Live from New York

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Saturday Night Live was a major part of my childhood.  So many comedy and music legends have touched that stage.  I’ve been wanting to read the book above, LIVE FROM NEW YORK, the uncensored history of the show, for a long time, and I finally got around to buying it before my honeymoon.  I finished it probably halfway through the trip, and I loved every page of it.  It’s comprised of interviews with all the actors, writers, and producers of the show from 1975 to the present (Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Lorne Michaels, Conan O’Brien, Larry David, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, etc.) woven together to tell the Saturday Night Live story in chronological order.  It’s remarkable how many of my favorite comedians were a part of the show at one point in their career.  Check the pic below of the original cast from the first season…

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The interviews from page to page are really in depth, and the book goes into all sorts of tales of sex, drugs, rock n roll, and of course comedy.  I mean, those dudes from the first five years, like Dan Akroyd, Jon Belushi, and Bill Murray and all those guys, used to smoke HELLA TREES right up in the NBC offices, not to mention drink like maniacs and do all other sorts of drugs.  And the book really goes in depth describing the creative process and constant stuggle of writing sketches and putting the show together every week.  From the friendships to the love affairs to the beefs (yes, there was MAD BEEF behind the scenes), I had a hard time putting it down.  Check it out, especially if you’re a an SNL watcher.  Go to your local book store to cop it before they close down like all the record stores in town.  Am I the only one who still likes to buy books and music in an actual store?  Here’s a clip from the opening of the 15th anniversary show to get you warmed up for the book featuring a bunch of big stars, and also a link to the SNL website with lots of clips and history to surf through past and present…

Saturday Night Live Website

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The second book I read on my trip, written in the same style of pieced together interviews as the SNL story, was THE SKILLS TO PAY THE BILLS (cover above), the story of The Beastie Boys.  Very similar to LIVE FROM NEW YORK, this book tells the chronological history of the rap group through sit downs with all three members as well as everyone else involved with their early days at Def Jam including Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and Lyor Cohen (who used to be their manager), and all the other major players who were part of their success (Matisyahu’s manager and former President of Capitol Records is interviewed too).  Lots of crazy tales from the road and their life in both NYC and LA, and a look at the creative process behind the making of their classic albums.  A very fun and easy read, especially for me because I used to idolize these guys, especially Ad-Rock, as a young teenager.

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I actually love reading interviews more than anything else, so these two books were perfect for my trip.  In fact, I posted a while back about another great collection of interviews book that Rolling Stone put together, check the link here, and also below is the video for my favorite Beastie Boys song “So What’cha Want”, off the album pictured above Check Your Head, which was just re-issued with remastered tracks, bonus cuts, and unreleased material (link for that is below too along with their official website)…Hollerrrrrrrr.

Beastie Boys Official Website

Check Your Head Collectors Editions

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