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Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group Paperback – January 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Edition edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617751308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617751301
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Because living musicians fear competition too much to share secrets of success, this manual, we’re told, was transcribed during a séance where dead rock stars lectured on profound rock & roll truths. Mary Wells, spelling in spaghetti, and Buddy Holly, scrawling in salt, warned of cruel, social-engineering overlords that both control and fear rock revolutionaries. But the greatest prank the book pulls is camouflaging, beneath astrological and geopolitical inanity, the author’s passionately conveyed truths about integrity, artistry, repression, perseverance and the cruelties and joys of the music industry. It seems that even when utilizing a stone-faced, pummeling, punch line–free tone, truths are still best told in jest. And it also seems rock & roll will never die, or if it does, it will still be accessible through spiritualism.”
--Time Out Chicago

"Obviously Svenonius’s discussion of rock music is far from supernatural. If anything, it debunks the notion that musicians are untouchable, mystical beings by showing just how much planning, how much strategy goes into making a successful group. And while there is a cynicism that pervades this book, Svenonius is nevertheless coming to the topic as a rock ‘n’ roll fan, a practitioner, and someone who believes truly in the art form."--Bomblog

"The phenomenon is explained in Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group, a new book by Washington musician, author and general punk provocateur Ian Svenonius. His how-to guide for forming a band is plenty tongue-in-cheek — the advice is presented through the words of dead rock stars contacted via seance — but he hits on some significant truths."--Washington Post

"Ian F. Svenonius' new book, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group, is laugh-out-loud funny. Svenonius mixes the Vietnam War, Industrial Revolution and other seemingly disconnected events via fictional interviews with several (real) dead rock stars who share their thoughts on topics, such as the all-important band van, communication, the evolution from gang to group, sex, 'the narcotic effect of pop music' and discipline. Whether you intend to form a rock group, are interested in history or popular culture, or just want to read essays that are genuinely smart, this is the book."--Sacramento News & Review

"Ian's theories are hilarious, insightful, intelligent and well-written, both satisfying for rock history enthusiasts and enlightening for newbies…Showboating your reading material is unconditionally off-putting, but it's hard not to feel cool holding a book called 'Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'N' Roll Group' sitting in a seat on the bus or an exercise bike at the gym. Its pocket size makes it ideal for reading during long rides in the tour van or sitting on a crate backstage in between loading equipment. And of course like Mao's Little Red Book, the size makes it easy to keep on hand for quotations, instruction or spiritual guidance."--The Thousands

"Written in a language couched in satire and anchored by years of experience, it is both a rigorous study of an elusive and enduring cultural art and a sobering critique of its many tortured machinations."--Portland Phoenix (Maine)

"Supernatural Strategies...takes a spiritual approach to guiding rock star wannabes to success. The book’s imagined conversations are very funny (it’s clear that Svenonius didn’t actually talk with Paul McCartney and probably never sought out a medium). But beyond being humorous, Supernatural Strategies is also very informative and well researched. While Svenonius shares his endless wealth of musical knowledge, this book also serves as a critique of capitalism, consumerism and American imperialism."--Brooklyn Based

"As its title indicates, prolific DC underground rocker Ian Svenonius’s arch new book, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group, is 'an indispensable guide for anyone attempting to create a rock ’n’ roll group.' With help from late rock gods such as Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix, who reputedly advised Svenonius from beyond the grave, Supernatural Strategies prescribes the ingredients for rock immortality, in chapters ranging from 'Group Name' to 'Van' to 'Drugs.'"--The Washingtonian

"Svenonius has been interrogating and unpacking the meaning of rock 'n' roll for as long as he's been making it."--American Songwriter

"Throughout its 250 pages, the author demystifies the modern rock group with a mixture of veteran insight and intellectual posturing that can be both hilarious and fascinating. There are long tangents about gang culture, music and capitalism, and chapters based around séances calling on dead music stars as wide-ranging as Brian Jones, Big Mama Thornton and Mary Wells."--Style Weekly (Richmond)

"Svenonius, a member of the band Chain and the Gang, presents a comical but nonetheless serious guide to starting a rock-band with the aid of the supernatural. The pocket-sized guide reads as a systematic analysis of the choices rock-bands have made in the past, as well as a detail of the practical features of the profession itself, distilled for their insights, into success."--Book News Inc.

"According to Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group, a 250-page treatise by Ian F. Svenonius that arrived at my office the other day, the secrets to a successful rock band are buried in the dead heads of the deceased, former rock 'n' roll greats who are 'no longer contaminated by the stultifying climate of competitive capitalism,' the author writes."--Oakland Tribune

"Current and former band members interested in an underground scene stalwart breaking down the inner workings of a group's success (and inevitable failure)--and then taking those inner workings even further, into satire--will enjoy this book. Those who just have a thing for the political rhetoric and undeniable panache of Ian Svenonius--well, even better."--Chicago Reader

"Enterprising young groups might do well to pay attention to Svenonius' book. Steal enough from it and you might find your group reuniting at Coachella in a decade or so."--Creative Loafing Atlanta

"Svenonius's latest screed is a 'bizarrely erudite' meditation on the hazards and resulting socioeconomic upheaval that occurs with the formation of rock groups (which are really just a natural progression from male street gangs of post-War Western society, he says.) Naturally, it's smart and meticulously crafted...Part cautionary how-to guide and part philosophical meditation on the current state of rock, Strategies exhumes rock's past to consider its present and help guide its future toward, hopefully, a more astrologically synchronous state."--Gapers Block

"Svenonius…continues to prove himself an unconventional and important thinker when it comes to cultural studies and pop music."--Pittsburgh City Paper

"Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group is not an easy book. It’s not technically difficult to read—far from it. What it does do is make you step back and think (maybe for the first time) about what rock-n-roll really is…and is not."--Chattanooga Pulse (Tennessee)

"Poseur, provocateur and pontificator, Svenonius’ most recent cultural product comes in the form of a book. Both as satire and as plain truth, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group is a scream – something that could only be produced by the punk rock aesthete who was once named Sassy magazine’s 'Sassiest Boy in America.'"--Stomp & Stammer Magazine (Atlanta, GA)

"Regardless of whether you think you’re in the choir he’s preaching to, or if you just want some pointers on starting a band but can’t be bothered to summon the spirit of Buddy Holly for religious reasons, read this guide for the perplexed and you will not be disappointed."--Fanzine (Atlanta, GA)

"What a delightfully odd little book this is. Presented as an old manual mixed with a narrator that's rather Lemony-Snicket-meets-Ted-Wilson, Supernatural Strategies For Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group manages to be just as funny as it is strange."
--Glorified Love Letters

More About the Author

Ian F. Svenonius is the author of the underground best seller The Psychic Soviet . He was also the host of VBS.tv's Soft Focus, a different breed of chat show, where he interviewed Mark E. Smith, Genesis P. Orridge, Chan Marshall, Ian MacKaye, and others. As a musician he has created eighteen albums and countless singles in various rock 'n' roll combos (Chain & the Gang, Weird War, The Make-Up, The Nation of Ulysses, etc.). He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
This is a great book, beyond my expectations, which, frankly were high.
EDWARD HAMELL
Was intrigued by the cover and printing -- it's a small, old-fashioned style of paperback with a heavy cover, very satisfying to hold.
K. Layne
It's a healthy antidote to blind hero worship and the music industry's insistence on treating every successful pop act as 'artists.'
Danno

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Danno VINE VOICE on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most unique music industry books of the present decade.

First, there's the format - this is a lean, smallish book that looks like the sort of thing self-published cranks and conspiracy theorists used to write before they migrated to the blogosphere. Reading this in public is guaranteed to get you strange looks from strangers. It's also small enough to fit in your gig bag.

Then there's the content. While many of the author's insights are kissing cousins to the sort of dada/agitprop/cynicism that Frank Zappa engaged in during almost every interview, this is the type of realpolitik that's sorely missing in today's pop music. It's a healthy antidote to blind hero worship and the music industry's insistence on treating every successful pop act as 'artists.' There's also a welcome attempt to place pop music as subservient to sociological/political trends and society at large which doesn't happen much outside of certain academic circles. And let's be honest - most academic attempts to examine rock n'roll don't come from someone who's logged in as many gigs as Ian F. Svenonious has in the DC area.

Finally there's the style. The conceit of this book being constructed as a result of a seance featuring multiple dead rock stars is hilarious because it's so deadpan and because every single rock star sounds almost exactly alike, which renders the charade transparent. You could read this in a single sitting if you wanted to, because Svenonious' prose is as crisp and to the point as a well-crafted 45 rpm from the Motown days.

Ian F. Svenonious has given us an antidote to legend-mongering music tabloids. Repeated doses may be desired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenn S. Hawley on April 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
I happened across this book, by Make-up/Chain and the Gang singer Svenonious. I had to see what it was about...I actually put off starting it for a couple weeks...afraid that the concept would be underdeveloped, untidy, unfunny, or just Unappetizing!
Very glad to be worried for Nothing!
Fantastic!!
Ian's style of writing is unique, crystal clear, and totally Entertaining!
Critical of the rock'n'roll world, we all seem to revere and hate at the same time, but not simply to show off his particular space within the Bigger picture of it all.
There is Real love within these walls of perception!
Pick yours up today, and Cross back Over to where you Know you Should be!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aldo Fucinari on January 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a musician and if you've ever played in a band or tried to put a band together this book is a must read. I've been playing in cover bands most of my life and I would say that this book makes sense out of everything in rock & roll and pop culture especially if you know anything about social sciences.
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This is a great book, beyond my expectations, which, frankly were high. Although I have mixed feeling about Amazon, as I watch mom and pop bookstores go out of business, there is no denying that the ability to secure obscure books is helpful. I've never had this problem in the past, the shipping was always in reasonable time, this one, at about three weeks seemed excessive.
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This book answers all the questions for the strategies on becoming successful!! I had strategies that I didnt know where all that important but now this conforms it and gives me more than enough to guide me!! I guaranteed you'll love this book!!!
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By K. Layne on September 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Discovered this book under suspicious circumstances. Was intrigued by the cover and printing -- it's a small, old-fashioned style of paperback with a heavy cover, very satisfying to hold. The book itself is strange and delightful, covering the development of rock 'n roll and its complex relationships with the Cold War, technology and capitalism.

There is a punk rock or dadaist approach to what at times feels like a cousin to Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and Greil Marcus' "Lipstick Traces." The writer's esoteric knowledge, fine wit and matter-of-fact sweeping conclusions combine as a kind of highly entertaining political-historical comedy, starring the heroes of the rock group era.

It a deep book that boldly speaks of a vast conspiracy to sell the rebellious street gang pose of rock groups as a new religion to compete with and then defeat Soviet communism. One can argue with some of the assertions, but the same is true of any meaningful polemic or religious text. This book is very funny.
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Essential reading for anyone considering the formation of a rock and roll musical group. If you are not willing to buy this book and follow every piece of advice contained therein, quit now. You will be a failure and an insult to music.
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By Todd C. on July 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
and got funny. Also some socialism. But mostly the pointed witticisms of a true, modern day provocateur. No spoilers, just give it a read!

-Todd J Colberg
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