Yesterday i was browsing my own bookshelves, thinking about clearing some space and began reminiscing about some of my beloved music biographies. Before i clear out some space on my shelf, i thought i’d clear out some space in my brain and post a little something about each book…

The most recently read of the bunch is Twenty Thousand Roads which is a fantastic and eye opening bio on Gram Parsons. I don’t know why, but i’ve always felt a connection with Gram, even though i don’t love the music. I can’t explain it, but i needed to know more about the guy so i picked this up in Portland at the fantastic Powell’s Books. If you’re interested in Gram I highly recommend this book. He was never quite taken seriously as he was considered a “Rich Boy”, but his life was charming without being charmed. His father killed himself when Gram was very young and his mother was a drunk who died the day of his High School graduation. Gram himself died in the early 70’s, but not before playing with The International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Rolling Stones (maybe) and his legacy has been growing ever since. He has had 2 very credible champions over the years; Keith Richards, who loved and trusted Gram because of his knowledge of Country & Western, and because Gram had his own money so he wasn’t leaching of The Stones’ Machine, and Emmylou Harris who sang and recorded with Gram in the years before his death. Gram didn’t exactly discover her, but it’s safe thank him for giving her the exposure she needed. Anyway, go and buy it and read it!

Here’s Gram and Emmylou singing “Big Mouth Blues”…

The next book is the authorized biography of Siouxsie & The Banshees. This is another group that I’ve always been curious about though I’m not the biggest fan. I can say that Budgie is one of the greatest drummers of all time and will someday get his due, but The Banshees themselves will always be minor 80’s greats, inline with The Psychedelic Furs, OMD and the like… The book is interesting enough for any fan, but the thing i remember most about it is the acrimony Siouxsie still holds for Robert Smith of The Cure. If you don’t know, there was a time in the early 80’s when Robert was sick of The Cure and joined the Banshees for awhile. He did a couple of tours and recorded the album “Hyaena” with them, then decided to resurrect his own band again. Siouxsie has been disparaging him publicly ever since and uses this book to continue the bashing. Kind of pathetic when you think about it…

Anyway, here’s my favorite Siouxsie song (with Robert Smith, just to be mean) “Spellbound”

The Verve were one of the best bands of the 90’s and should’ve been much bigger than they were. They had a few things working against them however: 1. they just could not get along and stay together 2. Richard Ashcroft mistakenly thought he was the star of the group 3. Bittersweet Symphony. The latter is a fantastic song, don’t get me wrong but they were successfully sued by Andrew Loog Oldham for sampling a Rolling Stones track for the song, and will forever be labelled as plagiarists, and even worse, One Hit Wonders. Furthermore, it’s not anywhere close to their best song! Oh well, I guess they’ll never know. Star Sail is just an ok bio, but when there is so little to be read on this band, anything is welcome.

Their legacy has been somewhat tainted over the years with lackluster reunions and Richard’s solo albums, but watch this to understand how great they once were, here’s “Blue”

to be continued…

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PlayNetwork, Inc.

  1. […] from Part 1, this is a purge of useless, yet enjoyable knowledge that is my music biography […]

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