Memoir Mondays: BRUCE

“There are many things I could and should be doing right now, but I am not… I am reading and rereading this book. Why did you do this to me?” – John Stewart

I grew up listening to the Boss, specifically the vinyl recording of his 1984 hit single “Dancing in the Dark,” which–crucially–also had “Pink Cadillac” on its B-side. To this day, “Pink Cadillac” remains one of my all time favourite songs, and it also explains my obsession with that particular vehicle. That’s the thing about Bruce Springsteen’s music: it’s an experience that stays with you, and can shape who you are in little to big ways. Only the best kind of music can do that, and it’s elevated Bruce the Rockstar to almost mythic levels in the past four decades. You can imagine then how thrilling it was for me to finally learn about Bruce the Man in what his manager Jon Landau calls the Boss’ definitive biography: Bruce, by Peter Ames Carlin.

This sweeping biography of one of America’s greatest musicians is the first in twenty-five years to be written with the cooperation of Bruce Springsteen himself. With unfettered access to the artist, his family, and band members—including Clarence Clemons in his last major interview—acclaimed music writer Peter Ames Carlin presents a startlingly intimate and vivid portrait of a rock icon.

For more than four decades, Bruce Springsteen has reflected the heart and soul of America with a career that includes twenty Grammy Awards, more than 120 million albums sold, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. He has also become an influential voice in American culture and politics, inspiring President Barack Obama to admit: “I’m the president, but he’s the Boss.”

Built from years of research and unparalleled access to its subject and his inner circle, Bruce presents the most revealing account yet of a man laden with family tragedy, a tremendous dedication to his artistry, and an all-consuming passion for fame and influence. With this book, the E Street Band members finally bare their feelings about their abrupt dismissal in 1989, and how Springsteen’s ambivalence nearly capsized their 1999 reunion. Carlin deftly traces Springsteen’s often harrowing personal life: from his lower working- class childhood in Freehold, New Jersey, through his stubborn climb to fame and tangled romantic life, and finally to his quest to conquer the demons that nearly destroyed his father.

In Bruce, Carlin encompasses the breadth of Springsteen’s astonishing career and explores the inner workings of a man who managed to redefine generations of music. A must for fans, Bruce is a meticulously researched, compulsively readable biography of one of the most complex and fascinating artists in American music.

Learn more about Bruce.

Follow Peter Ames Carlin on Twitter.

Visit Carlin’s website.

Music memoirs top wish lists

If you visit your local bookstore this fall one thing you might notice is the plethora of music memoirs on the shelves; Not just from Simon & Schuster, but other publisher’s as well. Random House just published Jann Arden’s Falling Backwards, HarperCollins has Justin Bieber’s First Step 2 Forever and Penguin released Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories back in September. There truly is something out there for every type of music fan. Here’s a quick rundown of what S&S has to offer the music lover on your Christmas list!

Pearl Jam Twenty by Pearl Jam

Published in celebration of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe’s definitive documentary film and soundtrack of the same name, PEARL JAM TWENTY is an aesthetically stunning and definitive chronicle of their two decades as a band—by the band itself. This book is a veritable treasure trove of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, rare archival memorabilia, and the band’s personal photos, tour notes, and drawings. Told with wit and insight in the band members’ own words, and assembled by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson—and including a foreword by Cameron Crowe along with original interviews with legends and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Dave Grohl—this intimate work provides an in-depth look at a group of musicians who through defying convention established themselves as “the greatest American rock band ever.”

Watch the trailer

It’s So Easy by Duff McKagan

In It’s So Easy, Duff recounts GN’R’s unlikely trajectory to a string of multiplatinum albums, sold-out stadium concerts, and global acclaim. But that kind of glory can take its toll, and it did—ultimately—on Duff, as well as on the band itself. As GN’R began to splinter, Duff felt that he himself was done, too. But his near death as a direct result of alcoholism proved to be his watershed, the turning point that led to his unique path to sobriety and the unexpected choices he has made for himself since. In a voice that is as honest as it is indelibly his own, Duff—one of rock’s smartest and most articulate personalities—takes readers on his harrowing journey through the dark heart of one of the most notorious bands in rock-and-roll history and out the other side.

Read an excerpt (warning: contains graphic content)

Watch Duff talk about addiction and recovery


 

No Regrets by Ace Frehley

For KISS fans, Ace offers a rare behind-the-makeup look at the band’s legendary origins, including the lightning-bolt logo he designed and the outfits his mother sewed. He talks about the unspoken division within the band—he and Peter Criss versus Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons—because the other two didn’t “party every day.” Ace also reveals the inside story behind his turbulent breakup with KISS, their triumphant reunion a decade later, and his smash solo career. Along the way, he shares wild stories about dancing at Studio 54 with “The Bionic Woman,” working as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, and bar-flying all night with John Belushi. In the end, he comes to terms with his highly publicized descent into alcohol, drugs, and self-destruction—ultimately managing to conquer his demons and come out on top.

Browse inside the book

Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley

This book is the very personal story of how Brad Paisley came of age as a musician and a man. Focusing on what it means to play the guitar and how he found his voice through a series of guitars, the book will also share what he has learned about life along the way. Beginning with his own very personal love letter to the guitar and what the instrument has meant in his life as a way to find his voice in the world, the book then moves into a musical, but personal, diary. Brad tells the story of his own musical passion, while writing loving salutes and sharing memorable tales about all the great players in country, blues, and rock & roll who have inspired him over the years.

Browse inside the book

Learning to love yourself

In her upcoming biography, True You, Janet Jackson opens up about her struggles with food, body image, and relationships and how she’s worked through the hard times to find herself and be truly happy.

This book isn’t a tell-all, but a look into the mindset that led to Janet packing on the pounds and how she overcame to find happiness within. She talks about her struggles with dieting, self-confidence, and depression. Janet shares stories about being teased as a child by her older brothers, how she felt ugly while growing up, and how food was a comfort to her during some of the tumultuous times in her life.

True You features over 30 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks from Janet’s personal chef, Chef Andre.
 
It has taken Janet most of her adult life to come to terms with who she is. True You illuminates the path Janet took to learning how to love herself and finally break free of the attitudes that brought her down.
Watch for an hour-long interview with Janet this Sunday, February 13th on Dateline NBC, 7pm EST.

Soul songstress celebrates 50th anniversary

Dionne Warwick made her singing debut in church at the request of her grandfather, the Reverend Elzae Warrick, when she was six years old. No one knew then that she would become an international music legend, but what she knew—as words of wisdom passed down from her grandfather—was that “if you can think it, you can do it.” And she did it. Dionne released the first of more than fifty-six charted hits in 1962 with “Don’t Make Me Over,” followed by “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Walk On By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Alfie,” and “A House Is Not a Home,” to name a few. She received her first Grammy in 1968 for “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and later recorded the classic hit “That’s What Friends Are For.” She was considered the voice of Burt Bacharach/Hal David compositions, and the rest is here, in her first autobiography. Dionne tells the stories of her life from her childhood in East Orange, New Jersey, in a two-family home with her parents, brother, and sister, to now, as she celebrates her fiftieth year in show business.

She came by her musical gifts honestly. Her mother, Lee Drinkard Warrick, was a founding member of the legendary Drinkard Jubilairs, which included her mother’s siblings Cissy, Marie, Annie, Nick, and Larry. Cissy went on to become a celebrated recording artist in her own right; she lived in the Warrick household, got married, and later gave birth to one of the most popular singers of our time, Whitney Houston. Dionne went on to start her own gospel group with her sister, Dee Dee, called the Gospelaires. Her father, once a Pullman porter, became an accountant, went on to promote gospel records for Hob Records, and wrote a book on gospel music. She attributes her strong family, who are faithful and industrious Christians, for keeping her grounded and giving her the fortitude, as well as the talent, to earn her place among world-class performing artists without losing herself or her soul.

My Life, As I See It is in stores Nov 2nd.

Click here to read an excerpt

Click here to enter to win a copy of this and 6 other celebrity memoirs