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Rat Girl: A Memoir by Kristen Hersh

Recommended by Jeff in Technical Services… Jeff’s synopsis: Taken from a year of her diary, Kristen gives us her story of living out of her car, playing with her band, Throwing Muses, moving to Boston to make it in the music scene all while battling bipolar disorder and trying to capture the songs that float around in her head. She struggles through her mental and emotional turmoil with the help of her band mates, hippie parents, and an ex-Hollywood starlet. To further complicate matters she comes to find out she’s pregnant. He says: This is not your typical rock star memoir but a year in the life of someone trying to capture songs while battling emotional and mental problems. Kristen stills performs solo and with her bands.  She is the mother of four children, she makes her recording available for free and just released her latest CD in book format, which I really...

Townie: a Memoir by Andre Dubus III

Recommended by Jeff in Technical Services… Jeff’s synopsis: Andre Dubus III, is the author of The Garden of Last Days and House of Sand and Fog.  After his  parent’s divorce in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. He was on a fast track to getting killed, or killing someone else. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus. The clash of worlds couldn’t have been more stark. He says: I enjoyed reading about the author’s hard life growing up and how he could have given up and blamed his father for everything that went wrong in his life. But instead he overcame his hardship and made it as a writer following his father’s...

Can’t Be Satisfied: Life & Times of Muddy Waters by Robert Gordon

Recommended by Jeff in Technical Services… Jeff’s synopsis: McKinley Morganfield came up the Stovall Plantation in the Mississippi Delta playing in the dangerous water so much that his Grandmother gave him the name Muddy. He started picking cotton, playing music and finally got his first guitar after seeing Son House who would remain a big influence. He became Muddy Waters after moving to Chicago and went on to influence many rock musicians such as the Rolling Stones, who took their name from one of his songs as well as countless other blues musicians. He says: I was lucky enough to see Muddy Waters live at Chicagofest on Navy Pier in the early 80’s. I can’t say I remember much except that he was sitting down playing long, slow, searing guitar licks with a slide on a Fender Telecaster. At that time I wasn’t really aware of the range of his influence since I was just enjoying the music, but he influenced rock bands as well as blues musicians and even a well known rock magazine took its name from one of his songs, Rolling...

Life by Keith Richards with James Fox

Recommended by Jeff in Technical Services… Jeff’s synopsis: Keith Richards claims to have lived three lifetimes since he only sleeps twice a week. He’s been the guitarist for the Rolling Stones since the early 60’s as well as more recently being the model for Johnny Depp’s character Cpt. Jack Sparrow for the Pirates of the Caribbean. He shares his story of addiction, brotherhood, separations, reunions, as well as his love of music and insights into his style of playing the guitar. He says: This a surprisingly good read since Keith never comes off as he is bragging, he just tells it like he sees it. The life of a rock star may seem glamorous but he gives an insight into the especially grueling early days of touring with rock reviews. I especially enjoy his insights on playing the guitar and how he came up with some of his unique sounds like playing an acoustic guitar through a cassette player and his 5 string open...

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Recommended by Jeff in Technical Services… Jeff’s synopsis: Patti Smith is a pioneer of the punk scene carrying on in the tradition of Jim Morrison in melding rock and poetry, performance and art. She has had exhibits of her art, her books and poems published and has recorded twelve albums with the Patti Smith Group. This is the story of how she got there along with her friend, artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. He says: Patti’s mother taught her how to pray and soon after Patti started making up her own prayers. I admire that Patti felt her calling to be an artist and with little more than a copy of Rimbaud’s Illumination, a waitress uniform, her mother’s blessing, and a plaid suitcase she set off to New York to pursue her...