Backbeat Books publishes books about rock and roll and the instruments used to make it all year long. So, if there's a rock fan on your list, the publisher -- owned by Milwaukee's Hal Leonard -- has three new books to consider.
First up, and most specific of the bunch is John D. Luerssen's "U2 FAQ: Anything You'd Ever Want to Know About the Biggest Band in the World ... And More!" This hefty paperback is full of information both interesting and otherwise.
Among the latter, "Adam Clayton's very first concert at the Carlton Cinema in Dublin in the fall of 1974 was a show by Irish blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher." That must be an example of the "And More" from the book's title.
Among the former are interesting tidbits on, for example, Annie Roseberry, the staffer who first saw and pursued the band for Island Records, and the time U2 first met producer Martin Hannett. Seems they met in the studio while Hannett was recording Ian Curtis' vocal on the landmark "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division.
This book ($19.99) is perfect for the U2 devotee on your list. Casual fans, however, may begin to yawn early on.
Guitar nuts will devour "The Complete History of Guitar World: 30 Years of Music, Magic and Six-String Mayhem," by the editors of Guitar World magazine, and Tony Bacon's "The Stratocaster Guitar Book."
The first of these two large-format paperbacks -- priced at $29.99 -- has a chapter on each of Guitar World's 30 years, with magazine covers, tidbits and interviews and features from its pages. It's heavy on the metal and the big names like Page, Vaughan, Van Halen, Zappa, Clapton, Slash, Satriani, etc. Despite dabbling in all genres, this is perfect for the metal head or classic rock fan on your list.
Six-string slingers will love Bacon's Strat book ($24.99) even if they play a Gibson or a Rickenbacker. The Stratocaster is an icon of rock and roll and Bacon lends his considerable knowledge to telling the history of the instrument and exploring how it became such a ubiquitous guitar in the world of rock and blues.
Of course, there are loads of great photos of various models, vintage catalogs and advertisements, players and more. There is also a handy reference listing in the back.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.