Dey Street Books to Publish New Book From Legendary Musician Dave Grohl

Dey Street Books, an imprint of the William Morrow Group at HarperCollins, announced today that they will publish THE STORYTELLER by Grammy-winning musician, documentary filmmaker, and fledgling author Dave Grohl. Dey Street VP and Editorial Director Carrie Thornton negotiated the deal with WME. Grohl is managed by Silva Artist Management. The book will go on sale October 5, 2021 and will also be published in UK & Commonwealth (Simon & Schuster), Finland (Bazar), Germany (Ullstein), Holland (A.W. Bruna), and Italy (Rizzoli).

Dave Grohl has been one of the most beloved and respected figures on the international music scene since his recorded debut with Nirvana on 1991’s generation-defining Nevermind. Grohl took center stage with Foo Fighters’ 1995 self-titled debut, the first of 10 albums in a massive 12-Grammy-winning streak, most recently including the #1 album sales charting Medicine at Midnight. Grohl has traveled the planet doing the thing he loves most—playing rock n roll marathons for tens of thousands of ecstatic Foo Fighter fans. But when the pandemic necessitated going into lockdown, Grohl took stock of how he might use this moment of pause. Channeling his creativity into writing and using his remarkable skill for storytelling, in May 2020 he wrote a moving reflection for The Atlantic on missing the thrill of live music during the Covid era that went viral. Then, ending a longstanding self-imposed exile from social media, Grohl’s new Instagram account @davestruestories was born. This new platform became a way for Dave to share his extraordinary (and funny) stories with fans and fellow music nuts and now, Grohl is set to build upon that momentum with his first book.  

Grohl’s new book is as much a celebration of music as it is about the moments that have molded him into the man he is today. From hilarious childhood mishaps, touching family moments, leaving home to see the world at eighteen, to spectacular stories about Nirvana, Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney, playing drums for Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, performing at the White House, and even swing dancing with AC/DC, with all love, laughs, loss, and embarrassments along the way, THE STORYTELLER is a fascinating look at a life lived loud. 

“There is a common thread that runs throughout everything that I do: storytelling. Whether in song, documentary film or on the page, I have always felt compelled to share moments from my life. This inclination is a huge part of what excites me creatively but also as a human being. In March 2020, realizing that my day job with the Foo Fighters was going to go on hold, I started an Instagram account (@davestruestories) and decided to focus all of my creative energy on writing some of my stories down, something I love doing but I’ve never really had the time for. I soon found that the reward I felt every time I posted a story was the same as the feeling I get when playing a song to an audience, so I kept on writing. The response from readers was a soul-filling as any applause in an arena. So, I took stock of all the experiences I’ve had in my life-incredible, difficult, funny and emotional-and decided it was time to finally put them into words. Now with the amazing people at Dey Street books I’m excited and honored to announce THE STORYTELLER, a collection of memories of a life lived loud. From my early days growing up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, to hitting the road at the age of 18, and all the music that followed, I can now share these adventures with the world, as seen and heard from behind the microphone. Turn it up!” Grohl says.

“From the second I saw Dave’s first post on Instagram, I knew I was going to publish his book. Well, to be honest, I’ve been hoping to publish Dave Grohl’s book since I became a book editor. I’m a Gen-Xer. I’m from Virginia just like Dave. We grew up listening to a lot of the same music. I’ve always admired his Puckish personality and his awesome musicianship. It turns out that he can write with as much energy and passion as he performs. Plus, he’s a spectacular human who cares deeply about his mom, his family, his bandmates, music, art and the world. All of that passion comes through in his stories and in THE STORYTELLER. I am a lucky editor indeed, but mostly because I get to read the book first,” says Thornton. 

DAVE GROHL is a 16-time Grammy-winning musician and 2-time Emmy-winning director.

Dave Grohl has been one of the most beloved and respected figures on the international music scene since his recorded debut with Nirvana on 1991’s generation-defining Nevermind. Grohl took center stage with Foo Fighters’ 1995 self-titled debut, the first album in massive 12-Grammy-winning catalogue that now includes The Colour & The Shape (1997), There Is Nothing Left To Lose (1999), One By One (2002), In Your Honor (2005), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007), Wasting Light (2011), Sonic Highways (2014), Concrete and Gold (2017) and, most recently, Medicine at Midnight (2021).

Grohl has a well-earned reputation as a prolific collaborator: His various endeavors have included “Cut Me Some Slack,” written and recorded with Paul McCartney and Grohl’s Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear; Them Crooked Vultures, formed with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme, late legends David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, as well as Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Elton John, Nine Inch Nails, Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen, to name a few.

In 2013, Grohl made his debut as a feature director/producer with the acclaimed documentary Sound City. Named for the Van Nuys CA studio where Nirvana recorded Nevermind in 1991, which would sell more than 30 million copies and transform the modern musical landscape. Premiering to unanimous raves at Sundance and achieving a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Sound City focused both on the history of the legendary studio and on the ongoing fight to preserve the human element of music. Hailed by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone as an “exhilarating documentary about what makes life worth living,” by The New York Times as “candy to several generations’ worth of rock fans” and NPR as “a celebration of just how unbelievably awesome it is to make rock music for a living,” Sound City has since been certified as a Gold Longform Video by the RIAA, while the Sound City—Real To Reel companion album took the 2013 Grammys for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Rock Song (“Cut Me Some Slack”). 

Grohl also directed the eight-part HBO docuseries Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, which premiered in October 2014 and went on to win two of the four Emmys for which it was nominated (outstanding sound mixing for nonfiction programming and outstanding sound editing for nonfiction programming). Described by Grohl as a love letter to the history of American music, Sonic Highways was comprised of eight one-hour episodes, each chronicling the creation of one song on Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways album, each written and recorded in a different American musical landmark — Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. 

BLACK VEIL BRIDES Founder Andy Biersack Releases Audiobook of His #1 Selling Autobiography “They Don’t Need To Understand Stories Of Hope, Fear, Family, Life And Never Giving In”

Book Written With Longtime Collaborator Ryan J. Downey  Now Available Via Rare Bird Books

Singer, songwriter, actor, podcast host and comic book creator are all descriptions that can be used when talking about Black Veil Brides founder Andy Biersack. Now #1 selling author can also be added to that list with the release of his autobiography They Don’t Need To Understand (Rare Bird Books)The book, co-written by longtime collaborator Ryan J. Downey, is currently the #1 release on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Rock Music. The book also finds itself at #2 in Rock Band Biographies, #20 in Actor & Entertainer Biographies on Amazon, and has 4.7 out of 5 stars with customer reviews. The audiobook – read by Biersack – is now available everywhere audiobooks are sold or fans can go to Audiobooks.com or Audible.com to order.

“I am so thankful for the incredible reception the book has had and it means the world to me to know that my story has resonated with so many people all over the world. This whole experience has been a dream come true,” explains Andy Biersack. 

Before he was the charismatic singer of Black Veil Brides and an accomplished solo artist under the Andy Black moniker, he was Andrew Dennis Biersack, an imaginative and creative kid in Cincinnati, Ohio, struggling with anxiety, fear, loneliness, and the impossible task of fitting in. With his trademark charm, clever wit, and insightful analysis, Biersack tells the story of his childhood and adolescence. The discovery of the artistic passions that would shape his life, and his decision to move to Hollywood after his 18th birthday to make his dreams come true, even when it meant living in his car to make it all a reality. It’s the origin story of one of modern rock’s most exciting young superheroes, from building miniature concerts with KISS action figures in his bedroom to making the RIAA gold-certified single “In the End” and connecting with passionate fans worldwide.

Black Veil Brides are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the upcoming album The Phantom Tomorrow– scheduled for release via Sumerian Records in 2021More information on the latest musical creation from Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton and Christian Coma will be available in the near future. 

About Andy Biersack: Andy Biersack is the singer of Black Veil Brides and performs as a solo artist under the name Andy Black. He’s acted in both film and television, conceived the graphic novel The Ghost of Ohio, and co-created The Andy Show podcast. Andy has appeared on the covers of tastemaker rock music publications like Kerrang!, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and Revolver and shares content with millions of followers across social media. He was the host and head writer of the 2017 Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards. He lives in Southern California with his wife, singer Juliet Simms, and their three pets.

About Ryan J. Downey: Ryan J. Downey worked as writer, producer, reporter, host, and editor for a number of media brands, including MTV News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel, IFC, Lionsgate, Hearst Media, and MSNBC. He is the founder of Superhero Artist Management, representing rock bands and producers, and PopCurse, in Southern California.

About Black Veil Brides: Like their band name suggests, Black Veil Brides evoke transcendent visions of an impenetrable hereafter, intermingling with a steely focus on the dark passions and elusive mysteries of the here and now. A romantic fantasy first summoned in a small town by founder Andy Biersack – a creative who was fascinated with death rock, theatricality, and monsters (both real and imagined). It wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that the unstoppable force the band is currently was finalized. The band (and its members Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton, Christian Coma) Instagram and Twitter accounts command close to 10 million followers between them. Vale, the group’s most recent full-length album, went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. In the hearts and minds of their fans, Black Veil Brides represents an unwillingness to compromise and a resistance to critics (personal and professional), fueled by the same fire as the group’s own heroes, the iconoclasts whose creative output, once dismissed, is now canonized.

SUBLIME PARTNERS WITH Z2 COMICS FOR AN ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL CELEBRATING THEIR ICONIC LEGACY


The Legendary SoCal Band Announces Their First-Ever Graphic Novel Available to Preorder 
Now Featuring Special Editions With Covers By Longtime Sublime Artists Opie Ortiz and DJ Product ©1969

Z2 COMICS continues to roll out news of some of their most ambitious projects yet, with today’s announcement of the RYAN CADY-written graphic novel chronicling the misadventures of one of the most defining bands of the last three decades, the Long Beach, reggae-punk institution, SUBLIME!

The laid-back Long Beach trio spawned an entire genre—fusing reggae grooves, punk grittiness, ska energy, back-porch folk introspection, and hip-hop swagger.  

Those disparate sounds first collided back in 1988, when the gregarious Bradley Nowell paired up with a sturdy, simpatico rhythm section—bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh—and quickly amassed a cult following in the SoCal scene.  Sublime found their niche at house parties: uniting Rastas, surfers, skaters, frat boys, cholos and ink-covered outcasts with a free-flowing melting pot approach that, much like the region itself, was impossible to pigeonhole.  The band goes from playing backyard parties and selling cassettes out of the trunks of their cars to creating an entirely new and revolutionary blend of chart topping music. 

Xanadu meets Superbad in this heartfelt anthology of SUBLIME legends brought to life by RYAN CADY (Green Lantern, Poppy’s Inferno), AUDREY MOK (Archie), ALEX DIOTTO (Youth), HAYDEN SHERMAN (Angel & Spike), LOGAN FAERBER (‘Namwolf), rising stars BILL MASUKU,ROBERT AHMAD and more. Featuring brand-new cover artwork by SUBLIME family members OPIE ORTIZ and DJ PRODUCT ©1969! Plus: the one and only LOU-DOG!

SCOTT SEINE, of Sublime’s management company Surfdog/DKM, adds “We knew the band’s iconic music always had the added elements behind it of their history of hijinks, anti-authority attitude and follow-no-rules lifestyle, and this combination would make for an amazing comic book the fans would cherish. So a Z2 Comics collaboration was a no-brainer.”

“When you grow up in SoCal like I did, Sublime’s music is this powerful background radiation, permeating the culture” says writer RYAN CADY“You hear it everywhere. Opie’s sun is everywhere–stickers of it slapped on taco stand walls, sharpie-tagged inside of every high school bathroom, screen-printed in every possible iteration. I saw these guys like neighbors, and as I research the human moments underneath their phenomenon with Bud and Eric, I get to share that feeling with everyone who picks up the book.” 

Publisher JOSH FRANKEL says “The gritty California sounds of Sublime transcended location and musical genres to foster a state of mind in listeners from coast to coast and beyond.  Our book will highlight Sublime’s vast musical influences and behind-the-scenes stories, all centered around the unbreakable bonds of friendship, and continuing in the tradition of essential graphic biopics we established with our GRATEFUL DEAD and CHARLIE PARKER releases last year.” 

Decades after Nowell’s untimely death, they remain an institution: They’ve sold over 20 million albums to date; their music still fills the airwaves and their merchandise, emblazoned with the iconic sun logo, dominates sales at retailers across America. 

Most importantly, the music remains timeless—a rite of passage for misfit listeners who refuse to color within the lines of conventional genre.  

The SUBLIME: $5 AT THE DOOR graphic novel clocks in at 120 pages and will be released in a standard soft and hardcover editions in comic shops and bookstores alike in June 2021, with a special deluxe edition, and highly limited super deluxe edition available for preorder now exclusively through the Z2 website! Deluxe and super deluxe edition include a special first-time vinyl edition of the Doin’ Time EP, unavailable elsewhere, as well as exclusive prints, Lou-Dog toy and more!

A Conversation with Author and Filmmaker Nicholas Meyer

It’s hard enough establishing yourself as one of the best in one field.  Nicholas Meyer has achieved this goal in several.  His first novel, “The Seven Per-Cent Solution,” introduced a new generation of fans to the exploits of Baker Street’s best known sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. 

Following the enthusiastic greeting of the film version of the novel, for which Meyer wrote the script, he made his film directorial debut with 1979’s time-travel classic “Time after Time.” For his next project he simply created the greatest “Star Trek” film in the series when he took the helm on “Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan.” 

Mr. Meyer then proceeded to frighten everyone living in the Midwest with the television film “The Day After,” which told the story of the town of Lawrence, Kansas dealing with the devastating effects of a nuclear bomb. Twenty years after the film aired my son went to the University of Kansas, which is in Lawrence, and the first thing I thought of was this film. 

His other films include “Volunteers” with Tom Hanks and John Candy; “Company Business” with Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov (which he also wrote) and the final adventure for the Original Series cast, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

Stepping back from directing after his wife passed away from breast cancer at the age of 36, Mr. Meyer has continued to write, not only novels but for both the big and small screen.  Mr. Meyer recently took some time out of his schedule to talk about his career, past, present and future. I should note that I am posting this on Christmas Eve, Mr. Meyer’s 75th birthday. Happy birthday sir!

Mike Smith:  You graduated from Iowa State with a degree in filmmaking and drama.  You also wrote film reviews (hope for me to yet to become successful).  What was your career goal upon graduation?  Acting?  Directing?

Nicolas Meyer:  My motives were doubtless inchoate.  All I knew was I wanted to “Make Movies” (I’m guessing I meant Directing), but hadn’t much of any idea how to go about it.

MS:  Your first success was the Sherlock Holmes novel “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.”  Did you have to get approval from the Conan Doyle estate before you began writing?

NM:  “Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.”  I had – typical – no idea the difficulties I would encounter with the avaricious and totally mismanaged Conan Doyle estate.  Had I known what I was in for, I doubt I would have written the novel.

MS:  You’ve written three additional Holmes stories.  Was this a favorite character of yours when you were younger?

NM:  I fell in love with Holmes around age 11 when my father gave me “The Complete Holmes” to read.

MS:  You received an Academy Award nomination for your adapted screenplay of “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.”  Was it easy to convince the studio to allow you to write the script?  Did they try to pair you with another writer?

NM:  It was very easy as I refused to sell the rights to the book unless I got to write the script.

MS:  Do you have a favorite story about the making of “Time after Time?”

NM:  I was amused when my producer’s wife, Nel Jaffe, suggested that Malcolm McDowell and his leading lady, Mary Steenburgen, were falling in love.  “Nonsense,” I thought, I’m simply a brilliant director.  (NOTE:  McDowell and Steenburgen married shortly after the film was released and were together for a decade).

MS:  Were there any “rules” you had to follow on “Wrath of Khan?”  Did you ever have an idea that was nixed from above because it wasn’t something “Trekkie?”

NM:  I was pretty much left to my own devices writing and directing the movie.  Sometimes the film’s producer, Harve Bennett, would reel me in.  I remember at one point Carol Marcus warns her son against killing Kirk – “You’ll be a parricide!” I wrote.  Harve said, “Nick, no; you’ll be killing your father.”  That sort of thing.  Occasionally the cast would offer corrections: “This isn’t the way so-and-so talks” and I’d make those kind of adjustments. 

MS:  You are the only director to pull what I considered an award worthy performance from William Shatner.  Every time his voice cracks when he describes Spock’s souls as the most….human it brings a tear to my eye.  Much more emotional.  How did you address the character with Shatner?

NM:  I found the trick with Mr. Shatner was to make him do scenes several times.  He would get bored and stop attitudinizing.  He’d stop “acting” and start “being.”  That said, Shatner’s performance is his own and all credit for it belongs to him.

MS:  A favorite memory from working on “Wrath of Khan?”

NM:  Really a post film memory.  I was talking with my friend John McNamara (NOTE: Mr. McNamara’s credits include the television series “The Magicians” and the feature film “Trumbo”) and I mentioned that my favorite shot in the film is the pullback in the torpedo bay as the torpedo is lowered and makes its way towards the audience.  I said, “I know it’s an anachronism from old Pirate movies but I couldn’t resist.”  Whereupon John protested, “what do you mean ‘anachronism?’ The weapon’s electronics were all out of commission.  They had to go that way!”  To my way of thinking this is a perfect example of the imaginative contribution of the audience, essential for successful artistic experiences.  You want people’s imaginations engaged.  Or, as Shakespeare puts it in “Henry V,” “On your imaginary forces, work!”

MS:  This is a question inspired by my friend Andrew Armstrong, who is the biggest“Star Trek” fan I know and who is quick to point out little things that most people would never notice.  Did you ever get scolded by a fan about Khan recognizing Mr. Chekov, even though Chekov wasn’t in the “Space Seed” episode that inspired the film?

NM:  Yes he was, but on a different deck!

MS:  You have a bit of matchmaker in you.  Shortly after “Time After Time” Malcolm McDowell  and Mary Steenburgen were married and Tom Hanks met Rita Wilson on the set of your next feature, “Volunteers.”  Could you see then the career Hanks had in front of him?

NM:  I confess I could not.  I thought Tom was (and is) a terrific actor and a wonderful human being.  I was delighted he and Rita fell – and remain – in love.  I knew he’d have a career but couldn’t dream how big it would get.

MS:  I imagine if was a fun set working with both Tom Hanks and John Candy.  Do you have a favorite memory from “Volunteers?”

NM:  The scene where they are sitting next to one another on the plane and Candy talks about Albert Speer’s quote that fear is victory’s fuel.  No matter how many times we rehearsed this, Tom couldn’t keep a straight face – and I’m talking MONTHS between rehearsals and shooting.

MS:  Apparently DeForest Kelley did not want to direct (I joke – I actually think Shatner did a competent job with TREK V, especially when you read his book about the experience)  and you were brought back to close out the Original Series portion of the “Star Trek” film legacy with “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”  How did you manage to squeeze Christian Slater into a cameo?

NM:  Christian’s mother, Mary Jo Slater, was my casting director.  She mentioned that her son was a big fan. 

I highly recommend Mr Meyer’s book detailing his amazing career.

MS:  Are you working on anything currently?

NM:  I co-created (with Frank Spotnitz) the Italian television series “Medici, Masters of Florence.”  I’ve published my fourth Sherlock Holmes novel, “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols.”  The paperback edition just came out November 10th and the fifth novel, The Return of the Pharoahm” will come out next fall.  I’m also working with Frank Spotnitz on a new television series. 

If you want a more in-depth look at Mr. Meyers work, you can visit his official website HERE

Book Review: “Confess The Autobiography” Rob Halford

“Confess The Autobiography”

Author: Rob Halford
Hachette Books
Hardcover: 368 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Most priests hear confessions; this one is making his. Rob Halford front-man for the legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest tells his story in “Confess The Autobiography”. From the Walsall council estate to musical fame via alcoholism, addiction, arrests and, personal tragedy through to rehab, coming out and, redemption The Metal God’s story winds through his working-class roots to finding his calling in music, including his experience as a gay man in the macho world of rock.

If that lead in doesn’t grab your attention then you might want to check your pulse. . “Confess The Autobiography” by Rob Halford takes readers on a unique journey the likes we have never seen. From meeting bassist Ian Hill through his sister to receiving a life time ban from Madison Square Garden and coming out in 1998 “Confess” covers immense territory. Halford is candid and direct with his approach leaving no subject off limits. While “Confess” not only recounts Rob’s success with Judas Priest there is also another storey set just slightly in the background which readers will find quite interesting. How did the singer for one of the biggest heavy metal bands in history deal with being gay? Not only were the times not as accepting of alternative lifestyles but heavy metal certainly was not seen as leading the charge for acceptance during these times. Over the course of the books 368 pages Halford takes readers first hand through his countless struggles and fears over.  “What if it got out he was gay?” forever ruining the bands career. It’s at these times that the book takes a more emotional turn as the author recounts just what it was like to be an apart of Judas Priest becoming the biggest band in the world while at the same time having to live the other part of your life in secrecy. Given the high profile nature of the band talk about a difficult situation!

Through all the highs and lows “Confess” is comes out ahead making for an enjoyable read. You don’t have to be a Judas Priest or heavy metal fan to appreciate the book Rob Halford has put together. Though the story might not be completely relatable on all levels there are certainly points where every reader will be able to think back to a time where their success may have been over shadowed by something else going on internally or out of fear of what others may think you acted one way and not another. “Confess The Autobiography” though it showcases one man’s journey will speak to many.  

Book Review: “Get in the Car, Jane!”

GET IN THE CAR, JANE!

  • Author: Billy Van Zandt
  • Publisher: Van Zandt/Milmore Productions
  • Paperback, 248 pages
  • Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I first flew to Los Angeles in 2015. After I landed I picked up my rental car and headed to a restaurant to meet Billy Van Zandt.

38-years earlier, Billy Van Zandt did the same thing. Only instead of heading to lunch, he headed to Lucille Ball’s house. Ms. Ball wasn’t home. Billy was informed of this news by a butler who proceeded to slam the door in his face. But fate soon lent a hand and, before he knew it, he and his then-girlfriend Jane Wilmore would soon embark on an amazing four decade journey through Hollywood.

Brilliantly written, “Get in the Car, Jane!” is a hilarious look at what goes on behind the scenes in the wonderful world of television. From wide-eyed kids who wrote their own theatrical shows and aspired to be actors to show runners of their own shows, Billy and Jane’s adventures will keep you in stitches as they work their way up the ropes, rubbing elbows with many of the greatest performers in history, including  Lucille Ball, Brooke Shields, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Martin Lawrence, Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Lewis, Bob Newhart, Jamie Lee Curtis, The Wayans Bros., Richard Mulligan, Alan Arkin, DL Hughley, Dorothy Lamour, Elaine Stritch, Olympia Dukakis and Penny Marshall,

Billy and Jane’s writing samples earn them a spot on the writing staff of “Newhart” and soon they begin working on and writing shows for many of the popular television series of the 1990s, including “Anything But Love,” “Martin,” “The Wayans Bros,” “Suddenly, Susan,” “Yes Dear” and “The Hughleys.” All of these tales are terrific. The pages dealing with the birth, and death, of the Don Rickles/Richard Lewis series “Daddy Dearest” is worth the price of the book alone.

Sadly Jane Wilmore passed away earlier this year but Billy Van Zandt is still writing and still knocking them dead in the aisles. Today’s times require a healthy dose of laughter to help get us by and “Get in the Car, Jane!” is the perfect prescription!

Book Review: “Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion”

“Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story”

Author: Bad Religion w/ Jim Ruland
Hachette Books
Hardcover: 336 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

From their beginnings as teenagers experimenting in a San Fernando Valley garage to headlining major music festivals around the world Bad Religion has been bringing anthemic punk rock to the masses since 1982.  “Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” tells the whole story of Bad Religion’s 40-year career in irreverent style and detail.

Over the course of the books 336 pages author Jim Ruland and Bad Religion members Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley, Brian Baker and Brett Gurewitz among others take readers on an explorative narrative of the bands career the likes of which we have never seen nor read. From the earliest meetings of transplanted Wisconsinite Greg Graffin  and his long time song writing partner Brett Gurewitz and on up through the release of the band’s most recent 2019 studio album “Age of Unreason” the book serves as a up to date document which leaves no stone unturned. Personally I enjoyed the chapters recounting the creation of albums like “Suffer”, “Stranger Than Fiction” and the often forgotten “Into The Unknown” an album which we learn was nearly the end of Bad Religion all together. Included amongst the 27 chapters are a collection of photos from all different eras of the bands career along with early show flyers and magazine covers. Needless to say very cool!

“Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” is not just another warts and all band biography. Fans of the band will certainly enjoy hearing the full history of the band which until now has never completely been shared. If you are looking for another tale of the cliché sex, drugs and rock n roll then this is not the book for you. Yes those topics are talked about however not to the extent other books of similar format have. Instead the focus (as it should be) is on the members themselves and their sheer determination to make great music. No matter if you are a casual listener or the most diehard BR fan “Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” is an enjoyable read which keeps you turning the pages chapter after chapter.

Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Discusses His New Book “Wicked Words and Epic Tales”

Photo Credit: Tim Tronckoe

Iced Earth founder, songwriter, guitarist and producer Jon Schaffer has announced the release of his first ever book, “Wicked Words and Epic Tales”.The book is the debut release from Schaffer and his new publishing company Wicked Tales, LLC and is the first of many original concepts planned for future release by Schaffer. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jon recently about the books creation, the accompanying music and his plans for future releases.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us where the idea/opportunity to do this book came from?

Jon Schaffer: The idea for the book came to me around Christmas of 2019. I was at home with my family and I all of a sudden had this idea to do an anthology of all my lyrics. I have always been a big fan of comic and graphic novel art. It’s actually something I have been doing for years on the Iced Earth album covers. We have so much bad ass art that has been done for us over the years and have made contact with a lot of great artists that I thought I could commission a bunch of new material and put something together for the die-hard fans. I had never really seen anything like what I was thinking of doing but I know that if Steve Harris, Geezer Butler or Roger Waters put out something like this as a fan I jump on it. I ended up deciding to use Kickstarter to get things going because it allowed me to gauge the interest and figure out how many copies to make. After I decided I was going to add new art I thought it might be cool to do some spoken word audio tracks to go along with it. What ended up happening was I decided to create some new music as well. What we ended up with is this something in between an audio book and a soundtrack. I call it a narrative soundscape and that comes as a bonus with the book.

AL: Is this all new musical content?

JS: No. These songs have been written over the course of my career specifically with Iced Earth. I think the oldest song is “Angels Holocaust” which was written around 1991. With the exception of the song “Wolf” all the material is based off of the original compositions. What I did was instead of the album being this loud, ripping heavy metal work I took verses and choruses and turned them into string and keyboard pieces. I did play some guitar but not that much and we programmed in some theatrical drum loops to give things dynamic. For the spoken pieces I really tried to get into character and make things dark an eerie or very emotional depending on what each piece called for.

AL: Will a reader/listener be able to put the music on and have it match up with the book chapters?

JS: It’s broken up a little differently. The book has over 250 pages. The lyrical content alone is well over 100 songs and features lyrics from more than just Iced Earth. The music portion is 15 tracks picked from just my Iced Earth works. If a reader wants to match things up they will just have to go to the index and find the page number for each song to make that happen.

AL: How did you go about selecting the artists who have work featured in the book?

JS: Some of those guys like Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo I have worked with in the past on Iced Earth album art so I knew them. All of the artists who I have worked with through all my projects and career are credited. I worked with an additional 15 new artists specifically for this book. I just started reaching out to people. I reached out to Jim Balent on Instagram and he came on board I then reached out to Jonboy Myers and he was interested. Richard Ortiz did four pieces of art which are killer homage pieces. Roy Young who was in charge of the layout of the book is a guy I met when I was working with Todd McFarland in 1994. Roy has been very instrumental in this. There is tons of great stuff in this book.

AL: We the artists given free reign or did you have specific pieces you wanted each person to do?

JS: I went to each of them with a specific plan. From there the artists will generally take that idea and run with it. If it ends up being something I am not happy with we make edits and changes until it’s where I want it to be. Each artist put their own unique spin on “Set” who is kind of Iced Earth’s mascot. They all had their own interpretation of the character which is something I really loved. You could tell it was Set but the Set character does not have one specific look or logo like Batman or one of those other superheroes. Everyone added their own style which made this part a lot of fun.

AL: The book features two different covers. Does each of the books feature something different that the other does not aside from the alternate cover art?

JS: The books will all be the same on the inside. There are actually four covers in all. Two main covers were done and then did two nude variations of Jim Balent’s cover. Those covers are limited to 100 and 150 copies. The slip case for each book is the same but inside is where you will find all the virgin art aside from the spine which has to include an identifiable marker denoting what the work is. I had a chance recently to see some of the test and it looks amazing! It’s all printed on nice heavy paper with lots of colors. Even the text pages are predominately color.

AL: “Wicked Words and Epic Tales” is the first book to be released via Wicked Tales LLC which you own. Can we be expecting more books from you in the future?

JS: This was my first step in to learning how to self publish. There will be more books however they will not be lyric books. Going forward the timing will depend on what happens with the music business as it relates to what is going on in the world right now. My band is international and I am not sure when or if we will be able to travel freely again. With the members being spread out and living in various places putting together or planning an Iced Earth tour production just can’t happen right now. My plan since 1997 when I first created the “Something Wicked” universe was to always end up being in comics and graphic novels once I retired the band. It’s a killer story with a lot of potential to dive in to so that’s always been my plan. This book was a test and something I started before the world went in to lock down. When that I happened I just continued to work. There will be more things coming out however I don’t have a specific date as it will be after Iced Earth retired. I am getting close to that time but I still want to do one or two more records before that day comes.

AL: If someone did not pre-order the book via Kickstarter will fans still be able to get a copy?

JS: We will have some extra copies available through the Iced Earth merch store. We are in negotiations with Plastic Head who handles our merchandise in Europe about our options. Shipping an item this heavy is quite pricey so we are trying to figure out a way to get to more than just the United States where a majority of the sales have occurred. We hope to have that figured out very soon. In the future we may release a digital and/or trade paperback. There also could be a second printing if the demand is there.

To find out more about “Wicked Words and Epic Tales” click here                  

Book Review: “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away”

  • A LONG TIME AGO IN A CUTTING ROOM FAR, FAR AWAY
  • Author:  Paul Hirsch
  • Hardcover
  • 384 pages
  • Published by Chicago Review Press Fo

A few years ago I had the pleasure of hosting a test screening for director John Hancock’s film, “The Looking Glass.”  After the film, as I drove John, his wife Dorothy Tristan (the film’s star and co-writer) and film editor Dennis O’Connor back to their hotel, I was amazed by the conversation between the director and editor.  They discussed certain scenes in the film, curious whether they had gone a beat too long or perhaps not long enough.  What impressed me the most was that even the suggestion of removing ONE FRAME of film – 1/24th of a second – could have a true impact in how the film was presented.

Armed with this very limited knowledge, I was eager to read the new book “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away,” written by Academy Award winning film editor Paul Hirsch.  Where to begin?

The book is a rare inside glimpse into the careers, and minds, of three of the most acclaimed filmmakers of their time:  Brian De Palma, George Lucas and John Hughes. 

Mr. Hirsch got his start with De Palma, editing the director’s first five features, including “Phantom of the Paradise,” “Obsession” and “Carrie.”  It is while editing “Carrie” that he is shown photographs from a currently-in-production space opera called “Star Wars.”  Impressed with what he’s seen, Mr. Hirsch secretly wishes he could work on “Star Wars.”  His wish is granted when Lucas invites him to help edit the film alongside co-editors Marcia Lucas (George’s wife) and Richard Chew.  Soon Mr. Hirsch realizes it’s just him on the project and his stories about the finalization of the film, right down to the color of Darth Vader’s light sabre, are amazing. For his work on “Star Wars,” Mr. Hirsch, Mr. Chew and Ms. Lucas were awarded the Academy Award for Best Film Editing.

The book is written in a very simple style.  Not a lot of technical jargon, just great stories told to you as if Mr. Hirsch was sharing them over dinner.  There are many chapters devoted solely to one film, including “Carrie” (we learn about De Palma’s love for the split-screen), “Star Wars,” “The Fury,” “Blow Out,” “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Ray” and so many more.  A veritable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to revisit some of the most popular and influential films of the past four decades.

If you’ve always wondered about how a film is put together, or just want to learn some behind the scenes secrets of your favorite films, then this is the book for you!  You can order “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away,” which will be released on November 5th, by clicking HERE.   

Skillet’s John Cooper talks about the bands debut graphic novel “Eden”

John Cooper is the vocalist/bassist for the Platinum selling rock group Skillet. The band recently partnered with Z2 Comics to release their first graphic novel titled “Eden”. Media Mikes caught up with John and the band at New York Comic Con to discuss the creation of the book, its similarities to the group’s music and if there will be books to come in the future.    

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the bands new comic “Eden”?

John Cooper: I love comics and they are something I grew up with. I have always looked at Skillet as sort of a theatrical band. When I say theatrical I am meaning more from an operatic feel than that of a visual feel like Kiss or Alice Cooper. I had always envisioned doing a comic book as I see us all as characters. I had sort of put it off because if it’s not done right it can become terribly cheesy. On social media I am always posting about comics and I ended up getting a call from Z2 Comics asking if I would be interested in doing a graphic novel. I told them yes and that I had some story ideas but I wasn’t sure where to begin. They said that’s ok as they had some ideas of their own. I wanted to do something that was more science fiction as opposed to hero driven. I was looking for something with a post-apocalyptic feel but with a message of hope. That’s something you don’t see a lot. The book has sci-fi and super-natural elements mixed in with some religious undertones. In my view I think all great science-fiction have religious elements. When I say “religious” I’m not necessarily meaning Christianity but just religious. Films like “Dune”, “Blade Runner” and “Battlestar Galactica” are solid examples of that.

AL: How much collaboration went into the book?

JC: I brought the theme of a dying world filled with people all having the same dream which is leading them to paradise. I worked with some really great writers who helped me put together all the different ideas I had. Sadly the idea of the glowing eyes was not my idea but one I really liked as it was sort of an homage to “Dune” which is one of my all time favorite books.

Ian Lawton: What did the rest of the band think about the comic?

JC: The band loves the comic. At first I think they weren’t too sure what to expect. My wife Corey knew what I was going for as she knows me really well. I think it’s hard for people to understand what’s in your head when you are creating something. Once the book was done I think they were a little shocked as to how good it was and how emotional it is.

AL: Did the writing for “Eden” happen at the same time you were writing the band’s latest album “Victorious”?   

JC: Yes, I was writing for both things at the same time. It was a very crazy and busy two years. While these two things were going on I also released a side project EP titled “Fight the Fury” along with our drummer Jen’s side project “Ledger”. All of these things were basically written and released in two and half years. Writing for the comic was making me really want to write music so all of these things had me firing on all pistons. Each project worked off of one another.

IM: Was writing the book similar to writing music?

JC: I didn’t notice this until after the book was done and I had read it. I know that may sound sort of silly but, sometimes when you are writing you don’t always notice things others might as you are just going with what is coming out. After I read the book I felt as thou it was very similar to our music. The book is a little dark but it is meaningful. That’s what people say about Skillet songs and I think “Eden” has that same feel.

IM: Can you tell us about the special hardcover edition that will be available?

JC: That’s something that I am still waiting to see myself. I have seen parts of what are going to be in it and I am very excited for the finished version to be available. It’s going to have this really cool axe on it which is my weapon in the book. With this beard I sort of feel like a lumberjack and thought that an axe would be a perfect weapon as opposed to some of the other more futuristic weapons you see in the book.

AL: Is this just a one off book or are there plans to do others?

JC: The band is going to be out on the road until mid December so that’s going to have me tied up for a few months. We have started to talk a little about the possibility of more books but nothing is definite. I think it would be great to do a second one.

To order a copy “Eden” click here and to order Skillets latest album “Victorious” click here   

Author Matt Brady talks about his new book “The Science of Rick and Morty”

Matt Brady is a high school science teacher and pop culture writer based in North Carolina. Prior to working in education, Brady co-founded and was editor-in-chief of Newsarama, which received the first Eisner Award for Best Comics-related Journalism. Brady is also the founder of The Science Of…, a website that uses pop culture to help us better understand science. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about his new book “The Science of Rick and Morty”.

Mike Gencarelli: When did you first encounter Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty and why did it spark your interest?
Matt Brady: I think I found it like a lot of its audience – through the word of mouth of the internet – memes, clips and jokes. I got into it shortly after season 1 had wrapped so I inhaled that, and was waiting and then watching along with everyone else for season 2 and 3.

I dug it from the start due to the characters. I guess it’s probably not the best thing to say that every now and then, Rick would have a line or a comeback I wish I had – or rather, could – use with someone, and I love it. The dynamic between all the characters was something new, and went in directions that I hadn’t seen before – which made it even better.

The science was honestly, at the start, gravy. I really liked the call outs and the references to larger concepts with scientific footing, but yeah – it was the characters that hooked me, and the science that helped to keep me.

MG: Being a high school science teacher, tell us how and why you use pop culture, like Rick and Morty, in your classroom?
MB: After I left Newsarama.com ten years or so ago, I went straight into teaching at a Title 1 high school. “Title 1” has nothing to do with athletics or honestly, anything that…braggy. It’s just a classification that schools are in when a set percentage of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In simpler words, it’s an index of poverty.

So there I was, a middle-aged white dude in a class of minority students who were giving me nothing but the side-eye. I figured out fast that I needed some kind of middle ground where we could all meet, and that was pop culture. I was still steeped in it, so I tried it out with my students…I think my first foray was a Flash problem set about velocity. Looking back on it, it was pretty rough, but hey – there was a sheet with a picture of The Flash on it, and some science stuff that they recognized.

Using pop culture helps to engage my kids with the material, and gives them a sense of “ownership” – they feel that they, in a way, “own” say, the CW’s Flash or Arrow (at that time, they were huge with my kids), so their attraction would pull them along. Moving on, I found The Fast and the Furious, Deadpool, Black Panther, Ant-Man, and loads more references that helped to engage my kids.

I mean, when you think about it – pop culture has no native language…it’s just cool. With some judicious picking of samples that are appropriate for your students and aligned to the science standard you’re teaching, you can have kids eating out of your hand. And on top of that, my kids started seeing me as a person, rather than “that white guy,” or just a “teacher,” something just a little bit better than a robot.

Bringing pop culture in was and has been one of the most rewarding things about teaching in my career to date.

MG: Which of Rick’s experiments were you most shocked about being able to becoming a reality?
MB: Easy – altering memories. Memories are largely structure – the connections between various neurons in the brain that make a pathway. Once that pathway is laid down, you’ve got a memory. Want to remember something? That pathway lights up again, either directly “p comes before t in the alphabet,” or indirectly like when you have to sing the alphabet song to find that piece of information. You’re coming in a side door to that particular memory.

But – the thing is, when those memories are being recalled – remembered – they’re vulnerable. They’re open to re-forming their pathways if you repeat the information that made them, but those pathways can re-form in different ways if new information is added in or swapped out for some of the original information. Do it subtly enough, and you can change people’s memories. I mean – not like to the point you’re remembering Hamurai or Cousin Nick who’ve always been around and part of the family, but in pretty insidious ways.

There’s evidence that some “repressed” memories that have put people in jail were memories that had been altered – innocently – by therapists in this fashion. Also, there was a study that was being conducted where the researchers were testing their ability to change the long-held memories of people, and they did it so well, they had to cancel the study, and assure the subjects that their original memories, which they were now questioning, were in fact, real.

It’s fun stuff when it shows up on Rick and Morty, but in real life…yikes.

MG: What do you think makes this show so popular?
MB: The characters and their relationships. They’re so rich, and have grown over the three seasons, and we still have no idea how much deeper they go.

Don’t get me wrong – the science is great, but if the characters weren’t who they are, no one would even tune in to hear about “concentrated dark matter” or uplifting Snowflake into a hyper-intelligent dog.

This show has such an expansive and complicated universe surrounding it. Did you ever this you would be discussing turning yourself into a pickle in the same sentence as dark matter and energy and intelligence hacking?

Well, honestly there were some things I did skip that were just waaaay too out there to consider – like turning yourself into a pickle. But yeah – dark matter and intelligence hacking are in there.

But all in all, I never thought I would end up covering such a wide swath of science, no. But that’s the show for you – anything’s possible, and whenever they can, Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon and the writers like to tag some real science mention to it that gives fans a hint of the real deal that gave the idea in the show its inspiration.

MG: What was your biggest challenge in writing The Science of Rick and Morty?
MB: Leaving stuff behind was one. You mentioned turning into a pickle. Given enough time, I could’ve probably finished thinking of a way to throw some science at it…maybe he placed just a replica of his brain in there, and then…hmmm…

Also – just getting what I got in there in the first place. A lot of the science in the show that I did pull into the book is at the fringes of what we think we might…someday be able to do with it, but that meant going to those fringes, talking to researchers there and turning what they said and what I read into something I could wrap my head around. There were days, after talking to some folks that literally felt like I was stoned, and maybe started to question reality a little too much.

MG: You are the founder of TheScienceOf.org website. How did your idea for the site come about and what can readers learn from the site?
MB: The site is something that my wife and I started (she’s a science teacher too) when we realized that we could use it to reach other teachers who wanted to use methods similar to what we do, and also as a place where I could just write about pop culture meeting science. In all the articles there, I’m always careful to approach the subject so as not to rain on anyone’s parade. I’m not interested in telling people that Superman can’t fly, or Iron Man’s suit is impossible. That’s just not cool.

I want the science in pop culture to do for others what it did for me – inspire. I’m old enough to have watched Star Trek after school when I was young, and – along with a lot of other folks who went on to NASA, JPL and a lot of other places, dreamed about a world where communicators were real things, and we could visit other planets. I firmly believe that we imagine our collective future, and science fiction and pop culture is one of our most important guides. Why would I ever want to throw the door closed on someone who’s thinking that a world with Iron Man suits would be really cool, and is starting to play with their school’s 3D printer and some cardboard, along with some circuit boards and LEDs? I want that kid to build that suit, not have a dream crushed because someone smacked their hero with science. So yeah – please come on by and check out some of the articles. It’s not updated as frequently as I’d like, but hey…that classroom keeps me pretty busy, too.

MG: What can we expect next from you?
MB: More on the site – I hope…and hopefully, another book. Still working out some details now, but there is something definitely on that back burner that’s moving up to the front. I’ve also written science columns in Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle’s “The Wrong Earth” and have more coming up in the Dragonfly Man miniseries this fall. Bits and pieces of science and pop culture all over.

Matt will be signing copies of “The Science of Rick and Morty” at the Simon & Schuster booth at NYCC on 10/5 at 10:30 AM

And also be sure to follow him on social media:
Twitter: @Scienceof_org
FB: @thesciof

 

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Book Review: “Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived By Jon Zazula”

“Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness.  As Lived By Jon Zazula”
Author: Jon Zazula/Harold Claros-Maldonado
Paperback: 193 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Heavy Tales” details the stories of how one Jonathan Zazula better known as Jonny Z who went from living on the streets of the Bronx in New York City to managing and releasing albums by some of the biggest artists in heavy metal music including Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and Mercyful Fate. Together, Jonny and his wife Marsha built a musical dynasty out of modest beginnings unmatched by any other underground heavy metal label. With a foreword written by Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, plus over 100 rare photographs unearthed from the Mega-Vault and photographer friends worldwide, “Heavy Tales” is the definitive American story of a family man with a dream, determined to prove to the world that heavy metal belonged on the stage, in your car, on the radio, and in your living room.

Growing up around the college town of Ithaca, NY you would always hear rumblings of the fabled Pyramid Studios and how all these heavy metal bands from the city would make the five plus hour drive just to record there. A name that was often attached along with that of bands like Anthrax, Testament and Raven was Jonny Z. It wasn’t until sometime later when I myself had the chance to record at Pyramid Studios that I would go back and dig a little deeper in to the lore that surrounds Mr. Jon Zazula. “Heavy Tales” filled in all the gaps, lapses and holes as it is the story right from the horse’s mouth. With the help of Harold Claros-Maldonado, Jon tells you about how his rough upbringing and  keen business sense put him at the fore-front of the heavy metal invasion of the mid-eighties and into early nineties where he help orchestrate the early foundations of cross over Rap-Metal. Just reading the candid stories about Metallica’s early days (Pre-“Master of Puppets”) would have been more than enough for me but Z takes it further recounting numerous concerts, trips and pivotal first time meetings which until now were stories only heard by select few and/or those who lived it.

Counting in at just over 190 pages “Heavy Tales” is a quick read that wastes no time getting to the good stuff. The book and its authors give you just enough background to nicely set the stage for the bulk of each story. I had no problem reading this book in one sitting and the various photographs included in the book were a nice touch. If you grew up during the time period the book covers and was in to heavy metal you undoubtedly have a record that Jonny Z had a hand in and now is your chance to hear his story.

 

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Book Review “The Art of Toy Story 4”

“Toy Story” is a franchise that started Pixar and continues to win the hearts of audiences over 20 years. With the recent release of the latest installment, “Toy Story 4”, that means a new art of book has been released. I still have my “The Art of Toy Story 3” and was just looking through it recently, which is still one of my favorites. This book dives right into the movie and behind-the-scenes content including great concept art, landscapes and character development over the film’s development. If you are of fan of these book and the “Toy Story” franchise, I would definitely recommend checking this out!

Page 4-5 John Lee, digital painting [Bo Peep & Woody]

Official Synopsis: With a story that’s spanned more than 20 years, the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang have captured the hearts of millions. The Art of Toy Story 4 invites readers to explore the next installment of Pixar’s beloved franchise through never-before-seen concept art, character studies, process animation, storyboards, colorscripts, and more. Featuring exclusive interviews with the production team on the making of the film and insights into their creative vision, The Art of Toy Story 4 reveals the vivid imagination that brought this story to life.

“The Art of Toy Story 4” kicks off with a solid introduction from Josh Cooley, who actually directed “Toy Story 4”. Josh also directed “Riley’s First Date”, which was a short film following the film “Inside Out”. He also worked as a story artist on the Academy Award®-winning films The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up, and Golden Globe®-winning Cars, and served as the story supervisor on Academy Award®-winning Inside Out. I personally was a bigger fan of “Toy Story 3” in terms of favorite films in the franchise but I do feel like he gives a lot of heart to “Toy Story 4” and delivers a solid film.

Pages 108-109 John Lee, digital painting [Buzz at amusement park]

Closing out the book there is a great foreword from the incomparable Annie Potts, who voices ‘Bo Peep’ in “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2”, and returns in “Toy Story 4”. She has appeared in numerous feature films including the “Ghostbusters” franchise, Pretty in Pink, and Corvette Summer for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination. I enjoyed this foreword and it is a great ending to the book given great insight into the role and her involvement with the film. Overall the book is another hit for Chronicle Books, they have been extremely consistent with their “Art of” books and never disappoint.

Pages 124-125 Deanna Marsigliese, digital [Bunny concept art]

BookCon: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3

The second season of Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale left more than a few fans stunned when June (Elisabeth Moss) bucked her chance to escape to freedom in Canada with her baby and instead handed the infant off to Emily (Alexis Bleidel) while turning back into the world that still holds her other child hostage.

This weekend eager Handmaid’s fans finally got to see where June’s unexpected decision has lead the inhabitants of Gilead when showrunner Bruce Miller and actress Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) brought the premiere episode of the third season to New York’s BookCon.

Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) and Handmaid’s Tale showrunner, Bruce Miller

Without going into episode spoilers, I will say what I saw went a long way in explaining why June would make such a tremendous sacrifice in that finale and the acting across the board continues to be top notch. Alexis Bleidel’s Emily in particular had me moved to tears more than once. And the BookCon crowd broke out into applause at least twice.

While the terrifying Aunt Lydia did not appear in the premiere ep, the trailers showed that she will return after Emily very literally stabbed her in back last year. Dowd, who was also nefarious in last year’s horror hit Hereditary, is delightful and warm in person and said of Lydia, “she is doing quite well…she’s very concerned” She also offered some exciting tidbits into where season three might take Aunt Lydia.

Although in the last two seasons we’ve seen almost every protagonist’s backstory, Aunt Lydia has remained a mystery. Apparently that will change in season three. Of this insight, Dowd commented that while it wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be “it’s so true to what might have went wrong.” On that change she added that whatever happened, “her life leaned toward Gilead and [to being] one of the most staunch believers of that group.” And while Dowd clearly loves playing Lydia, she joked about her inner dialogue with the character: “I say I’m disappointed with her and she says to mind my business!”

Dowd complimenting a Handmaid cosplayer in attendance

The Handmaid’s Tale returns weekly to Hulu starting Wednesday June 5th.

Author Darren Paltrowitz Discusses His NEW Book “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons”.

Darren Paltrowitz is writer/interviewer with 20+ years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager and over the years working with artists like OK Go, They Might Be Giants and Tracy Bonham. Darren’s writing has appeared in countless publications including the NEW York Daily News, L.A. Times and Guitar World. Darren’s latest project is titled “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons”.  Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Darren recently about the book and how the idea to draw inspiration from professional wrestling came about.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Professional Wrestling?

Darren Paltrowitz: I have been trying to really figure that out lately. I think it goes back to watching “WWF Wrestling Challenge” or one of those late 80’s early 90’s weekend shows. The first Wrestle mania that I fully remember was WrestleMania 7. From there I got into WCW. Sadly I wasn’t much in wrestling during the “Monday Night Wars” as music took over at that time. I didn’t love WCW when it was good! (Laughs) Thankfully with the internet I can now go back and watch everything I missed.

AL: How did the idea for the book all come together?

DP: I had gotten a press release about a book from my future co-author D.X. Ferris. It was actually a release about the four books he had coming out. One of those was titled “Good Advice From Good Fellas”. I ended up interviewing him about the book and during that interview he mentioned Diamond Dallas Page. We stayed in touch after the interview and I pitched the idea of a wrestling book. He sent me an email of a paper he wrote back in college which took advice from wrestling and the film “Goodfellas”. This was back in November. Prior to that we had nothing so that is why the book includes a lot of current wrestlers and wrestling information. We wrote this very quickly with the goal of having it ready for WrestleMania in April. D.X. put in a ton of long hours at the end with final touches and we did it!

AL: What was the research process like for the book and, how did you go about selecting which material made it into the book?

DP: That was sort of a mix of factors. One of those factors was D.X. telling me I had to put in some of his hometown Pittsburgh guys like Bruno Sammartino and Kurt Angle. We really had to think about people who along with wrestling talent also showed good business acumen and that were not plagued by scandal. We also thought about who had great quotes. Some of the book’s material came from my own personal interviews with people like Mark Henry. Now that I have been talking about the book for a bit I regret not including people like Al Snow and MJF. This arguably the greatest time in history to be a wrestling fan! There is infinite content out there. In fact there is so much that you cannot watch it all.

AL: Did any of the wrestlers who are featured in the book know beforehand that they were going to be included?

DP: We reached out to a lot of the wrestling promotions asking for material and we received responses from all but one. There were other times where I would have to go through independent reps. We also had a guy in the Ohio area that was able to provide us with some photo material. Initially things were moving slow as people didn’t believe we were doing this thing. One by one we started getting books out to some of the wrestlers and it’s been going great. It continues to be a step by step process.

AL: Did you have any goals for releasing the book?

DP: My first major goal with this project was finishing the book and getting it out. Once that was done it was a major relief. A lot of people say they are going to write a book but never do. Now that the book is out I want it to be the one book that is for people who don’t read “self help” books. I wanted people to realize that a lot of the advice in the book is applicable no matter what your level of exposure to pro wrestling is or was. One other thing I want people to take away from the book is for them to see just how smart and successful the majority of pro wrestlers are. They are no longer failed football players or body builders. These are people who are branding experts who can also act and write their own material. If you want to be successful you have to learn from other successful people. I hope a lot of that comes across in this book.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

DP: I have been doing interviews with entertainers and the likes ever since I was in high school. I realized that I should do something with all these interviews. About a year ago I started a pod cast called “The Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz”. It’s a bi-weekly cast that includes clips from various interviews I have done. Last week’s episode featured Adam Duritz from Counting Crows talking about his bar mitzvah, Guitarist Susan Tedeschi and Kaley Cuoco from the “Big Bang Theory”. I am into all kinds of things so that’s what I showcase on the cast.

It doesn’t matter if you are fan of wrestling or just someone wanting a fresh approach to the self help genre “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons” has something for everyone. It’s even got some great photos which accent the wit and wisdom of an often overlooked industry. To Order visit: https://www.amazon.com/Darren-Paltrowitz/e/B07Q4QN8B8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_2

For more info on Darren Paltrowitz you can visit his official website here: http://www.paltrowitz.com/home.html

 

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