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The Last Page- Recommended Rock Reads from 2010: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Pink Floyd- Todd Rundgren and more

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Kevin Wierzbicki gives us the first installment of his : Recommended Rock Reads from 2010 including books about Stevie Ray Vaughan- Pink Floyd- Todd Rundgren- Songwriting for Dummies and more

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day By Day, Night After Night-His Early Years 1954-1982
Craig Hopkins, Backbeat Books

This very thorough book is not for the casual Vaughan fan; in fact the time frame it covers ends before the late guitarist burst onto the scene with his first album, Texas Flood. But those who truly idolize Vaughan will find the book to be an absolute treasure packed with previously unseen pictures, illustrations, and like the title indicates, a day-by-day accounting of Vaughan's pre-stardom career. Vaughan played in twenty-some bands including Double Trouble and Hopkins has not only written essays and interviewed band members from these days, he's also compiled lists of gigs that the various bands played, occasionally including the set list or other show notes and chronicling Vaughan's crossing of paths with various blues and rock legends. Stevie's substance abuse problem comes up in the text but it is not dwelt on---the overall tenor of this book is celebratory and it's as fun to read and view as it is to rock along while the stereo blasts "Pride and Joy."

Pink Floyd-The Black Strat: A History of David Gilmour's Black Fender Stratocaster
Phil Taylor, Hal Leonard Books

You may or may not have noticed but David Gilmour just about always plays a black Stratocaster guitar. The former Pink Floyd ax man still uses the model today on his solo efforts but his love of the Strat, oft modified to his specifications, began way back during recording sessions for noodling early Floyd albums like Atom Heart Mother and Obscured by Clouds. The book's writer, Phil Taylor, has been Gilmour's personal guitar tech for over thirty years and guitar geeks will love all the details about tremolo arms, pickups and such but you don't have to be a musician to enjoy reading the short entries and gazing at hundreds of photos including sixty new ones added to this expanded 3rd edition.

Songwriting for Dummies, 2nd Edition
Jim Peterik, Dave Austin, Cathy Lynn; Wiley Publishing

Peterik certainly knows his way around songwriting; the former guitarist for Survivor has written or co-written nearly twenty Billboard Top 10 hits, including the ubiquitous you-can-do-it song, "Eye of the Tiger." Here Peterik and his co-authors lead the aspiring songwriter, in plain language, through everything from listening to their inner voice to how to properly use sound effects to utilizing the Web and social networking sites to maximum effect. Maybe most importantly there's a thorough run-down of how to prepare a demo that will get your songs heard.

A Wizard A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio
Paul Myers, Jawbone Books

Plenty of good reading here not only for Rundgren fans but also for fans of the dozens of major artists that he's produced including XTC, Meatloaf, Grand Funk Railroad, Cheap Trick, the Tubes, Patti Smith, the Psychedelic Furs, Sparks, Hall & Oates and on and on. Many of these artists or band members have been interviewed for the book with individual chapters chronicling the making of watershed albums like XTC's Skylarking, Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell and Patti Smith Group's Wave. Of course Rundgren has put out many influential albums himself, both as a solo act and a member of Utopia and these are touched on as well.

The Musician's Video Handbook
Bobby Owsinski, Hal Leonard Books

Budding pros and novices alike will find Owsinski's handbook to be indispensable; all the technical stuff is here from choosing the right camera, learning how to light the band properly and getting the most out of the equipment you have available even if it's inexpensive gear. About a third of the book is dedicated to interview pieces with well-known producers who give tips and tricks on making professional videos whether they are meant for use in a club, in an EPK (electronic press kit) or for broadcast. Best of all, the accompanying DVD shows you how to do things step-by-step through to the post-production process.

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