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Jym Cherry "Writing Under The Influence of Rock 'n' Roll!" RSS Feed (Wheaton, IL United States)

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Fridays at Enrico's: A Novel
Fridays at Enrico's: A Novel
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A 360 Degree Look at Writers Lives, September 11, 2014
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How do you find new books and new authors (even if the author isn`t a `new` writer)? Sometimes the old fashioned way, through word of mouth. A friend turned me on to Don Carpenter by sending me a Facebook alert to 'like' Carpenter's fanpage (maybe not all that old-fashioned) whom I had never heard of before. I looked around and saw that he had a new book out, "Fridays at Enrico's" which was found as a manuscript in Carpenter's papers after his death and "edited and developed" by Jonathan Lethem (who also wrote an afterword for the book).

"Fridays at Enrico's" follows the lives of several fictional post-beat writers from the Portland, Oregon and San Francisco area over a 16 year period approximately 1959-1975. Carpenter knows writers and their lives and exposes their characters by taking a 360 degree look at their lives.

Although "Fridays at Enrico's" has a seemingly slow start, Carpenter has a deceptively simple style in which he takes his time as he delves into his characters' lives telling their stories through their eyes and the eyes of their peers and revealing their perspectives, jealousies, failures, and triumphs all the while presenting it non-judgmentally. Life happens and Carpenter has a good eye and ear for life's rhythms as you watch the characters evolve they become compelling and before you realize it you find yourself wanting to read the next sentence, the paragraph, the next page, or the next chapter before you put it down.

How compelling is "Fridays at Enrico's"? Enough that when I discovered Carpenter has another book being released, "The Hollywood Trilogy: A Couple of Comedians, The True Story of Jody McKeegan, and Turnaround" I bought a copy right away!


Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Spend an Evening with Tom Robbins, September 1, 2014
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I don’t read a lot of memoirs, the person really has to be of great interest to me for to want to know intimate details of their lives. As has been mentioned by many of the reviewers, this isn’t a traditional memoir of personal reminisces or salacious details, but something warmer, more intimate. The reminisces of Tom Robbins in “Tibetan Peach Pie” are like family stories, stories you would tell your children, or stories you would tell at a friend’s party.

I won’t try to entice you with a list my favorite anecdotes, or a critical assessment of the writing, those are unnecessary. These stories are more than that and ultimately more revealing than a traditional memoir might be. They tell you something about Robbins as a person, his sense of humor, who he is as a human being.


Peace Frog [Explicit]
Peace Frog [Explicit]
Price: $5.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doors Tribute Moves to Originals, August 10, 2014
This review is from: Peace Frog [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
Generally speaking, when a tribute band releases original material they either run far away from their influence or they embrace it, too much and the “original” material sounds like a duplicate copy of the band they were influenced by. Peace Frog in its eponymously titled debut wears its influences on it’s sleeve but simultaneously makes them their own.

For those who are unfamiliar with Peace Frog, it is a Doors tribute band fronted by Tony Fernandez that has been a mainstay on Venice Beach since the 90’s. This current incarnation of Peace Frog includes Sean Colligan and Larry Rousseve on guitar, Owen Goldman (who has a history with The Doors of the 21st Century) on drums, Alex Rice and Paul Roessler on keyboards, Cornelius Mims on bass guitar and was produced by Paul Boutin. The band sounds tight as if they’ve been playing together awhile.

Peace Frog starts out with a flourish in “Heart of Darkness” that will remind the listener of the band’s roots as a Doors tribute band. Throughout there a references both musical and lyrical to The Doors and Peace Frog, despite the dark titles of the songs and the subjects of the songs hews to the ‘Pop’ side of The Doors and a 60’s sound. Which may be ironic because of any band, The Doors are responsible for the sound of music we hear today with a darker timbre in the sound and subject of the songs, after all it was The Doors who made a serial killer fodder for a hit song with “Riders on the Storm.”

Interestingly enough Fernandez’s voice doesn’t sound like Jim Morrison’s on this release but more like David Bowie’s circa “Cat People”, and there’s also a touch of guitar in these songs that sounds like surf music, but this mix leads to a unique sound for Peace Frog that is different enough to be unique and to stick out in the listeners mind. “Shake It” sounds like it could have been a hit song on 60’s radio and maybe it could be today if gets some airplay. “Fire and Snakes” which raps up the release, is a noir excursion that sounds like it could’ve come from or should be on a Quentin Taratino soundtrack.

Peace Frog and Fernandez is obviously heavily influenced by The Doors and that’s not too unexpected given Fernandez’s tenure as the lead singer of a Doors band and one would assume as Fernandez persues his own musical vision his influences will become more assimilated and less obvious.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner


American Legends: The Life of Jim Morrison
American Legends: The Life of Jim Morrison
Price: $2.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable Research Makes Bad Bio, August 4, 2014
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The stand alone biography of Jim Morrison by the Charles Rivers Editors is simply the Jim Morrison section of "The Most Influential Rock Stars of the 1960s: The Lives of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison" under its own separate cover with an introduction added. There is probably a market for short biographies that people can use as quick references or even an afternoon of reading, but the sources used need to be reliable and that's the problem in the Charles Rivers Editors biography of Jim Morrison, its sources and reliability of information.

The biography starts off with a fairly standard telling of Morrison's life, but then falls prey to conjecture, conflation of events and outright inaccuracies. A few examples. First, Jim Morrison told his parents he was dropping out of school to be in a band while he still lived in Florida. May be true or a conflation of separate events that happened after Morrison had started The Doors. Another is that Jim Morrison refused to appear at Woodstock for fear of being shot. I've never seen that in any other Morrison biography, or anything that even suggested that. At the time of Woodstock The Doors were still reeling from the Miami incident and probably would have taken any show offered. Even if true, what mindset or event would lead Morrison to believe he'd be shot at Woodstock? Altamont didn't happen until December of `69 so there wasn't any extra-ordinary concerns at festivals for performers' safety. The Charles River Editors also have Jim Morrison creating a demo of what would become Doors songs in 1963 at Pacific Records before Morrison even arrived in L.A., before he had met Ray Manzarek, and even before he had written the poems that would become Doors songs! Lastly, when telling about Morrison's New Haven arrest in December of 1967, it mentions that Patricia Kennealy was the woman Morrison was with backstage, but it wasn't Kennealy. They didn't meet until January 1969; making Kennealy the woman in New Haven is a reference straight out of Oliver Stone's movie "The Doors", and it was widely known the character was an amalgam character.

The book is footnoted and sources cited, but in checking those sources found the main source of information was David Dalton's 1991 biography "Mr. Mojo Rising: Jim Morrison, The Last Holy Fool", or questionable websites such as rotten.com. If Charles Rivers Editors are interested in providing quick, reliable reference books they need to be more careful about the reliability of the information they're using. I wouldn't recommend this book as source of information on Jim Morrison, there are more accurate biographies available. Based on the reliability of information of this book would question the reliability of information in other Charles Rivers Editors books, especially in the rock `n' roll series.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner


The Most Influential Rock Stars of the 1960s: The Lives of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison
The Most Influential Rock Stars of the 1960s: The Lives of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison
Price: $7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Questionable Research Hobbles Look at Rock Star Lives, July 15, 2014
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Charles Rivers Editors has recently released books on rock stars. The first one that came to my attention was “The Most Influential Rock Stars of the 1960’s: The Lives of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison.” As At first these books seem informative, but as I read further into them a lot of questions started arising in my mind as to the credibility and accuracy of the information presented.

In “The Most Influential Rock Stars of the 1960’s” the Lennon and McCartney sections seemed informative, concise and compact biographies of the two and seemed to jibe with what I already knew about them. The first concern that I had was that Lennon and McCartney sections took up almost half of the book and that the other musicians would get short shrift. That concern was realized as I read the Dylan section. It seemed a rather quick telling of Dylan’s career which is disappointing because Dylan has had a rather rich fifty year career and is a musician I would like to know more about. The section on Jimi Hendrix seemed a fair telling of Hendrix’s story and did include some information that I hadn’t previously known about Hendrix regarding how his military career influenced his unique sound. I’ve never been a huge fan of Janis Joplin’s, but do enjoy some of her songs, and have read a biography of her in the past and I thought this book‘s portrayal of Joplin left a lot to be desired. The exception is the chapter on Joplin’s legacy and I thought that gave a very nice perspective on Joplin’s influence. Then came the section on Jim Morrison which threw into question the credibility of the information I’ve mentioned.

The Jim Morrison section starts off with a fairly standard telling of Morrison’s biography, but then starts adding in a lot of conjecture, conflation of events and outright inaccuracies of Morrison’s life. A few examples, that Jim Morrison told his parents he was dropping out of school to be in a band while he still lived in Florida. May be true or it’s a different interpretation of events or a conflation of events that happened after Morrison had started The Doors. Another is that Jim Morrison refused to appear at Woodstock for fear of being shot. I’ve never seen that in any other Morrison biography, or anything that even suggested that. At the time of Woodstock The Doors were still reeling from the Miami incident and probably would have taken any show offered. Even if true, what mindset or event would lead Morrison to believe he’d be shot at Woodstock? The Doors were appearing at whatever concerts they could book. Altamont didn’t happen until December of ‘69 so there wasn’t any extra-ordinary concerns at festivals for performers’ safety. The Charles River Editors also have Jim Morrison creating a demo of what would become Doors songs in 1963 at Pacific Records, before Morrison even arrived in L.A., before he met Ray Manzare,k and even before he had written the songs! I checked the footnotes cited in the book and found the main source of information was David Dalton’s 1991 biography “Mr. Mojo Rising: Jim Morrison, The Last Holy Fool”, or questionable websites such as rotten.com.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
DVD ~ Gary Oldman

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer Blockbuster You've Been Waiting For!, July 13, 2014
I've been watching "Planet of the Apes" movies since 1968. The producers of those first series of films decided to squeeze every penny out of them they could and production values plummeted with the apes looking nothing more than actors in bad Halloween masks. This new series that started with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is the opposite of those first films and they're increasing production values, with writing and acting being kept at a high level. I can safely say this is one of the best movies I`ve seen in a while and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" should be nominated for an Academy Award (or two) for acting.

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is the summer blockbuster movie you've been waiting for. You want action? You got it. You want believable characters you can relate to, who have believable motivations and emotions within the context of the world they're inhabiting, whether they're apes or human? You got it. You want expansive CGI and special effects that work with the story? You got it.

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" picks up ten years after the events of "Rise Of The Planet of the Apes". Caesar has become the leader of the apes living in the forests outside of San Francisco, he is also a father who cares for his family, and a wise leader who cares about the fate of his followers. The opposite side of the story is humans have been nearly wiped out by a "simian flu" the result of the genetic engineering in "Rise". The humans enclave is San Francisco and they're running out of power which leads them to send out a reconnaissance team to check on the feasibility of getting a dam operational again to provide their need for power, that's when humans and apes encounter each other. There is an epic quality to "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" that borders on the Biblical or mythological in that the mistakes made by both sides, as well as deception that make conflict an inevitability.

One of the marks of a good movie is that you can't predict what will happen, the artist doesn't make the safe or usual choices and keeps its audience guessing as to what happens. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" doesn't make any of the safe or usual choices. This is a movie you want to see and the movie to scale your expectations for future films.


Jim Morrison - Complete Paris Guide for Jim Morrison Fans: Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris
Jim Morrison - Complete Paris Guide for Jim Morrison Fans: Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris
Price: $6.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Guide You'll Need for Jim Morrison's Paris, July 2, 2014
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The anniversary of Jim Morrison's death is fast approaching on July 3 and you may be en-route to Paris or already there, but you'll want to download a copy of "Jim Morrison - Complete Paris Guide/Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris" and explore Jim Morrison's Paris as soon as you get there.

The first section of this e-book "Jim Morrison - Complete Paris Guide" includes a tour of Jim Morrison's Paris from his March - July 1971 stay that culminated in his death. The guide includes the addresses, links to Google maps, and a brief account of what Morrison did or drank there (a lot of bars and hotels make the list), as well as pictures of the locale mostly from the 90's but some period pictures as well. I found it imminently readable, each synopsis is a quick slice of Jim Morrison history and enough to make you want to see the area in Paris and short enough so that when you arrive you can look around, get a feel for the area but won't bog you down in details that detract from your firsthand experience.

The second half of the book is a reprint of Rainer Moddemann's essay "Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris" which while it may be a touch dated in its opinions also includes some previously unknown information, such as, Jim Morrison was working on a rock opera while in Paris (some of his last poems such as "As I Look Back" may have been written with that in mind)! While Jim had gone to Paris to be anonymous he bumped into Americans who knew who he was, Jim was very forthcoming with them, usually hanging out with them for a day or two. I also found that Morrison's and Pam Courson's travels during this period were a little more extensive than I had known before.

As Moddemann points out in the text the Paris that Jim Morrison knew is quickly disappearing, old buildings are being replaced with new buildings that house American fast food restaurants (!) so if you have the chance to get to Paris to see these sites before they're gone, do so and this is the guide you want to use.

"Jim Morrison - Complete Paris Guide/Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris" is available in Kindle edition, and is compatible with all Smartphones and tablet computers, and it is available in five different language editions including English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner.


Light My Fire - A Classic Rock Salute To The Doors
Light My Fire - A Classic Rock Salute To The Doors
Price: $12.99
37 used & new from $8.18

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rockers Salute The Doors, June 28, 2014
There's two ways of looking at this CD, the first, a tribute by classic rock artists who were contemporaries of The Doors paying homage to The Doors, hence the name "Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors." Or it can be looked at as an example of what became wrong with classic rock which led to the back to basics approach of grunge and alternative rock.

"Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors" starts out with jazzier versions of "L.A. Woman" and "Love Me Two Times" that really gives the songs a new perspective. Edgar Winters vocals on "The Crystal Ship add a haunting quality that makes the song his own while still paying tribute to The Doors. The same can be said for David Johansen's vocals on "People Are Strange" (which immediately follows "The Crystal Ship") and Johansen's vocals have the carnival side-show barker quality of "People Are Strange". "Break On Through" is a nearly indestructible rock classic that seems to fare well and above no matter what genre of music or musician covers it.

Into every review a little rain must fall. "Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors" takes a more guitar hero approach to The Doors then The Doors ever did, and when an organ is added it sounds more like a Wurlitzer organ from your local roller rink sound that was widely parodied in the 60's, for this reason a lot of these covers add the patina of age that doesn't exist in The Doors sound. Then there are a couple of missteps that detract from the covers. One is Keith Emerson's intro for "People Are Strange". Jim Morrison was once accused of writing "over-elaborated psychedelic non-sequiteurs" and that's the exact feeling that Emerson's intro evokes before it becomes a weird musical pastiche of Yes, Harold Faltermeyer circa the "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack, and the tones the UFO's make at the end of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." The second is Pat Travers adding the lines "rain on me/make me clean" to "The End" that Jim Morrison never added nor intended to be in the piece. The addition of those lines add meanings and context that Morrison never intended and wouldn't agree with philosophically. "The End" is more of a literary or theatre piece than a song, and as such is more reliant on the author's words and intentions than other pieces.

All that being said, the production values of "Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors" are great, not one of the songs sounds bad, and Billy Sherwood's producing and arrangements gives each cover a unique take on The Doors. "Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors" is the second Doors tribute CD from Cleopatra Records this year. The first "A Psych Tribute To The Doors" featuring alternative or up and coming bands covering Doors songs, feels closer in spirit to The Doors because The Doors were the alternative rock of their day, sure, they are a group from the 60's but they aren't of the 60's. That coupled with producer Paul Rothchild's insistence on keeping The Doors away from the lure of musical fads, The Doors music still feels new and fresh almost fifty years later.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner.


Michael C Ford - Look Each Other In The Ears
Michael C Ford - Look Each Other In The Ears
Price: $15.76
20 used & new from $0.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael C Ford Explores His Los Angeles, June 12, 2014
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Michael C Ford’s “Look Each Other in the Ears” is like sitting in a cool jazz nightclub, the lights low, a cocktail sitting on the table in front of you and digging the words of the poet onstage and the notes of the musicians’ wafting across the room. That’s the exact imagery Ford invokes in his opening track “For Openers” when he names the jazz bars and clubs that were the 40’s - 50’s predecessors of the rock clubs in L.A.

“Look Each Other in the Ears” is more a spoken word album than poems turned into songs. It has bridges and choruses added by producer Harlan Steinberger and Tommy Jordan, and the backing band is none other than Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger all in their jazz mode, but the center of attention are Ford’s poems.

Ford’s poems are melodic. The language of the poems may sound simple using language from the surfers’ “gnarly” to evoking mythology as advertising, to turning a cliché on its head such as in “Mars is America” with the phrase “the grass is always redder on the other side of the senses.” the simplicity is an illusion that belies the complexity of the thoughts, ideas and themes Ford builds in each poem.

“L.A. Woman’ is a rock star’s tour of the Los Angeles landscape and “Look Each Other in the Ears” themematically may be a tour of Ford’s poetic past. From the orange groves of his childhood, the jazz clubs as he was coming of age, and the poets that influenced Ford we’re given a tour of the early influences of his poetic vision.

To any critic that is bemoaning the loss of the album as an art form needs to take a look at this CD. The artwork has a pop-art feel with a cool booklet inside, having nice preambles to the poems. The poems as printed are more like short paragraphs, but really come alive when listening to them as read by Ford. Good poetry has the ability to help us discern and gives voice to the ineffable. “Look Each Other in the Ears” is good poetry.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner.


That Thing You Do!: Tom Hank's Extended Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)
That Thing You Do!: Tom Hank's Extended Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
Price: $15.22
30 used & new from $3.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Filmmaking at it's Best!, May 18, 2014
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After a movie star hits it big, really big, they usually get the chance to bring a pet project to fruition. Bruce Willis brought out what he thought was a well thought out project in “Hudson Hawk” which garnered reviews as possibly one of the worst movies in film history. John Travolta, after his career resurgence in the mid-90’s, brought us “Battlefield Earth” which replaced “Hudson Hawk” as a contender for the worst film in movie history. Tom Hanks on the heels of his success in “A League of Their Own,” “Philadelphia,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Forrest Gump,” “Apollo 13,” and even “Toy Story” brought us “That Thing You Do!” is an example of personal filmmaking at it’s best.

“That Thing You Do!”, which was written and directed by Hanks and he plays a supporting role in the film, is the story of small town rock band in 1964, which through a series of accidents and coincidences suddenly finds itself with a hit record, on a rock ‘n’ roll tour, and on the fast track to Los Angeles for a major label. The movie captures the sense of innocence and naiveté of the characters as they get carried along this stream, but it also captures the fun and excitement of the moment. The scene when they’re walking down the main street listening to transistor radios and they hear their song on the radio for the very first time! has a palpable sense of excitement and joy in the moment. I can’t remember another movie that has captured that so well.

The movie is well acted, Tom Everett-Scott plays the focal character of the film, Guy Patterson, “Erie’s one beatnik” who is asked to sit in for The Oneders (pronounced wonders) drummer and whose input changes the destiny of the band. Johnathon Schaech plays Jimmy Mattingly the serious, talented and ambitious leader of the band who has penned the song that will take them to the top, ‘That Thing You Do!’. Steve Zahn plays the goofy lead guitar player who is in the band for the girls, and Ethan Embry plays the bass player (who never gets a name in the movie except to be called ‘the bass player’) who is just going along for the ride and is more interested in joining the Marines than being in a rock band. Liv Tyler plays Faye, Jimmy’s girlfriend and mascot of the band. Hanks himself plays Mr. White, the Play-Tone A&R man guiding the band along it’s path of rock touring and recording. Although, these roles seem like they’re clichés none is played as a cliché and that gives each character a freshness, likeability and room for character development present even in the unnamed character of ‘the bass player.’ A special mention should be made to Obba Babatunde as Lamar, the bellman at the Los Angeles hotel the (renamed) Wonders are staying at, again this could be a stock character played as a cliché but Lamar is given life and a vibrance by Babatunde.

The bonus features on the ‘Tom Hanks Extended Cut’ include a music video for “Feel Alright,” “The Wonders Big in Japan,” “The Making of That Thing You Do!” “The Story of the Wonders.” “Reunion; The Wonders,” and “HBO First Look: That Thing You Do!” All are interesting and give some great background on how Hanks came up with the idea for the movie and his bringing it to the screen. The only shortcoming is the HBO First Look featurette is pretty redundant of “The Making of” featurette, one of them could have been left off.

This is a movie you’ll want to see and the DVD you want to have!


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