Books

Maiden Preparation

It's 5am and I'm about ready to get on the Maiden Bus -- a three-hour journey to the city for the first Australia Iron Maiden tour in more than 20 years. The nails are black, the head is partly shaved, and I'm feeling the part.

We've been delving into all-things-Maiden, my partner and I, since we bought our tickets nearly six months ago. Who knew there was so much out there? Live and doco DVDs, bootleg CDs, even a comprehensive library.

I thought today, I'd show off some of the best Maiden-based works and heavy metal tomes. For the metalhead in us all...

 

Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal

by Ian Christe

HarperCollins Publishers

February 2004

Considered the definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, this one is filled with interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, and others. From the B&N review: 'Though Christe draws some sharp distinctions between and among subgenres, his basic position is that all heavy metal is good until proven bad. "Though metal is larger than life," he writes, "it ultimately comes from life: inflaming the intellect, shaking the senses and stroking the libido more completely than any sound before.'

 

Run to the Hills: The Official Biography of Iron Maiden

by Mick Wall

Sanctuary Publishing

It's unauthorized, but my partner tells me it's excellent. The book charts Maiden's rise from London's East End to the biggest metal band on the planet. It covers the band's highs and gets quite dark when exploring the lows. The best thing about this one, I hear, is it's humour. It's quite a fun read, channeling the band's own style of dry humour.

 

Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal

by David Konow

Crown Publishing Group

November 2002

Konow is a Guitar World writer and his metal fandom seems to make him a perfect candidate for exploring all aspects of the genre and its subgenres. From the metal Maiden explosion through the era of the monster metal ballad, hair rock, and all that came after, Konow takes us through it all. I don't agree with all of his assumptions, and I don't know if Bon Jovi was ever really a metal band, but there are some fun tidbits here.

 

Too Fast for Love: Heavy Metal Portraits

by David Yellen (Photographer), Chuck Klosterman (Introduction), Chuck Klosterman

powerHouse Books

September 2004

Dave Yellen's longing for days gone by when metal was huge and metal hair was bigger still is pretty much exactly what we're experiencing this morning. With word that Maiden are to be performing nothing but hits and other classics tonight, we're expecting flashbacks that hit so hard and so deep that we may actually go back in time. Yellen's book makes us feel like we're not so alone, that perhaps not everyone was oh-so happy to see the spandex era end. There's a lot to be learned about bands and band politics here, as Yellen wins the trust and friendship of some major metal names.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

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Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

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Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

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A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

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Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

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