Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Autobiography”

Mano A Mano With John Oates

John Oates was one of the first musicians I interviewed when I started this site several years ago. I had the chance to catch up with him last week about his autobiography, Change of Seasons: A Memoir, which comes out March 28. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, and I hope it whets your appetite for what promises to be an insightful and compelling autobiography.

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Meeting Bruce Springsteen

img_8334Three weeks ago I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert. Today I met “The Boss.” Well, to be accurate, I did see Bruce perform with The E Street Band when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame two years ago. I was there with my cousin, mainly to see KISS and Hall & Oates be inducted, but seeing Bruce rock out, along with several other rock icons, made for an entertaining evening full of music. Nevertheless, the Bruce Springsteen concert I attended three weeks ago was my first time seeing a full-length performance by New Jersey’s favorite son, and it was awesome. It was also the longest U.S. concert he’s ever performed. But enough of that. Let me tell you about Bruce’s event at the Free Library of Philadelphia promoting his new autobiography: Born to Run.

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John Oates Announces Memoir: Change of Seasons

Change of Seasons

John Oates, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and one-half of the most successful pop duo in the world, Hall & Oates, will give readers an inside look into his life and career with his newly announced memoir: Change of Seasons. The book, set for release on April 4, 2017 will also include a bonus set of original and traditional songs that reflect the stories in the memoir, including an exclusive live version of “Maneater.”

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Carmine Appice: Rock’s Most Influential Drummer Tells All

IMG_6983Carmine Appice, the most influential drummer in rock and roll history, recently released his autobiography: Stick It! My Life of Sex, Drums, and Rock ‘N’ Roll. I met Carmine at his book signing here in Philadelphia and shortly afterward I interviewed him. We touched on everything from how Sharon Osbourne fired him from Ozzy’s band to the revelation that there are a handful of tracks from Paul Stanley’s 1978 solo album featuring Carmine’s drumming that’ve yet to see the light of day. Check out the interview below and pick up a copy of Carmine’s autobiography, which is available now.

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A Conversation With Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley

I recently took part in an interview with Paul Stanley, the lead singer of KISS. Below are his thoughts on a variety of topics that were covered during the interview.

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Book Review – Face The Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley - Face The Music: A Life ExposedWhile traveling last week, I downloaded and listened to the audiobook version of Face The Music: A Life Exposed by KISS frontman Paul Stanley. Paul has always been my favorite member of KISS, so I eagerly awaited the release of this book and having him narrate it felt like getting to know him over a cup of coffee…a more-than-12-hour cup of coffee. Despite its substantial length – it’s the longest KISS autobiography to date, Paul’s honest and unfiltered account of his life and career make this a revealing and inspiring book. And the lively narration helps breath life into the words, which makes for a refreshing and engaging listen. If you’re a KISS fan, or just a fan of great music autobiographies, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Face The Music: A Life Exposed. It may have taken Paul Stanley 40 years to write an autobiography, but it was well worth the wait.

Book Review – Wrestling With The Devil by Lex Luger

Lex Luger - Wrestling With The DevilWhen I became a wrestling fan, it was in the heyday of larger-than-life characters like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog. Not only did these superstars have otherworldly personas, they had spectacular physiques. While Lex Luger wasn’t known for being the most charismatic performer, his physical presence couldn’t be denied. In the 1980s he was a force to be reckoned with in the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and when he came to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Luger was a top babyface (i.e., good guy). After his stint in the WWF, Luger went back to WCW and became World Champion and eventually joined the rebellious New World Order. Luger had a stellar career but he wasn’t without his vices. His autobiography reveals all of the ups and downs he went through, including the death of the “First Lady of Wrestling,” Miss Elizabeth. I found it to be a captivating read up until the final couple chapters where the book turned into what felt like an infomercial for Christianity. While I’m glad religion helped Luger turn his life around, his heavy-handed use of Bible verses came off as preachy instead of inspirational. Nevertheless, Wrestling With The Devil was an enlightening and entertaining read that wrestling fans should check out.

Synopsis 

Pro wrestling sensation Lex Luger was leading a thrill-ride life, with fans screaming his name and money pouring in faster than he could spend it. One of the most memorable figures in the sport’s history, Lex was the ultimate all-American muscleman. The three-time world champion could slam anything that got in his way—and he believed he was invincible.

But outside the ring, Lex was self-destructing. He lived a secret double life that was taking him down and ripping his family apart, culminating when his mistress died from a much-publicized drug overdose. Without realizing it, Lex was fighting for his very life—and the enemy was a host of his own demons.

Yet it wasn’t until he was at his lowest point that Lex Luger began to discover what true strength is all about. That strength would get him through the greatest challenge of his life: a paralyzing spinal cord injury.

In this stunningly honest memoir, Lex Luger reveals behind-the-scenes stories from the world of pro wrestling, recounts his dramatic struggles with personal failings, and shares how—through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption—today he’s standing stronger than ever and fighting the battles that matter the most.

Book Review – The Soundtrack of My Life by Clive Davis

Clive Davis - The Soundtrack of My Life

The Soundtrack of My Life by Clive Davis is a fascinating look into the life of, perhaps, the greatest music producer and executive of all time. While some readers found this book to be nothing more than Davis patting himself on the back, I beg to differ. To me, it was an exciting journey through a charmed life that included fascinating stories about everyone from Alicia Keys to, my favorite, Barry Manilow. Yes, it is long, so don’t pick this up expecting a quick beach read. But if you love music as much as I do, and you approach it with an open mind, I think you’ll agree that The Soundtrack of My Life is a worthwhile read.

Below is an excellent interview Clive Davis did with Wendy Williams to promote the book.

Book Review – Makeup to Breakup by Peter Criss

Peter Criss - Makeup to BreakupIt’s no mystery that I’m a big KISS fan. I met the band 10 years ago, and I’m going to meet them again on KISS Kruise III in October. But a lot has changed in 10 years. The band has released two new studio albums and Peter Criss is once again no longer KISS’ drummer. Peter was always one of my favorite members of KISS, so I was eager to crack open his autobiography and learn about his wild adventures over the past 40+ years in the music business.

The autobiography started off with Peter Criss holding a gun in his mouth, ready to commit suicide. It was reminiscent of Hulk Hogan’s recent memoir, My Life Outside the Ring. Needless to say, this got my attention and the rest of the book held it up until the chapter about Peter’s religious beliefs, which I skimmed. It was fascinating reading about his career prior to KISS, how he joined the band and his opinion on the others members as the years progressed. Of course, this was a one-sided story, which I kept in mind while reading it.

The other members of KISS have accused Peter of being a whiner and out of control. This comes through in his autobiography. He did a massive amount of drugs, wasted a ton of money and didn’t do a great job of controlling his temper. Reading these stories made me feel bad for the guy. Thankfully, Peter saw the error of his ways and got his act together during KISS’ reunion tour. Unfortunately, all the bad blood he created during the band’s heyday caused Paul and Gene to never trust him again. Peter’s stories about this time period were especially interesting since this is when I became a fan of the band.

Overall, this is a great read for fans of KISS and/or classic rock autobiographies. It’s filled with humorous and heartbreaking stories that kept my rapt attention; and it gave me a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to part of, what I consider to be, the greatest American rock band of all time. Check it out.

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