Cheap Trick

Reputation Is A Fragile Thing by Mike Hayes

Cheap Trick – Reputation Is A Fragile Thing by Mike Hayes 

I have wanted to own this book for a few years but since only around 1,000 were printed in 1998 they all sold out and were in high demand from fans in the aftermarket (and therefore quite expensive). With the band’s recent resurgence brought on by 2016’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello album and their Hall of Fame induction, original publisher and co-author/editor Ken Sharp teamed up with author Mike Hayes to bring it back into print. 

Mike Hayes compiled the book from his own interviews of the band, working on it for many years as a labor of love. Before it was all over he had enlisted the help of Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, as well as renowned rock and roll journalist/author/publisher Ken Sharp. The book features amazingly detailed info on the band’s career, boasts over 250 pages, contains over 150 b&w photos, has a forward by Roy Wood of The Move/ELO/Wizzard and remains essentially the only biography on Cheap Trick ever written.

Please note that while this is a new printing of the book it is essentially an exact copy of the original publication. It has not been revised or updated so it still only covers the years 1973-1997.

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Reputation Is A Fragile Thing from Ken Sharp

Cheap Trick

We’re All Alright!

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright (deluxe version)

Not too many rock bands who have been together for closing in on 45 years can match their longevity with their quality, especially with their latter day output. But this could not be more true for Cheap Trick. Following closely behind last year’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello and their overdue induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, We’re All Alright! keeps the Cheap Trick party rolling on. 

Robin’s voice is still as mind-blowingly versatile as ever with Rick (guitars), Tom (bass) and Rick’s son Daxx (drums) giving him everything he needs to rock out, deliver a punk snarl or touch your heart with soft crooning. While the album lacks a standout hit like last year’s “When I Wake Up Tomorrow” the diversity provided by the power pop of “Nowhere”, grinding blues backing of “Lolita” and acoustic beauty of “Floating Down” more than make up for this absence. 

The deluxe CD contains 3 extra tracks that are well worth the couple of extra bucks. 

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We’re All Alright! (deluxe) on Amazon

David Bowie

Cracked Actor

David Bowie – Cracked Actor

So far I have stayed away from the postmortem glut of Bowie material, preferring for the dust (and my emotions) to settle, but this one was too interesting to pass up. A 2 CD expanded version of a record store day vinyl release documenting the full LA show from a 7 night run of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour at the Universal Ampitheater in 1974. The booklet features full program notes from the event. I only wish that this was a DVD also as “The Year Of The Diamond Dog” production is universally felt to be the most ambitious set design for a concert ever undertaken. To date only distant, out-of-focus fan filmed footage is known to exist of the show. 

Cracked Actor from Amazon

Anne Dudley

Plays The Art Of Noise

IMG_6138Anne Dudley – Plays The Art Of Noise (Japanese import with obi)

If you ever needed proof that Art Of Noise were modern classical music these solo piano renditions of their songs by band member and orchestral arranger Dudley will serve as such. Awesome to hear her piano take on The Buggles’ (original Art Of Noise bandmate Trevor Horn’s other band) hit song Video Killed The Radio Star on here as well. While this release is a bit pricey, as Japanese imports tend to be, it does have nice packaging and is filled with beautiful music as well of course.

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Plays The Art Of Noise from Amazon

Stephen King

The Shining (Cemetery Dance deluxe special edition)

IMG_6145Stephen King – The Shining (Cemetery Dance deluxe special edition)

Finally a release as classic as the story contained inside. Housed in a metallic embossed slipcase with full color dust jacket the book has the same metallic embossing on the front and spine and was limited to 3,000 copies which all sold out during preorders. It features yellow and black interior page print with new full color illustrations, new intro by King, restored prologue and epilogue, new afterword by King director Mick Garris, early draft manuscript differences, a deleted chapter and reproductions of a promo brochure and the original hardcover art. This is an amazing tome as only Cemetery Dance can publish and will stand as the ultimate compendium of official Shining material. This is the third in a series of all of King’s original Doubleday publications being given the full on treatment by CD. I also have the previous releases, Carrie and Salem’s Lot.


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Doll Skin

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

IMG_6124Doll Skin – Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Here is another new band I can’t get enough of. This is the second album (first release with real distribution) from a young female power pop, rock, punk quartet. Each one of these girls kicks ass in their own way, the music is played more with aggression and emotion than super technical chops but that is what makes it great. I can’t imagine forming a band and hitting the road as a teenager, much less doing so as a female in such a “dude” oriented genre and business. Total props to them for being so cool and enjoyable in what can sometimes be a very un-fun current musical climate.

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Manic Pixie Dream Girl from iTunes
Manic Pixie Dream Girl from Amazon


Night Drive

Self-titled Debut

IMG_6156Night Drive – Self-titled Debut

This is one of my favorite new bands of the last couple of years. They have really payed their dues developing their sound, gigging around, releasing digital singles, even performing in my living room and sleeping on the floor in my daughter’s little art studio. Now their debut album has finally dropped and it’s every bit as good as I knew it would be, perfect electronic dance pop with an ’80s feel. If you dig songs about alien invasions, vampires, love and other strange subjects you’ve got to hear this.

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Self-titled debut from Amazon
Self-titled debut from iTunes
Self-titled debut on Spotify
Self-titled debut from Bandcamp
Self-titled debut on Soundcloud