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Posted May 26, 2011
Quite possibly the greatest Rock bio ever written. This well written, entertaining and informative fast reading book chronicles the amazing story of the legendary Blues- Rock band Canned Heat, with all of the drama, tragedy, sadness & heartbreak this self described "Hard luck" "Outlaw Band" endured. This is a band that clearly was living the blues, however the book also discusses the moments of joy, musical genius, and extreme success (and of course excess). There are even elements of humor, as I found myself actually laughing out loud on more than one occasion, while reading. Of course there is the most extreme Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll story I have ever seen depicted with the most devastating of consequences, including band members and girlfriends dying from overdoses, incredible descriptions of wild sexual escapades and parties and at the same time a depiction of true musical artistry, which resulted in their refusal to practice songs before recording them and insisting on recoding in one take, because they wanted the music to be spontaneous.Their extreme love of performing live music for their fans, is also clearly shown, resulting in them performing on stage for the sheer joy of it, often until the singer passed out on stage, or the venue shut the house lights in an effort to finally get them off the stage, even when doing so may result in them not being paid for the show, or performing while holding back tears on several occasions, like when they learned back stage prior to going on, that one of the lead singers, Alan Wilson, (who the great John Lee Hooker calls the greatest Harmonica Player ever), committed suicide. Always performing for the fans no matter what,such as instances of a couple of them performing while in Wheel chairs, not to mention their long time guitarist Henry Vestine (named by Rolling stone magazine as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time) who's teeth were falling out back stage before going on to perform and died of lung cancer shortly after performing on stage that same night, after giving possibly his greatest performance ever ... All of this is written though the eyes of the well educated, immigrant who joined the band in the 1960's as it's drummer, and found himself shortly thereafter playing Woodstock and living the life of a major rock star, only to later hit bottom after things such as the band loseing rights to collect royalties on major hit songs as a result of irresponsible and unscrupulous representation. Resulting in the band years later performing in small biker bars, while being managed by a member of the Hells Angels biker gang, after having played at shows like the Montery pop festival, and Woodstock and filing arenas all over the world with bands such as, Creedence Clearwater, Led Zepplin, and ZZ Top opening up for them.
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Posted May 9, 2011
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK AND ROLL STAR?
Wow, what a ride. The ups and downs of Canned Heat as told here by Fito make me glad that I made my living being a simple, nobody square.
If you remember the days and the bands that were really happening back then, this is a story you really need to read! Highly recommended *****
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Posted June 26, 2010
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