NEWS

06/06/2024

I just learned that the wonderful Deanne Good died earlier this week. Deanne was a supremely talented photographer, a fervent supporter of Book of Kills and The Karl Rove and simply a great friend. Many of the photos on this site were taken by her and she was kind enough to allow us to use some of her work in our compact disc albums. We will miss her so much. 

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” – C.S. Lewis

06/03/2024

I am in the (very slow) process of uploading a number of Jim Shelley, Book of Kills and Fear + Whiskey albums to Bandcamp. Adding an album is a rather laborious, if not tedious, process since so much information of one sort or another has to be part of the listing. It took a couple hours today just to add WASP 51!, which is the only BOK album right now available on that site. Bandcamp is a good site for fans since you can download an entire album by the artist usually for around $7 and YOU own the album once you pay for it, unlike streaming services.

05/22/2024

Book of Kills will not play the June 22 show in Staunton. Sorry.

05/17/2024

It looks as though BOK will be playing a live show in Staunton, Virginia, June 22. More information when the date is confirmed. George and I, by the way, will be hitting one or two venues in  Harrisonburg Sunday to see if we can scrounge up another show or two or three.

05/09/2024

"Find people who think like you and stick with them. Make only music you are passionate about. Work only with people you like and trust. Don't sign anything."

“I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth,” he wrote. “There’s no way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.” 

“I don't think anyone has exhausted the range of sound possible in a conventional rock band, but people do become slaves to their own easiest techniques.” 

“I feel like bands should be growing, living, functioning entities and to crystallize a band into a single album, and for that to be a touchstone - I understand it from a fan's perspective but I also feel like it's a little bit misleading in terms of the way bands actually function.”

“The bands that have been the most important to me, and the records that have been the most important to me as a fan, have been records that surprised me for one reason or another.”

– Steve Albini

05/08/2024

You've probably already heard that Steve Albini died Tuesday of a heart attack. Albini was, of course, hugely influential on indie music in the ‘80s and ’90s and his band Big Black had a significant influence on my own music in the late '80s.

We had a good practice Sunday. Afterwards, George suggested he and I go to Restless Moons and see if we can set up a multi-band show.

04/30/2024

A couple weeks ago, I noted that someone had recently asked me who my influences were as far as my own music. It took me a little while to sort out those musicians and/or bands that helped make me who I became musically, and I'm sure there's name or two I'll forget but briefly…

I'm going to do this in parts. First up--vocal and guitar influences:

Okay, let me say that I do NOT like my voice. Never have. Never will. But whatever vocal stylings I'm capable of by and large come from listening to Bob Dylan, John Lennon, George Harrison and Roger McGuinn. None of them had a huge voice, though Lennon's could obviously be quite powerful when a song called for power, but they all learned to make the most of what they had. Bob Dylan is a far better singer than most people give him credit for. From almost the beginning of his career he actually created a new way of singing--a rock and roll way--that involved a new, unique method of phrasing, an innovative use of vocal dynamics, and an understanding of the importance of rhythm while delivering a song's lyrics. His effect on singers (from Lennon and Harrison to Lou Reed to Roger McGuinn to Tom Petty to Neil Young to Kurt Cobain) who followed him is incalculable.

As far as my obviously limited guitar playing goes, I think I learned most of what I understand about rhythm guitar from George Harrison and John Lennon. Lennon in particular was a truly good rhythm player. Listen to his precise, propulsive work on “All My Loving” and “This Boy”. Listen to his arpeggios on “Because” and “I Want You (She's So Heavy)”. Listen to his finger-picking on “Julia” or “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”. Just brilliant.

George wrote solos that often seemed simple and restrained but were perfectly suited for the song of which they were a crucial part. His sense of taste, tonality, melody and rhythm were nearly unparalleled. I began absorbing his style from the very first moments I began listening to Beatles records. I've recorded hundreds of solos in my time. Most of them I didn't “write” but rather just let happen. Regardless, all of them were influenced in some way or another by George Harrison's work.

Harrison was hardly the only influence on my own playing, however; I learned a great deal from Jerry Garcia about how to make notes flow melodically from one to another. He was never a brilliant technician, but his tastefulness, his improvisational skill, and his ability to reach so many people emotionally were close to untouchable. I also found his tone, particularly from the 1969-1971 era, quite inviting.

I suppose I should also include Neil Young here. No one will ever mistake him for Yngwie Malmsteen, but few rock guitarists are more expressive, emotive and powerful than Neil. His approach is all about feel, not technique. His playing on his great second solo album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, taught me how to build a solo that sits perfectly within a song with not a single wasted note.

(More soon...)