the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Archive for the tag “music”

Book Review; Black Vinyl, White Powder

By Simon Napier-Bell

I love books giving ‘insider’ views on the music industry. Autobios don’t really do it well as good as they are as people, especially stars, are never going to really compromise themselves while they’re still alive…well, except for that book by Ozzy! What a fucken hoot that was!! But in essence a lot I have read have been good without being anything startling.

But then I read Mick Wall’s Paranoid which not only freaked me right out it set the rules straight on how to tell it ‘like it is’. And this book is just the same, if not as shocking.

Simon Napier-Bell (SNB for short) is a manager in the music industry and has, amongst others managed Wham! and The Yardbirds…for those youngies out there, Wham! were a duo from the 80s responsible for crap music and wanking in toilets, and for those a bit older but still younger than me, The Yardbirds were a shit hot band in the 60s who eventually became Led Zep…without SNB.

This book gives an insight from the 50s through to the end of the millennium the rise and rise of British music and how it evolved over 40-odd years not by fashions, popularity or even demand, but by that staple diet of all rockers, drugs. From the days of jazz into rock n roll, rock, heavy metal, glam, disco, New Romantics, Boy Bands….

Some of what SNB mentions will shock you, some of it will amaze you, but all in all the book will be a great reference for trivia and subject matter about some of music’s biggest stars. Some stories really stand out; Keith Moon and his coprophilia (I had to look it up too), Jimmy Page doing drugs in the toilet with tranvestities, Boy George and his battle with his boyfriend, the money artists were, or in most cases weren’t making due to dodgy deals, the making of Donna Summers and Boney-M…there is a story a minute and all of them are worth reading.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of gossip, however towards the end the factual analysis of the industry was a bit of a bore, anti-climatic if you will considering the content before it. And remembering this book is about 10 years old that analysis is dated and null and void considering what we know now…

Get it.


Book Review; Eminem: Crossing the Line

By Martin Huxley

I can’t say I’m a huge rap/hip-hop fan, in fact I would say I find it a somewhat talentless means for street urchins to make a quick buck and avoid  getting a job. When it comes to the musical scale of things, rappers sit just below the synthesizer groups of the 80s, boy bands of the nineties, and just above Justin Bieber and these new-wave turntable ‘DJs’. When they can show me a few basic chords on a guitar or keyboard, I may change my mind. But simply rhyming to the word ‘fuck’ and ‘hoe’ does not a musician make…

Now, in complete contradiction to what I said I do own Ice-T’s “Freedom of Speech: Just Be Careful What You Say” which is one of my all-time favourite albums and apart from a few instances (such as Run DMC’s rehash of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”) have paid as much attention to it as politician would to his constituents.

And then I saw 8 Mile. Up until I begrudgingly sat down to watch the movie I wasn’t a Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers III/Eminem fan. Yep, heard his tunes, hummed them now and again as well, but in record stores always went to my Pink Floyd’s and Deep Purple’s before anything like that. I loved the movie, loved the music, and became a fan of his.

I just finished this book, a biography-cum-reference to Eminem’s rise to fame in becoming one of the biggest names in Hip-Hop, if not music. It took a couple of days to read (could easily have done it in a day) not because it was good, which is was, sort of, but it ain’t that long. It only covers the time over his first two albums and is interspersed with some details on his legal battles, his volatile relationship with mum and wife, and some stats over recordings and concerts. Not bad, but if you are an Eminem-trainspotter this won’t be much use for anything. For me, a fan on the cusp it was interesting, especially the dissection of some of his songs which made me pull out the old iPod and listen to a few to make some connection.

Good, not great, and the photos are pretty shit-house, but for a ‘oncer’ from someone who obviously idolises Em (as he keeps, annoyingly, refers to in the book), Huxley has done OK.

“Tear Down The Wall…”

Roger Waters; The Wall, performed at Vector Arena, Auckland February 18, 20, 22 & 23rd 2012

The Album...the beginning of a deep-rooted fascination

I have anticipated many a concert in my time. And that amounts to some total collection of built up anticipation as I have been to a lot of them; Deep Purple (twice), Joe Satriani, Elton John (twice), Billy Joel, Eurythmics, Ozzy Osbourne, UB40, Kylie Minogue, Joss Stone and Chris Isaak to name a  (very) few…but I have never desperately wanted to see a concert as much as this one.

I was introduced to Pink Floyd by a mate when I was about 13 or 14 and took an instant liking to them. Quirky, broody, anarchic. At the time I was learning guitar and to me David Gilmour (we all call him Dave) was technically one of the best in the business with a style and sound that took you away on rivers and clouds and all that other psychedelic stuff it stood for. But as I learnt more and more about the music (I like to know about bands, it helps me understand the music and appreciate it more) I came to answer the most puzzling question in rock music; who is Pink? And to me no one epitomizes Pink more than Roger Waters (we all call him Rog).

While Meddle and The Final Cut remain my two favourite Floyd albums (although the second is only Floyd by association) The Wall has a special place in my musical journey in that it was way different to anything done before or since, and my understanding of the story in the music, as well as behind the music made me feel a real scholar amongst Floyd-ites and could shoot down many a wannabe-part-time listener. Read more…

Hello…? Happy Valentine’s Day

Someone with an apparent skill with splicing and desktop software (and obviously too much time on their hands) has come up with a beaut little clip of screen dialogue and put it to that most tacky of 80s love songs, Lionel Richie’s “Hello”.


Disclaimer; the alfmeister takes no responsibility for the inane humming in your head of this song for the remainder of the day.

Book Review – I Am Ozzy

I like reading autobiographies (and biographies to a lesser extent) but tend to find they can be stale and scripted, very much talking up the individual for obvious reasons.

But, then along came Ozzy Osbourne’s!

I cannot remember a book I have laughed so much at, been shocked, been flabbergasted…and so vivid in description.

Whether you like him or not, this is a book you have to read. Some of you might be disgusted by what you read, others will understand the iconic figure more, others may even come to like him and respect him…and God forbid, some of you might go and buy an album (I have all of Black Sabbath’s albums, and a few of his solo works).

Either way, I don’t give a shit, and I can tell you something, Ozzy doesn’t either. What does he care? He’s fucken loaded (no pun intended). ‘Nuff said. Read more…

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