Have you ever written a book review?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slash at the Warfield: The Best Live Rock Guitarist Ever?

OK, so this is one of those "Ted is in one of those moods again" postings.

I was never a huge Guns N Roses fan, as I wrote last May in the posting "My New Favorite Slew of Songs." Sure, I liked a few of their tunes, but I never bothered to see them live. And frankly, Saul Hudson (aka Slash) never impressed me as a guitar virtuoso. Good? Sure. Unbelievably good? Nah.

I could not have been more wrong.

Last January my brother turned me on to Slash's "Snakepit," a group from some years back Slash formed after GNR broke up. The songs were so-so, but a couple really stuck with me, as did his melodic guitar riffs. Just two months ago Slash put out a new album featuring different lead singers on nearly every song. And he wrote every song. The wide variety of music, from jazz to blues, from ballad to hard rock, is impressive. Sunday night my brother, his son Nikkos (my Godson/nephew), and a friend of ours caught Slash at the Warfield theater in San Francisco. His lead singer for the tour is Myles Kennedy (a talent I had never heard of until this new Slash album). Man can this guy sing! I had no idea what I was in for.

We were in the balcony (see the shot to the right from my Blackberry), the venue is small (some 2,000 people), and the view was magnificent. The band played for 2.25 hours. Here is the set list. You can click and see clips next to the songs. (Note the sound is not nearly the same, nor the effect. Hit his Godfather theme and watch and listen carefully especially after 1:30 into it. This is an old version--it is different today.) 

My jaw still hurts because my mouth was open in abject shock most of the show. I have seen scores of concerts, from Gordon Lightfoot and Fogelberg to Rush, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden--you name it. I have never seen a guitarist perform so well, for so long, with so many styles (blues, classical, hard rock, jazz, et al.) and flavors as Slash did Sunday evening. I am STILL blown away.

His solo theme from the Godfather was a masterpiece. He transitioned into it, and soloed for ten minutes and it was so lovely, so magnificent I could not take my eyes off him. Every time I thought it would end he transitioned into something else that dropped my jaw open. And when he finished, he transitioned into "Sweet Child O' Mine."

If you get a chance to go see Slash on this tour--do so. You will not be disappointed.

PS: This is a photo of my 16-year old nephew Nikkos (from a phone, while he is jumping around, sorry!) playing GNR's "Civil War" the night before the Slash concert at the battle of the bands up here in Northern California. His band JAXX won against bands whose members are in their 20s. Ready for this? The JAXX members are ages 13 (drummer) to 16 (Nikkos and Alan, guitarists). The bassist is just 15. And they write almost all their own music. Go get 'em, Nikkos!

(OK, back to Failure in the Saddle, the forthcoming Confederate cavalry study on Chickamauga!)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Farewell to Arms? (or, The Demise of Barnes and Noble?)

I think the writer is spot on when it comes to this particular business running a rat race well behind the proverbial curve. Who could not see this coming a decade ago? I did and I am not much of a clairvoyant.

The devolution has been painful to witness, especially given my line of work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Latest Book Trailer: New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah

Someone just spotted our poll about book trailers (see poll on the left) and called to ask where they can see examples.

Veronica Kane of our office recently created a cool viewing pad on our home page at www.savasbeatie.com. You can use your mouse to pick a different trailer, expand to full screen, adjust the volume, and so forth. I spend a lot of time there . . .

Our latest trailer is New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah, by Richard Lowry. See his website here.

The trailer is on our home page.


All Platforms Electronic

In cooperation with our distributor, Casemate, we are submitting all our titles for formatting into every platform for electronic readers (iPad, Sony Reader, Kindle, Nook, and so forth).

We have already introduced a select number of titles in Kindle, and the results have been about as we expected: a handful of sales, but nothing overwhelming.

One of the discussions currently underway is whether the Kindle (or any e-book, for that matter) should be released simultaneously with the print edition. One school of thought says yes: hit it all at once because some people will purchase the e-book who would not otherwise pick up the traditional print edition anyway, and some will pick up both versions. The second school of thought (to which I currently subscribe) is that you wait about 60 days to release the e-book so as not to chip away at the print edition sales.

We are watching this dynamic unfold now. Stay tuned.