Book Review: Nothin’ But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ’80s Hard Rock Explosion By Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock (St. Martins Press)

By: Jesse Striewski

With renewed interest in the decade of decadence continually growing each year, there’s no shortage of various media information on ’80s hard rock (a.k.a. ‘hair’ or ‘glam’ rock) and heavy metal out there these days. But this new book by rock journalists Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock (with a brief forward by Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor) is truly the new bible on ’80s hard rock and heavy metal.

Largely tracing it’s roots back to the influence Van Halen had on the movement in the mid to late ’70s, here the two authors put together a collection of interviews that includes numerous musicians, producers, promoters, magazine editors, and the like, to help tell the tale of arguably one of rock’s greatest eras. Various key members of such staple acts as Motley Crue, Ratt, Guns N’ Roses, Quiet Riot, Dokken, L.A. Guns, W.A.S.P., Poison, Cinderella, and Warrant, – as well as numerous Rewind It Magazine interviewees from over the years – including Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister, Jack Russell of Great White, Brian Forsthye of Kix, and Rachel Bolan of Skid Row (among many others), are just some who help recall the foundation of the genre that changed it all in great detail.

The perspective is unique and fresh, despite some of the stories already found in other published works (many of those involved have previously published their own individual biographies). There’s even a brief but brilliant collection of many never-before-seen photos included as well. In short, Nothin’ But a Good Time is a rollercoaster ride of literature from start to finish, and one of the best of it’s kind currently available on the subject. It simply ‘don’t get better than this.’

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Book Review: A Shot of Poison By Christopher Long (CG Publishing)

By: Jesse Striewski

This newly-released, slightly updated version of Christopher Long’s 2010 book chronicling his time spent as a working crew member for one of the most pivotal hard rock/glam bands to emerge from the ’80s Sunset Strip, Poison, is everything it’s title is cracked up to be.

Part memoir, part biography, Long explains in great detail how he originally landed his coveted position within the band’s ranks after years of friendship with bassist Bobby Dall, before becoming his “go-to” guy on tour. Long eventually lives out the ultimate music journalists’ dream a la Almost Famous, and it’s impossible not to relate many of the stories to my very own experiences over the years. Each new revealing tale leaves you yearning to get to the next page as quickly as possible.

I must admit, I didn’t catch the original edition of this book the first time around, but I’m definitely glad I was finally able to catch up on it. In a recent conversation, Long clarified the differences between the two editions to me; “The stories are generally the same, however the overall writing has been polished from top to bottom, and the entire 25-page closing chapter is all-new content.”

So whether or not you’re even a fan of the band Poison themselves per se, there should be something for everyone here who’s even had a remote interest in rock music. So put down the worries of every day life, and pick up A Shot of Poison for “Nothin’ but a Good Time!”

Rating: 4/5 Stars