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Next Week in Music | Aug. 30 – Sept. 5 • New Books

Next week's lineup of new music books is an eclectic affair. Read all about ’em.


A diva’s chewing gum. A soul-poet’s letters. An underground label’s history. Folk music’s evolution. And in-depth histories of Joy Division and New Order, The Who, The Police and more. Next week’s lineup of music books is definitely an eclectic affair. Read all about ’em:


Nina Simone’s Gum
By Warren Ellis

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Thursday July 1, 1999, Nina Simone gave a rare performance as part of Nick Cave’s Meltdown Festival. After the show, in a state of awe, Warren Ellis crept onto the stage, took her piece of chewed gum from the piano, wrapped it in her stage towel and put it in a Tower Records bag. The gum remained with him for 20 years; a sacred totem, his creative muse, growing in significance with every passing year. In 2019, Cave — his collaborator and great friend — asked Warren if there was anything he could contribute to display in his Stranger Than Kindness exhibition. Warren realised the time had come to release the gum. Together they agreed it should be housed in a glass case like a holy relic. Worrying the gum would be damaged or lost, Warren decided to first have it cast in silver and gold, sparking a chain of events that no one could have predicted, one that would take him back to his childhood and his relationship to found objects. Nina Simone’s Gum is about how something so small can form beautiful connections between people. It is a story about the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality. It is a celebration of artistic process, friendship, understanding and love.”

Joy Division + New Order: Decades
By John Aizlewood

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “First there was Joy Division. Their music reflected both the barren urban landscape of their native Manchester in the late 1970s and singer Ian Curtis’s heart of darkness. They remain forever defined by both the suicide of their extraordinary and extraordinarily volatile singer and two albums as close to perfection as music can come.From the ashes of Joy Division came New Order — their globally popular music bridged the chasm between indie and dance and inspired a generation. Having conquered the world and maintained their credibility, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and imploded in a tsunami of recrimination, while still making fabulous music. It’s a tale of death, destroyed friendships and bungled finances, but the story of Joy Division and New Order is also the saga of two bands who made extraordinary music which defined their times and overturned the musical landscape.”

The Who: Much Too Much
By Mike Evans

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Still making sensational live appearances on the international concert circuit, The Who have been rivaled only by The Rolling Stones as an enduring rock phenomenon for over half a century. From their early days as The Detours, they were at the vanguard of the mod movement in the mid-1960s, in 1965 striking gold as The Who with Can’t Explain, followed by My Generation, which became a true anthem of its time. Through the triumphs of Pete Townshend’s ambitious creations in Tommy and Quadrophenia, to the tragedy of the passing of drummer Keith Moon and bass player Jon Entwistle, the book follows the group’s tumultuous history via incisive text, archive reviews and interviews, and a track-by-track summary of all The Who’s studio and live albums. Sumptuously illustrated with a wealth of color and black-and-white photography, plus album art and other graphic ephemera, The Who: Much Too Much is a must-have celebration of one of the key names in rock music history.”

The Police: Every Little Thing – The Adventures of Sting, Stewart and Andy
By Caroline Stafford & David Stafford

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “An American drummer, a bass player from Newcastle and a guitarist a decade older than the other two, with little in common other than their musical brilliance and towering ambition, formed one of the most successful bands in history. Covering the years 1977-1986 and the brief reincarnation in 2007-2008, acclaimed biographers Caroline and David Stafford chronicle the rise and fall of The Police. Much like Reservoir Dogs but without the light relief, it’s a tale of jealousy, anger and attrition both on the road and in the studio. And yet, despite — or perhaps because of — the battles, these three musicians, each supremely talented in his own right, together achieved a symbiosis that produced music of soaring magnificence.”

Queen Live: Collected
By Alison James

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After 50 years as one of the world’s best loved rock bands, Queen have played over 700 concerts throughout the world and are still selling out stadiums in the 2020s. The band’s earliest documented concerts were at colleges in the Home Counties of England in 1970 and since then they have performed at massive, memorable, record-breaking events across the globe. Their performances in Rio and at Live Aid in 1985 are considered to be two of the best live shows anywhere. Their final show with Freddie Mercury at Knebworth Park on Aug. 9, 1986 was extraordinary. Then there was the Freddie Mercury Memorial Concert at Wembley Stadium. This stunning illustrated book includes set lists of many key shows and takes the reader through each tour in depth, both with Freddie and Adam Lambert. Shows which have defined their career to date for a whole generation of rock music fans.”

Love of My Life: The Life and Loves of Freddie Mercury
By Lesley-Ann Jones

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Millions of Queen and screen fans who watched the Oscar-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody believe that Mary Austin, the woman he could never quite let go of, was the love of Freddie Mercury’s life. But the truth is infinitely more complicated. Best-selling biographer and music writer Lesley-Ann Jones explores the charismatic frontman’s romantic encounters, from his boarding school years in Panchgani, India to his tragic, final, bed-ridden days in his magnificent London mansion. She reveals why none of his love interests ever perfected the art of being Freddie’s life partner. In Love of My Life, the author follows him through his obsessions with former shop girl Mary, German actress Barbara Valentin and Irish-born barber boyfriend Jim Hutton. She explores his adoration of globally fêted Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé. She delves into his intimate friendship with Elton John, and probes his imperishable bonds with his fellow band members. She deconstructs his complicated relationship with the ‘food of love’ — his music — and examines closely his voracious appetite for (and what some would call his fatal addiction to) sex. Which of these was the real love of Mercury’s life? Were any of them? Drawing on personal interviews and first-hand encounters, this moving book brings to the fore a host of Freddie’s lesser-known loves, weaving them in and out of the passions that consumed him.”

Estrus: Shovelin’ the Shit Since ’87
By Chris Alpert Coyle & Scott Sugiuchi

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Estrus: Shovelin’ The Shit Since ’87 is the complete, as-yet-untold story of U.S. garage-rock powerhouse Estrus Records, which for nearly two decades churned out hundreds of releases from some of the biggest garage, trash, surf, and punk bands worldwide — among them The Makers, The Mummies, Man … or Astroman?, and label head honcho’ Dave Crider’s drunk punk quartet The Mono Men. Shovelin’ charts the label’s highs and lows — from its highly successful hosting of the annual Garageshock, arguably the greatest series of garage rock festivals, to the devastating loss of its warehouse in a fire. Estrus is one of the few record labels whose cover art and other graphics match the brilliance of its music, thanks to the contributions of trash-culture visionary Art Chantry. Packed with iconic visuals, the book draws on lively, extensive interviews, never-seen-before photos, oddball artifacts and more, to give a fascinating insight into the major players behind one of garage rock’s most influential and successful independent record labels.”

Letters to Gil
By Malik Al Nasir

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Letters to Gil is Malik Al Nasir’s profound coming-of-age memoir — the story of surviving physical and racial abuse and discovering a new sense of self-worth under the wing of the great artist, poet and civil rights activist Gil Scott-Heron. Born in Liverpool, Malik was taken into care at the age of nine after his seafaring father became paralysed. He would spend his adolescence in a system that proved violent, neglectful, exploitative, traumatising and mired in abuse. Aged 18, he emerged semi-literate, penniless with no connections or sense of where he was going — until a chance meeting with Gil Scott-Heron. Letters to Gil will tell the story of Malik’s empowerment and awakening while mentored by Gil, from his introduction to the legacy of Black history to the development of his voice through poetry and music. Written with lyricism and power, it is a frank and moving memoir, highlighting how institutional racism can debilitate and disadvantage a child, as well as how mentoring, creativity, self-expression and solidarity helped him to uncover his potential.”

The Electric Muse Revisited: The Story of Folk Into Rock and Beyond
By Dave Laing, Robin Denselow & Robert Shelton

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Folk music has been evolving and adapting for centuries, but in the 1960s and ’70s came an extraordinary period of change and innovation. Rock musicians borrowed from traditional songs, while folk musicians re-worked ancient ballads using electric guitars and drum kits. From Bob Dylan to Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Steeleye Span, the fusion of old and contemporary created a powerful new style: folk-rock. Since then, new and experimental folk fusions have continued, involving anything from rap to electronica. First published in 1975, at the height of the folk-rock boom, the critically acclaimed Electric Muse chronicled the story of the folk movement, from roots to revival. With new chapters on the eras of Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, June Tabor, Bellowhead, Sam Lee, Stick In The Wheel and others, and featuring new interviews and photographs, this edition brings the fascinating narrative up to date. As in 1975, The Electric Muse Revisited is published simultaneously with a new album set of the same title.”