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Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes Paperback – July 31, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A highly entertaining tale about heroism, dreams, debauchery, unnecessary umlauts and loud, loud music.” (A. J. Jacobs)

“Power Chord captures the essence of why we become lifetime devotees to our rock gods.” (Rudy Sarzo, bass player for Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, & Dio)

“Scott McKenzie captures why we all became obsessed with the electric guitar. There was something that spoke to us. The look, the sound, and the whole embodiment of the electric guitar took us to another world. Put down your guitar and read POWER CHORD!” (Stacey Blades of L.A. Guns)

From the Back Cover

When Scott McKenzie was a young man, he thought he saw God . . .

The deity was all in black with knee-high silver boots, a patent-leather breastplate, and full face makeup, clutching a beautiful, custom Les Paul guitar. Ace Frehley, lead guitarist for the rock group KISS, wasn't God—but hearing his piercing, shrieking, screaming, outrageous guitar solos was a transcendent spiritual experience for a boy from rural Kentucky, making him feel uplifted, a witness to a higher power.

Two decades later, a grown-up Scott McKenzie vowed to meet Ace Frehley in the flesh—as well as the other gods and demigods who have held divine power over a generation of worshipful metal fans: legendary guitar champions like Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest and Phil Collen of Def Leppard, hallowed names like Steve Vai, Warren DeMartini, and John 5.

Power Chord is a chronicle of Scott McKenzie's epic quest to stand in the presence of metal greatness—to meet his omnipotent guitar gods face-to-face and get them to divulge their otherworldly secret.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Original edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061964964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061964961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raised on a thoroughbred horse farm in Bourbon County, Kentucky, Thomas Scott McKenzie received a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Mississippi. His nonfiction has appeared in Tin House, Paste, Premier Guitar, InSync, Stuff, and many more.

McKenzie runs Slushpile.net, a books-and-publishing blog and is a contributor to CrunchGear.com. He has been a reviwer for PopMatters.com and a staff writer for Crimescene.com.

He is the co-author of THE MAN BEHIND THE NOSE: ASSASSINS, ASTRONAUTS, CANNIBALS, AND OTHER STUPENDOUS TALES by Larry Harmon.

He is the author of POWER CHORD: ONE MAN'S EAR-SPLITTING QUEST TO FIND HIS GUITAR HEROES.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chuck on August 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read other books by authors who were fans of guitar driven rock - including Guitar Man by Will Hodgkinson and Fargo Rock City by Klosterman. While I enjoyed those books, this book is my favorite. Not only did reading this book take me back to the heydays of my youth, but it almost felt as if the author was among my circle of friends. This book offers up the same thoughts and opinons that my friends have discussed over the years about the music we love. If you were a fan of KISS before they put the makeup back on then this book is even more enjoyable. There are also a lot of interesting facts placed throughout the book that I was surprised to learn. The author supplements his quest with some solid research. Highlights for me include the Ramones/Kiss conversation, Bruce Kulick, John 5, and of course Ace. If you ever bought a really nice guitar before you learned how to play, you've got to read this book. I gave it 5 stars because I really enjoyed reading it. If you love 80's rock, you'll enjoy it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paintmeblue88 on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Power Chord is surprisingly more than just a book about metal music.

As the author goes about hunting down and meeting his heroes, you can't help but think, "I would have loved to have met my own idols." We all had them as children. Maybe athletes, maybe actors, maybe even software developers. But whoever they might be, we all idolized someone. What would it be like to meet that person and interact with them?

Power Chord answers that question. Plus, much more about the role of music in pop culture and the role it plays in our lives.

I'm not a fan of this genre of music. But I am a fan of this book!
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Format: Paperback
Power Chord is not a "where are they now?" campaign for 80's guitar gods (although you will learn a lot about the current whereabouts of Steve Vai, Bruce Kulick, Oz Fox, Glenn Tipton, etc). It's more of an autobiography told through the author's quest for the Perfect Guitar Lesson...and it's a great read.

If you were a male growing up in the 70's and 80's, odds are you wanted to be a rock guitarist at some point. Most of us abandoned the campaign by the time we got to college. Scott McKenzie doesn't even start his quest until he gets married, starts a successful career, and has triplets on the way. The unorthodox quest for guitar glory provides a unique insight into the author's psyche as he gathers guitar lessons from his heroes while serendipitously learning life lessons. It is a sobering reality to discover that with few exceptions, rockstardom doesn't last forever, yet these guitarists don't move on to second careers as accountants or firemen. They become working musicians, earning a wage (and often not a very good one) like the rest of us. Once a guitarist, always a guitarist.

Power Chord is not preachy in the least. Nor will you be bludgeoned with an epiphany in the final chapter. It's all about the journey...and the book is fun, raw, often hilarious, and even educational. It's a quick read as each interview/chapter flows smoothly into the next. Recommended for just about anyone, whether you were obsessed with 80's rock and metal, or only "practiced" in front of the mirror with a tennis racquet-as-guitar. I'm excited to see what comes next from Scott McKenzie!
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By Amy Fracassa on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Normally, this would not be a book that I would choose off the shelf. I initially began reading this book because it was recommended to me by a friend. I loved metal hair bands like most kids growing up in the 80's but I have to say that I learned a lot more while reading! This book was very entertaining. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend, having a beer and hearing all these stories about life and how Scott set out to meet his guitar heroes.

I enjoyed how McKenzie intertwined information about guitars, band history, and bios from the musicians all while pursueing his own ambitions and fears about learning to play his guitars. There were also snippets of life growing up in rural Kentucky and present day personal stories to round out each chapter.

I am inspired to pull out some of my old music and download some tunes I haven't heard in years all to really listen to the guitar and appreciate these musicians all over again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit I went into this book blind not knowing what to expect but as a lifer guitarist myself I found it very interesting to hear interviews from some of my hero's given to, for lack of a better term, an "average Joe", in their eyes but also turns out to be a very accomplished writer. There were points of view given that I don't believe you would have recieved in formal interviews and I was entertained throughout.
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By Fernando H. Ramirez VINE VOICE on January 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this guy's sojourn to talk to his guitar heroes in the search for his meaning of life. Maybe I'm exaggerating about the dude looking for the meaning of life... but it was pretty close. Overall the book is a good read if you are a musician, and if you are familiar with the players he meets. He had a few people on his list that he wasn't able to connect with... but the ones he did get to talk to seem to have been pretty cool. I especially remember the sections with Bruce Kulick. While I've never been a KISS fan, Kulick seems to come across like a really cool guy. It's a shame the way they threw him out of the band, but it sounds like he's happy playing with the band he's with today.

But allow me to tell the author something: "Thomas: go full force into learning the guitar! Don't go halfway... it seemed like you were content to go halfway... I'd love to hear about you really getting proficient on the instrument. Match it with the passion you used to write this book. After all you went through... you need to do it!"

Recommended.
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