Friday, November 30, 2012

BC2012: Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories by Randy Bachman

Bachman is known in the U.S. as the guitarist who played with the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (aka BTO). But in his native country, this guy is revered like the Canadian Eric Clapton. Those are my words, not his; I doubt Bachman would ever say such a thing. He's pretty humble as rock stars go, and he recognizes that he's led a pretty charmed life all in all. He worked hard to earn his success, but he's been fortunate to have so many great encounters with both his idols and his peers. He shares those stories on his radio show Vinyl Tap Stories (name inspired by This is Spinal Tap!) and in this book.

I've never heard the radio show, but I love this book. Bachman talks about growing up in Winnipeg (a different rock & roll experience compared to growing up in the U.S. or U.K.) and learning from Lenny Breau how to play guitar like Chet Atkins. His "Randy's Guitar Shoppe" chapter serves as a primer on rock guitars without getting too technical. Other chapters tell the stories behind his most popular songs and his experiences with performers from B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis to Eddie Van Halen and George Michael. Since it is based on his radio show, Bachman includes a relevant list of songs at the end of each chapter with the idea that readers can go to iTunes and listen to them.

Bachman never did drugs or drank, so his memory is still pretty good. Anyone who likes to read about 1960s and 1970s rock music should enjoy Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories.

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