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Filtering by Tag: The Washington Post

Trump's "A Salute to America" is just a lame reboot of 1970's "Honor America Day."

Chris Klimek

A dollar well spent.

A dollar well spent.

I’ve bought an embarrassing number of weird old records over the last several years, some of them priced considerably higher than the $1 I dropped on Proudly They Came… to Honor America. The double LP was a memento from "Honor America Day," a 1970 Independence Day observance organized by President Nixon's inaugural committee chair.

I'd never heard of that event until I found this record, but when I read up on it, mostly in Kevin J. Kruse's 2015 book One Nation Under God, it struck me as similar in intention to the self-aggrandizing “Salute to America” that President Trump has announced for this Thursday, but far less dire and militaristic. I wrote about all this for the Washington Post. .

Dad Rock of Ages: Twilight of the Gods, reviewed in the Washington Post.

Chris Klimek

The Rolling Stones of 1969 are not the latter-day Stones. Mick Taylor (second from left_ and Bill Wyman (far right) both quit, for one thing, albeit decades apart.

The Rolling Stones of 1969 are not the latter-day Stones. Mick Taylor (second from left_ and Bill Wyman (far right) both quit, for one thing, albeit decades apart.

My first Washington Post byline in two years in a review of Steven Hyden's new book Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock. I had it with me on my own journey to the end of classic rock, when I caught an Amtrak up to New York two months ago to see Springsteen on Broadway. (I wrote up my impressions for Slate.) Strangely enough, my prior Post item was a review of Hyden's previous book, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me. That book was good. This one is better. Maybe your mom would enjoy receiving a copy on Sunday. I don't know. I don't know your mom.

Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, reviewed for Washington Post Book World

Chris Klimek

I've admired music critic Steven Hyden's writing in Grantland since I first took notice of it a couple of years ago, so I was grateful for the opportunity to review his new bookYour Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life, for the Washington Post. If you'd like to read an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters, about the mid-80s clash of egos between Michael Jackson and Prince, Slate ran a piece of that chapter the day that Prince died.

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George Jones Talks About His Greatest Lines

Chris Klimek

My review of Rich Kienzle's new biography The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones, is in Sunday's Washington Post. There's probably some other stuff in there that would be good to read, too, I bet.

Anyway, here's a paragraph I had to cut for space.

Amid his dutiful, carefully sourced recounting of booze-lubricated recording sessions and singles, Kienzle highlights some amusingly unexpected sides of Jones, like when he told his ex-wife Tammy Wynette in a 1980 interview in Country Music (a magazine Kienzle contributed to for 24 of its 31 years) that if he had to find a second career he would enjoy being an interior decorator. He might fare better than he did as the proprietor of three outdoor country music parks, which he opened at three different points in his life and quickly abandoned. He was also wanton enough with his brand to lend it to random products: George Jones Country Sausage and, also, troublingly, George Jones Country Gold Dog Food and Cat Food. Kienzle notes that a TV spot for the latter was called “George Jones Talks About His Greatest Lines.” If a TV commercial has to have a title, that’s either an unfortunate one or a brilliant one for a pitch from a man whose life and career were so damaged by his eight-year dalliance with cocaine.

I wouldn't ordinarily be so flip discussing something as serious as an addiction problem but that ad just beggars belief.

Audrey and Bill, reviewed for Washington Post Book World

Chris Klimek

Audrey Hepburn & William Holden in a promotional image for Billy Wilder's  Sabrina,  1954.

Audrey Hepburn & William Holden in a promotional image for Billy Wilder's Sabrina, 1954.

I reviewed Audrey and Bill: A Romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, a crummy book about the two stars' affair during the making of Sabrina in the early 50s, for The Washington Post. If decades-old Hollywood gossip is your bag, I recommend Karina Longworth's podcast You Must Remember This. The author of Audrey and Bill, Edward Z. Epstein, is a former publicist; Longworth is film critic and historian. It's a crucial difference. 

UPDATE: Whoops, You Must Remember This already covered Hepburn and Sabrina. I should've checked that. Also, I stumbled upon this 10-year-old Slate piece about Arnold Schwarzenegger's incredibly luxe deal for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, by one Edward Jay Epstein. It's richly reported and has a strong point of view, two qualities Audrey and Bill lacks, in my opinion. Having written for Slate myself, I know that their editors encourage this sharper, more argumentative tone, but even allowing for that, this Schwarzenegger piece and Audrey and Bill still don't read like the work of the same author. Probably because they're not: Edward Jay's site is here; Edward Z.'s is here. But that's still a pretty big coincidence.

WaPo Book Review: Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, & Rumours

Chris Klimek

My review of Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, & Rumours, a new biography by British rock journalist Zoë Howe, is in Sunday's Washington Post.

Almost all of the music that shaped my taste at an impressionable age is contemporaneous with Fleetwood Mac's heyday – 1975 to 1989 or so – but I never got into that band though they've obviously written some sublime songs. I won't pretend to have more than a passing familiarity with their catalog, but the ones I've always liked are Nicks', especially "Landslide" and "Dreams," their only No. 1 hit.

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WaPo Book Review: Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

Chris Klimek

In tomorrow's Washington Post – the part of it that's already out today, in fact I review Peter Bebergal's Season of the Witch, a book that actually manages to make the intersection of rock and roll and the Occult seem boring. The Bowie photo is from Nic Roeg's creepy movie The Man Who Fell to Earth, wherein the Thin White Duke plays an alien visiting Earth from a drought-stricken planet.

But other than the skull cap and the contact lenses, that's what he really looked like in 1975 when a 19-year-old Cameron Crowe interviewed him. His raging abuse of cocaine during this period had made him paranoid, and specifically convinced that witches were trying to steal his semen to create a homunculus. According to Bebergal. I regret that I couldn't find space to mention this in my 500-word review. (I don't remember anything about that in the Bowie biography I wrote about in the Dallas Morning News a few years back, but my memory is worse than useless.)

I also lament not being able squeeze in something about Bebergal's discussion of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, who argued “that the Satan of his church was not a literal personification of evil, but rather a stand-in for ‘the spirit of discovery, freethinking, and rebelliousness. He told the Los Angeles Times: “'It’s just Ayn Rand’s philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added.'”

 

WaPo Book Review: One Lucky Bastard: Tales from Tinseltown

Chris Klimek

"Passion without pressure" is how Roger Moore describes the kissing technique he says in his (second) memoir that Lana Turner taught him in 1956, a century or so before he replaced Sean Connery as 007. Gross. This poor girl. Gross.

"Passion without pressure" is how Roger Moore describes the kissing technique he says in his (second) memoir that Lana Turner taught him in 1956, a century or so before he replaced Sean Connery as 007. Gross. This poor girl. Gross.

Roger Moore was 45 when he made his first debut as James Bond ­ -- older than Sean Connery, who’d played the role in five films before he got fed up and abdicated, then was coaxed back and quit a second time – and approximately 110 by the last the last of his seven appearances as 007 12 years later. On the DVD extras for Live and Let Die, his 1973 debut as the superspy he and no one else refers to as “Jimmy” Bond, Moore tellingly bemoans the “30 minutes of daily swimming” he endured to develop the not-particularly-athletic physique he displays in the movie. In the three Bonds he made in the 80s, he rarely looked hale enough to survive a tryst with one of his decades-younger leading ladies, much less a dustup with punch-pulling henchpersons like Tee Hee or Jaws or May Day.

Such was the strength of the Bond brand: Audiences would buy that this guy, who looked and acted like the world’s most condescending game show host, was an elite assassin, as long as he looked good in a tuxedo. Which just happened to be Moore’s primary, not to say only, skill.

One-Lucky-Bastard.jpg

To his credit, Moore was aware of his limitations in the part, and in general. This ingrained self-deprecation is present even in the title of his new, low-impact memoir, One Lucky Bastard (which I review in Sunday's Washington Post), wherein Mr. I Hate Swimming, sorry, that’s Sir I Hate Swimming, now, allows that current Bond Daniel Craig -- the most chiseled man to play the part, in concordance with our unforgiving expectations of 21st-century action heroes, but also the best actor, too -- “ looks as though he could actually kill, whereas I just hugged or bored them to death.”

One thing I loved about writing this review is that it meant my best gal Rachel Manteuffel and I were both trying to get references to cunnilingus through the Post's Standards & Practices Dept. at the same time. You'll have to wait another week to read her story, but see to it that you do. It's funny and insightful and honest, like everything she writes, and very, very sexy.