southern California upbringing until she was thrust onto the hedonistic rock and roll scene at the age of just 16. With nearly unmatched skills, Lita along with Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and under the guidance of Kim Fowley brought the band the Runaway’s to a meteoric rise during the mid to late 1970’s. After the groups break up Lita go on to see tremendous success as a solo artist in the 1980’s. Fearless, revealing and, compulsively readable the long awaited memoir from a true rock pioneer is finally here.

“Living Like a Runaway” is a quick read that keeps the reader’s attention over the course of its 272 pages. Ford speaks candidly about her upbringing and how she was thrust at an early age in to the male dominated hard rock music scene. The book covers the early days of the Runaway a group who had to practically fight for everything they had before ultimately imploding after only 3 albums. From there Ford recounts her career as a solo artist from not knowing where to start to her chart topping duet with Ozzy Osbourne. It is all here. The part of the book that really struck me as odd as over the books 15 chapters Ford has no problem speaking of past sexual encounters with various hard rock legends however when it comes to explaining more of her issues related to former band members and the divorce which left her alienated from her two sons Ford quickly skirts around the issue either saying she doesn’t understand or in the case of the later includes a statement flat out saying she is refusing to talk about it. In the age of the internet where nothing is private what is the sense of putting out a “tell all” type memoir if that’s not exactly what you are going to do? At least you are able to tell your side.

Despite whatever the reasons were for omitting certain details the book is still a decent read for fans of Lita and her works. With not a lot of behind the scenes info on the Runaway’s especially there time in Japan, Lita Ford’s “Living Like a Runaway” does an ok job filling that void.

Book Review: “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”

“Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”
Author: Bob Mehr
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Hardcover: 520 pages w/ 32 pages of black and white photographs

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Trouble Boys” is the first definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ rolls bands of the twentieth century: The Replacements. With the participation of the group’s key members including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson- Author Bob Mehr is able to tell the real story. Additionally based on interviews conducted with family, friends, managers and musical colleagues, Mehr paints a deeply intimate portrait of the band. Far more than a conventional band bio, “Trouble Boys” is heartbreakingly tragic, frequently comic and ultimately a triumphant tale.

Right away I was interested in picking up this book and learning more about a band I was fairly late to discover in my music listening exploits. The Replacements were always a band I saw cited as an influence of some of my favorite artists however I had limited knowledge of the actual group aside from guitarist Paul Westerberg. As a cautionary mention before I go too far do yourself a favor and brush up on your Replacements knowledge prior to diving into this book’s immense 520 pages. Time and time again the author sites numerous names, events and locations both big and small all throughout the book and with limited knowledge of the bands career the reader can easily become lost. At several points during my reading I found myself having to go back over sections to find where the book was at as the story of just the band and its members is easily lost amidst miniscule details that were explained in far more detail than they probably needed to be leaving me to seriously question the books editing.

What “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” lacks in being clear and concise makes up for the shortcoming in content as I stated before the book is very detailed. The addition of 32 pages of photos was also a very cool addition. Hardcore Replacements fans will already have this book on their radar but more casual listeners may also want to take notice as this book will be a welcome addition to any music fans reading library.

 

 

Book Review “Star Wars: The Force Inside”

“Star Wars: The Force Inside”
Author: Put Me In The Story
Hardcover: 40 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In a galaxy far, far away, everyone must decide where their true allegiance lies. Are you Jedi or Sith? All the most powerful heroes and villains in the Star Wars universe are here to reveal “Star Wars: The Force Inside” First Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia ask questions to guide you and help you become a Jedi Master. Then the dark side of the Force will try to sway you as you flip the book over and meet General Grievous, Darth Vader and a long list of other characters from the dark side.

Just in time for the holidays is the latest offering from Put Me In The Story. “Star Wars: The Force Inside” is a hardcover bound 40 page adventure book that puts the reader directly in the story. Through www.Putmeinthestory.com readers can put theirs or their loved ones name and photo directly in the story making for a truly unique gift giving experience. “The Force Inside” offers two different reading experiences which allows you to follow either the path of the Jedi or that of the Sith with corresponding characters guiding you on your journey. Though some of the name placement points seemed a bit generic the quality of the product more than made up for it as the books hardcover and brightly detailed glossy pages made for an experience that was very appealing to the eye. Each story is about 20 pages and introduces the reader to a number of characters from the “Star Wars” universe which for me was really fun as you didn’t know who or what to expect from page to page.

Though the book is probably best suited for early readers and up the variety of pictures offer an enjoyable experience for “Star Wars” fans of all ages. With a price tag of $39.99 your getting a quality made item sure to provide hours of fun making this a great addition to the list of any would be Jedi/Sith Lord.

Book Review “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero”

Author: Jon Robinson
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: September 8, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I like to think that I drew up in the heyday of the wrestling. I remember the wrestling greats of that time including Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramone, The Undertaker and my personal all time favorite the Ultimate Warrior. This guy was a absolute nut case when it ran out to the ring! I remember seeing him live at an event probably in 1991 or 1992 and going insane when he came out. His energy was like nothing I had ever seen and probably still unmatched today. He went up against legends like Hulk Hogan in matches like the epic battle of Wrestlemania VI. I vividly remember watching this pay-per-view event in my living room with all my friends at the time as a kid. Times like this are unforgettable. Unfortunately, the legend is no longer with us…but thanks to the WWE, his legend will live in forever. “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero” is an amazing tribute to one of the best wrestlers in the business. Triple H kicks off the book with a great introduction. Even with all the feuds in the business, I enjoyed getting reading this opening. Dana Warrior also gives a heartfelt foreword to the this book giving us an inside look at the Warrior outside of the ring. This book is a must own for any wrestling fan!

Official Premise: With signature moves like the Warrior Splash, epic battles against Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Macho Man Randy Savage, and The Undertaker, and impassioned speeches that struck fear into his opponents and inspired warriors across the nation, the late Ultimate Warrior became one of the most revered figures in WWE history. Here, for the first time, the complete legend of The Ultimate Warrior is told in full, from his humble beginnings as a self-proclaimed “small, insecure kid who wasn’t into any sports” to his rise to WWE fame as the most powerful force in the universe. Through both action and candid photographs, personal ephemera, including original Warrior art and detailed journal entries, insider stories and exclusive interviews with WWE legends, and intimate accounts from the Warrior family, this unique biography brings the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior to life like never before. Relive the Warrior’s most intense matches and rivalries, and get to know the man behind the face paint in this one-of-a-kind volume. Filled with intense action and little-known details, Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever is a celebration of the Superstar who left an inimitable mark on WWE and redefined sports entertainment for generations.

Insight Editions always delivers the most informative and books on the market. They are also innovate with their releases. If you were a fan of the Ultimate Warrior you will recall his ribbons from his wrists. Well this book has ribbons included as a clever way to hold your page (see image). This book is jam packed with information about the former wrestler, his career and his life. I really enjoyed this book since it wasn’t just a flashy biography. It was also has a very intimate feel to it as well. The images in the book are absolutely gorgeous and easily transport me back to my favorite days of wrestling. In fact it makes me want to go back and re-watch old Wrestlemania events! This is a book that I can look through for years to come. There is so much included in this that you would need to go slowly through with a fine comb to absorb everything. Even though the Warrior is no longer with us, it is books like this that are going to carry on his name and keep him in the spotlight that he deserves. I will proudly be displaying this book prominently on my coffee tables for months to come.

Photo provided by Insight Editions. © 2015 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review “Let There Be GWAR”

“Let There Be GWAR”
Compiled by: Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: Gingko Press Inc

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Let There Be GWAR” gives fans around the world the most comprehensive guide to the greatest band ever created. From their early start in the bowels of a dilapidated Dairy factory in Richmond, Virginia to their spread across the land like a disease through the 1990’s and 2000’s. “Let There be Gwar” is a record and testament to all that is GWAR as it takes you through their kingdom via photos, band posters and interviews along with chronicling their albums, comics and video all in one nicely blood stained hardbound book.

Scumdogs around the universe can now rejoice as for the first time ever the history of all things GWAR can be found in one place. Over 350 pages of rare photos, interviews and art make up this hard cover book which I found do be just an amazing piece. “Let There be Gwar” acts almost like a time machine in that it gives you that fly on the wall perspective during some of the band earliest moments and then as it progresses you are given a front row seat during the bands rise to total domination. Photos of characters like Sleazy P. Martini, Sexecutioner and Slymenstra Hymen along with the master himself Oderus Urungus and his other cohorts both current and from years past adorn the glossy pages amidst interview clippings and a random spew stain here and there.

If you’re a GWAR fan this book obviously is for you as everything from the bands early years referred to by members as the “Dim time” to the more recent incarnation of the band and the inception of the yearly slaughter fest known as the “Gwarbbq” you get it all! Though the books $50 price tag might discourage lesser fans from picking this book up I assure you that those willing to part with their cash will not be disappointed with this really great looking book.
.

Book Review “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”

“Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”
Author: Marky Ramone w/ Rich Herschlag
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Touchstone

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When punk rock reared its spiky head in the early seventies, Marc Bell had the best seat in the house. From his early days with one of America’s first metal bands Dust to CBGB’s staples Wayne County and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Marc was there. In 1978 Marc Bell joined The Ramones becoming Marky Ramone and that’s where the real story begins. “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” is an honest look inside the world of a punk icon.

Over the course of the books 400 plus pages Marc/Marky takes us on a journey like no other. From his early years growing up on the mean streets of New York City to his countless adventures around the globe with The Ramones it’s all here. Sure there have been several other books from Ramones members recounting their times with the band but for me those stories took more of a back seat as Marky’s tales of getting his first record deal to performing with the transsexual Wayne County during the early seventies when even the mention of transsexual behavior was something that was just not done, were the ones that grabbed my attention and made this book really stand out. T hough I questioned some of the books editing its 15 pages of color photos and the books straight forward approach makes this a must have for not just Ramones fans but for fans of music in general.

Book Review: “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Series: Classic Seuss
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12, 1947

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have read many Dr. Seuss books over the years. The usual suspects are titles like “The Lorax”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”. Well between you and me (and all of our readers), I personally have never read “McElligot’s Pool” or at least I don’t remember reading it. My folks might have read it to me when I was a kid. I did learn that this was a very important book, released in 1947, from Dr. Seuss since it was the first Seuss title to feature full-color art on every other page.

Official Premise: This adventurous picture book tells of Marco-who first imagined an extraordinary parade in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street-as he daydreams of all the possibilities that await him while he fishes in McElligot’s Pool. Optimistic and exciting, this tale is the perfect bait, and readers young and old will be hooked on this fish-tastic favorite.

Having a three year old daughter, she already loves Dr. Seuss, thanks to PBS’ “The Cat in the Hat Knows A lot About That”.  So when we received this book, we immediately had to sit down and read it. It was a very exciting moment because it wasn’t just the first time for her, like I said, it was also a first for myself. The book, like all Seuss stories, is such a fun read. Nearly 70 years and this book has not lost any charm, it still engaged both of us through every word.

If you are wondering why are we reviewing a near 70 year old book, it is because we were asked to join the Dr. Seuss Classic Celebratory Tour!, which includes reviews from all different blogs covering the first 44 books from Dr. Seuss in preparation for the release of the lost book, “What Pet Should I Get?”. Check out below for a complete list of the tour and also enter here for a chance to win the newest Dr. Seuss book.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young Folks.com
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 – Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 – Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 – Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  – Jesse the Reader
ABOUT DR. SEUSS
Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

 

A Look at BookCon 2015

On May 30th and 31st, the Javits Center opened its doors to the 2015 BookCon. This event, described by its organizers as a place “where storytelling and pop culture collide,” saw both an increase in attendance and size this year. With author and celebrity Q&A’s, panels, autographing areas, meet and greets, interactive events and quizzes, and special screenings, BookCon had something for everyone this year. Many publishing tables offered free posters, postcards, tote bags, and books to attendees, while a booth downstairs offered many of the invited guests’ books for sale. While there were a few organizational issues, most of the attendees had nothing but praise for the event and cited huge organizational and regulatory improvements to last year’s BookCon, including the popular wristband policy that ReedPop affected with its most recent New York City Comic Con. While the event boasted a wide range of book genres represented, it definitely felt as if the young adult crowd was the most prevalent, especially with the many Youtubers in attendance this year. Next year, the event will be moving to Chicago and will take place on May 14th. Below are some snapshots from the event.

Randall Wallace Talks About “Living the Braveheart Life”

Randall Wallace may not be a man you know by name, but you most definitely know his work. A prolific screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter, he is most well known for writing the films Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, Pearl Harbor, and Heaven is for Real. His Braveheart screenplay garnered him a Writers Guild of America Award and both a Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In addition to writing, he is also the producer behind films such as We Were Soldiers, as well as being the director of Secretariat and Heaven is for Real, among others. I was lucky enough to sit down with Mr. Wallace to discuss the release of his upcoming book: Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart. The book itself is an interesting read, as it is both biographical and motivational, asking readers to ask themselves what it is they are willing to die for. Readers will learn the story behind the story of the Braveheart script, while learning about the man who wrote it.

You’ve written in quite a few different mediums- songs, books, screenplays- how does your writing process differ between them?

“I think about that a lot, and I never have a consistent answer. I think that everything that’s true is complicated. Everything that’s true has a paradox about it. You’re trying to find the most simple way to say something and finding that simplicity is what’s difficult. There has to be a great deal of courage to start the writing journey. Writing is an act of faith.”

You write a lot of stories of these epic adventures where the everyman steps up to become the hero. With that in mind, do you ever see your own story being turned into any sort of film in the future?

“I don’t know. (laughs) Robert Redford is a little old to play me now. Honestly, I think it would be a hard story to tell. I know it because I try to tell it in some ways in this book. I have three sons, and I wonder at times what their perception of me is because in some ways, their’s is the only one I care about. Everybody else’s opinion of me is whatever it is, but their’s matters, and it matters not so much in what it says about me, but what it says about them. You know, to them, I might sit down and scribble away on a piece of paper and get paid for it, but behind that there are the thousand rejections and nights of despair. I want you to know that I was as much alive when no one knew who I was as I am now. I hesitated about writing this book because really Braveheart is the story, and in movies, maybe you don’t need to see behind the curtain- why would you want to? In a certain way, I think my life is a movie- it’s called Braveheart, it’s called Pearl Harbor. In a way, I can express more of the truth of whatever is me through that stories that move me.”

What’s next for you? Are there any projects you can share?

“I’ve got a new project that is about military working dogs- the SEAL team dogs. The dogs are warriors too, and the interplay between not just human and canine but the sense that we all want to find what is essential in ourselves so that we can make contact with it. In Heaven is for Real, it was a really a deep exploration into spirit and faith. Now I want to do something that’s gritty.”

Randall Wallace’s Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart is available for pre-order now and will go on sale September 8, 2015.

Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe talks about new album “Resolution” and his memoir “Dark Days”

Randall Blythe is probably best known for his work as lead singer of the band Lamb of God. In 2012 while on tour in support of their latest album “Resolution” Blythe was arrested upon entry into the Czech Republic as part of an investigation related to the death a fan at one of the bands shows 2 years prior. “Dark Days: A Memoir” is the first book release by Randy which details this ordeal from the days leading up to the arrest and the roller coaster ride which ensued during the preceding months. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Randy recently about the book, what it was like reliving those experiences and also about the bands upcoming album and summer tour run.

Adam Lawton: What was it like going back through your journals and reliving those experiences during the writing of the book?

Randy Blythe: I think people were looking for me to have some sort of cathartic experience during the writing of this book and it just wasn’t. For the most part it was an unpleasant experience. It wasn’t fun while I was going through it and it wasn’t fun writing it. I think the story has value and there are some things in there that might help some people actually. I think this story needed to be told before my memories faded too much. I was thankful for the journals I had. It was weird to look back at them and read about this low point in my life. This wasn’t the first time I had looked back at journals where things weren’t going well but when I looked back at this specific journal and the fact that I was writing it while in a Czech prison was really heavy. There are some funny parts in the book but for the most part it was not a lot of fun going back. I learned a lot about the writing process through this whole thing but again it wasn’t very enjoyable.

AL: Did you have to do a lot of self editing when you were making your way through the chapters?

RB: I all heard was that we have to amputate things. (Laughs) That was more at the very end. Prior to that I was able to just write and write. When I write I am very clean and careful so there is not a lot of re-writing that has to be done. Aside from some grammatical era’s which the copy editors handled there wasn’t a lot of restructuring. When I first started I had this sort of romantic view of a writer/editor relationship as I had read stories about writers that I liked that had these intense relationships with their editors where they fought back and forth about what was going in the book. That’s what I was expecting but instead I got a lot of encouragement which is what I needed. I guess I wanted my hand held a little bit through the process but, I didn’t get that. (Laughs)

AL: Was there ever any worry about bringing further attention to these events and their relationship to the band?

RB: I had to examine that and certainly think about it for awhile. I don’t think there can be much more attention drawn to the situation that what has already happened. Anytime an article or something comes out whether its something it’s something as simple as going to Disney Land the events from the Czech Republic are going to be mentioned. No matter if it’s applicable or not it gets mentioned. There’s just so much misinformation out there about this that I figured if it’s going to be talked about I might as well set the record straight. If this brings the story to new people then at least they will know the real story. It won’t be something they found on the internet which needed to be put through Google translator or something like that. They get the straight dope from me. I wrote the book in a way that people from outside the metal scene will understand. I wanted people not from that world to read this as well. There is enough universal treatment and value related to personal accountability that no matter where you are in life you can relate to a degree.

AL: When this is all done do you feel you will be able to close the book on maybe just a small piece of that experience?

RB: Yes. I know I am going to be still continually asked about this but once press and everything is done for the book and it gets brought up later on I can just refer people to the 500 page book I wrote about it. That’s it. Just a very short answer as the book has everything people need to know about what happened.

AL: The first two songs from the band’s new album “512” and “Overlord” are quite different from one another can you tell us about that and if there was anything different in the creative process this time around for you guys?

RB: “Overlord” is actually the first song the guys have done where I can sing over the top of it. It isn’t a bid deal or something that was done consciously. One day Willie was playing some blues licks and I started humming along and that’s really all that happened. It just was very natural and organic. As far as how things were done with this album it was all the same. We have been doing this for 21 years now so we aren’t reinventing the wheel or anything like that. We have been doing this a long time and it is what it is. We just try and grow as musicians with each new album.

AL: The band kicks off a summer tour run in a few weeks can you tell us about that and any other plans you guys might have for 2015?

RB: We will be out on the road with Slipknot for 8 weeks. After that we have about a month off before heading over to South America for 3 shows. After that we head to Europe for about 5 weeks with Children of Bodom and then we will be in the UK with Megadeth.

AL: After what happened in the Czech Republic does traveling to these other countries every worry you at all?

RB: No. From time to time when I’m walking down the jet way I do get a little nervous. (Laughs) I have been around the world twice and it wasn’t ever like I was in hiding for two years or something like that. I was right back on the road immediately after everything was over.

Be sure to check out our review of “Dark Days: A Memoir” in the review section of the site.

Dark Days: A Memoir Hardcover by D. Randall Blythe

“Dark Days: A Memoir”
Author: D. Randall Blythe
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lamb of God vocalist D. Randall Blythe finally tells the world his story around the arrest, incarceration, trial and acquittal for the charge of manslaughter in the Czech Republic over the tragic and accidental death of a concertgoer. Riveting, bold and brutally honest “Dark Days: A Memoir” isn’t your everyday rock and roll memoir.

Having followed the story from when it first broke that Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic on charges of suspected manslaughter related to a death following the bands concert 2 years prior, this book was a no brainer for me to check out. This is not your typical tell all memoir filled with debotcherous tales from the road. Instead you get the inside story from the man who lived these terrifying events. Blythe recounts his experiences in such a way that you almost feel the emotion coming from the words on the pages.

From the days leading up to his unexpected arrest to the accounts of dealing with the arduous process of understand the Czech legal system all the while trying to recount the events of what was thought to be just another day on tour from 2 years ago. Spliced in between chapters related to the events in Czech Republic Blythe talks about his struggles with alcoholism and his recent rehabilitation and how his rough past growing up as an outcast teen in Richmond, VA shaped who he is today and how he handled himself throughout this horrific ordeal.

“Dark Days” is not just for fans of Lamb of God or heavy metal. The book is a must for anyone interested in a unique story of injustice and the long arduous journey one man took to clear his name by returning to a foreign country to stand trial against the charges set forth by a country that clearly wanted to make an example of this individual.

Book Review “You’re Making Me Hate You” by Corey Taylor

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left”
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left” or “You’re Making Me Hate You” for short is the third book from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. The book is a no punches pulled critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves as documented by the one and only Mr. Taylor himself.

Never one to shy away from his opinions or thoughts Corey Taylor delivers and honest and in your face account of daily occurrences that well as the title suggests makes him hate you. The first few chapters are fun and fairly enjoyable to read however as the book progresses I quickly lost interest as the chapters became predictable and somewhat repetitive. At times Taylor seems to ramble off on side topics which may or may not directly relate to the chapters unique title and no matter how much was or wasn’t related to the initial topic the stories lost my interest.

Fan’s of Taylor’s will surely want to check out the book if not just to have but to also take a little peek into the writers interesting thoughts however if you are looking for some sort of tell all behind the scenes like Taylor’s previous works then you may want to skip this one