Monday, March 12, 2007

Ralph Heibutzki

Ralph Heibutzki has written for a variety of music publications since 1992, including Discoveries, Goldmine, Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar, profiling many of blues, jazz and rock's most significant artists and performers.

Last week here on the blog, Paul Guyot mentioned that he was reading Heibutzki's Unfinished Business: The Life And Times Of Danny Gatton.

That book looked interesting, so I asked Heibutzki what he has been reading. His reply:
The Abominable Man: The Story of a Crime (Maj Sjöwall/Per Per Wahlöö)

This marked my introduction with the '60s/'70s Martin Beck mystery series, and I'm glad to make his acquaintance.... Beck must find the killer of a police inspector who turns out to have an unparalleled reputation for brutality, setting the stage for an armed confrontation with the suspect in downtown Stockholm (Sweden). In a post-9/11 world, this book stands as a potent reminder against abuses of power, of whatever stripe.

Catch a Wave:The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson (Peter Ames Carlin)

Builds on the work of David Leaf, whose own 1978 book (The Beach Boys & The California Myth ) had been seen as the definitive effort...then goes above and beyond to examine the reality behind the Beach Boys' myth, and how Brian Wilson fits into it (in my view, the key to understanding this group). Essential for Beach Boys fans, but worth your time, even if you aren't one.

Citizen Moore: The Life and Times of an American Iconoclast (Roger Rapoport)

Given how long Michael Moore has spent "calling people out" on their sins, it seemed inevitable that someone would give him the same treatment: impressive on the '80s and '90s, less so in covering the last five years of Moore's career (which I'd attribute to lack of source material). Either way, you'll learn some surprising truths about America's favorite iconoclastic filmmaker.

Going Underground: American Punk 1979-1992 (George Hurchalla)

Forget the lies being pumped out by today's dumbed-down mainstream music industry -- you don't have to settle for less: let this book show you why. More than a rundown of obscure bands -- many of whom I remember vividly, but that's beside the point -- Hurchalla pays tribute to the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) spirit, which is the real legacy of punk.

Lost in the Funhouse: The Life & Mind of Andy Kaufman (Bill Zehme)

If you only know Andy Kaufman as a ghost from "Taxi" reruns, you're in for a big surprise: Zehme peels away layers of mystery, rumor and half-truth to reveal the heart and soul of a genuine prankster.
Visit Ralph Heibutzki's official website where the Danny Gatton pages have their own section.

--Marshal Zeringue