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Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly

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From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history. You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history. You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. Would it change your view of him if you knew that, or would your love for his music triumph? Real rock stars do truly insane thing and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult. We allow this behavior. We are complicit because a rock star behaving badly is what's expected. It's baked into the cake. Deep down, way down, past all of our self-righteous notions of justice and right and wrong, when it comes down to it, we want our rock stars to be bad. We know the music industry is full of demons, ones that drove Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious and that consumed the Norwegian Black Metal scene. We want to believe in the myths because they're so damn entertaining. DISGRACELAND is a collection of the best of these stories about some of the music world's most beloved stars and their crimes. It will mix all-new, untold stories with expanded stories from the first two seasons of the Disgraceland podcast. Using figures we already recognize, DISGRACELAND shines a light into the dark corners of their fame revealing the fine line that separates heroes and villains as well as the danger Americans seek out in their news cycles, tabloids, reality shows and soap operas. At the center of this collection of stories is the ever-fascinating music industry--a glittery stage populated by gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, groupies with violence, scandal and pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll entertainment.


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From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history. You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history. You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. Would it change your view of him if you knew that, or would your love for his music triumph? Real rock stars do truly insane thing and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult. We allow this behavior. We are complicit because a rock star behaving badly is what's expected. It's baked into the cake. Deep down, way down, past all of our self-righteous notions of justice and right and wrong, when it comes down to it, we want our rock stars to be bad. We know the music industry is full of demons, ones that drove Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious and that consumed the Norwegian Black Metal scene. We want to believe in the myths because they're so damn entertaining. DISGRACELAND is a collection of the best of these stories about some of the music world's most beloved stars and their crimes. It will mix all-new, untold stories with expanded stories from the first two seasons of the Disgraceland podcast. Using figures we already recognize, DISGRACELAND shines a light into the dark corners of their fame revealing the fine line that separates heroes and villains as well as the danger Americans seek out in their news cycles, tabloids, reality shows and soap operas. At the center of this collection of stories is the ever-fascinating music industry--a glittery stage populated by gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, groupies with violence, scandal and pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll entertainment.

30 review for Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly

  1. 5 out of 5

    Moira

    Disgraceland is one of my favorite pods so this book was highly anticipated for me. The authors voice comes through just as strongly as it does on the pod. I do wish more women had been featured and maybe more conspiracy theories addressed. These are the nitty gritty stories of music history that make you crave more.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Black

    For a true crime book I was a little surprised that he seemed to invent dialogue (it might be reconstructed conversations based on later interviews, except for the musings of dead people after they were dead) but other than that I really enjoyed it. Easy to read and very interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Ellis

    Fun, smooth style. Addictive and engaging like a great song!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lance Lumley

    This book covers several zany and strange acts from musicians, from Elvis to death metal band Mayhem. The author discusses how acts like Jerry Lee Lewis got away with murder, along with the last night of Sam Cooke's life. The author ties fiction into the true stories,by giving the reader dialog of what may have happened the time of the crimes, along with tying all the stories to the next chapter on a different star at a different time. Although the language is pretty strong, the writing is enter This book covers several zany and strange acts from musicians, from Elvis to death metal band Mayhem. The author discusses how acts like Jerry Lee Lewis got away with murder, along with the last night of Sam Cooke's life. The author ties fiction into the true stories,by giving the reader dialog of what may have happened the time of the crimes, along with tying all the stories to the next chapter on a different star at a different time. Although the language is pretty strong, the writing is entertaining for music fans. For an in-depth review, visit my page at : https://lancewrites.wordpress.com/201...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin Mbugua

    From one of my favourite podcasts, comes an equally as entertaining book. I loved the way tales were weaved together. I was left wanting so much more

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    So you were an artist. Big deal! Elvis was an artist, but that didn't stop him from serving his country in time of war. That's why he's the King, and you're a shmuck! Dogma This is one of those books where I have no idea why I put it on my Amazon Wish List. But I did. And it was on sale and I bought it and read it. I have never listened to the pod cast associated with the book. But I can't really recommend this book. If I had to describe its genre it would be speculative fantasy non fiction. Or th So you were an artist. Big deal! Elvis was an artist, but that didn't stop him from serving his country in time of war. That's why he's the King, and you're a shmuck! Dogma This is one of those books where I have no idea why I put it on my Amazon Wish List. But I did. And it was on sale and I bought it and read it. I have never listened to the pod cast associated with the book. But I can't really recommend this book. If I had to describe its genre it would be speculative fantasy non fiction. Or the author is profoundly psychic. The book relates some true crime stories about the musicians but the author tells it from the musician's perspective, including Elvis' final thoughts, Sid Vicious' final thoughts and more. I did learn somethings like How Sam Cooke died and how Sid's mom was a life long heroin addict but it really isn't my cup of tea.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Pretty

    Chose this book because a friend rated it so highly, he's much more into music than me, but I thought it would be fun to read about the antics of these bad boys. It was much darker and not really that fun. It was informative and well researched, but not what I was expecting. It was really quite sad how some of these rockers lived ... mental issues not being treated, childhood tragedies... all of Norways black metal movement. Not my cup of tea... but others will drink it up. Chose this book because a friend rated it so highly, he's much more into music than me, but I thought it would be fun to read about the antics of these bad boys. It was much darker and not really that fun. It was informative and well researched, but not what I was expecting. It was really quite sad how some of these rockers lived ... mental issues not being treated, childhood tragedies... all of Norways black metal movement. Not my cup of tea... but others will drink it up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ron Maskell

    It's a good book. Reads quickly. Certainly sheds a lot of info on the artists in the book. It's a good book. Reads quickly. Certainly sheds a lot of info on the artists in the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie Smith

    Holy shit.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Dollins

    Jake Brennan’s “Disgraceland” podcast is a wildly entertaining re-examination of the classic Rock-N-Roll myths. He manages to convincingly put us into the fragile minds of some of the most legendary musicians of the past century. It’s a cool balancing act, toeing the line between hagiography and journalism, and he does it with a punk flair. His book version of the podcast plays the same. It’s packed with purple prose, deep dives into the psyches of its subjects, and terrific storytelling. Unlike Jake Brennan’s “Disgraceland” podcast is a wildly entertaining re-examination of the classic Rock-N-Roll myths. He manages to convincingly put us into the fragile minds of some of the most legendary musicians of the past century. It’s a cool balancing act, toeing the line between hagiography and journalism, and he does it with a punk flair. His book version of the podcast plays the same. It’s packed with purple prose, deep dives into the psyches of its subjects, and terrific storytelling. Unlike the podcast, though, where each episode stands on its own, in the book Brennan sequences chapters like songs on an album, with running themes and iconographies linking them. It’s like 7 degrees of Elvis Presley that links the King to Sid Vicious and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Even more strangely, connects America’s most beloved rocker to Norway’s most terrifying black metal band, Mayhem. It’s an elegant arrangement that gives each story that sense of belonging to a greater story. If you like reading about Rock-N-Roll debauchery and mischief, this is your book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book was highly entertaining ,the section on Death Metal was mind bending.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Any non-fiction that has an alternative-reality skinny, cool Elvis lecturing the fat sequinned Elvis about life is not the book for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    43886021 Today’s post is on Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly by Jake Brennan. It is 272 pages long and is published by Grand Central Publishing. The cover is grey with faux mugshots of the musicians inside on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in true crime and music history. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the dust jacket- You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest 43886021 Today’s post is on Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly by Jake Brennan. It is 272 pages long and is published by Grand Central Publishing. The cover is grey with faux mugshots of the musicians inside on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in true crime and music history. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the dust jacket- You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. Would it change your view of him if you knew that, or would your love for his music triumph? Real rock stars do truly insane thing and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult. We allow this behavior. We are complicit because a rock star behaving badly is what's expected. It's baked into the cake. Deep down, way down, past all of our self-righteous notions of justice and right and wrong, when it comes down to it, we want our rock stars to be bad. We know the music industry is full of demons, ones that drove Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious and that consumed the Norwegian Black Metal scene. We want to believe in the myths because they're so damn entertaining. DISGRACELAND is a collection of the best of these stories about some of the music world's most beloved stars and their crimes. It will mix all-new, untold stories with expanded stories from the first two seasons of the Disgraceland podcast. Using figures we already recognize, DISGRACELAND shines a light into the dark corners of their fame revealing the fine line that separates heroes and villains as well as the danger Americans seek out in their news cycles, tabloids, reality shows and soap operas. At the center of this collection of stories is the ever-fascinating music industry--a glittery stage populated by gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, groupies with violence, scandal and pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll entertainment. Review- A fascinating, engagingly written narrative about some very famous musicians and the crimes they committed. Brennan was a deep love of his subjects, their music, and that shows in his work. We travel from Elvis to Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes to the three young men who made Norwegian Black Metal with lots of different stops between. While the chapters are self-contained, they do add up to something greater than the size of the parts. We get to see how much music is built upon itself, where artists listen to each other, learn from each other, and where will the music is in the end. If you are at all interested in music history or true crime then do yourself a favor and read this book. I highly recommend it. I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The writing is a little uneven but still entertaining.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim Niland

    Disgraceland started out as a podcast covering the dark side of popular music, sort of a musicians behaving badly, and over forty or so episodes it's really caught a wave, Brennan has a great speaking voice, part "I'm letting you in on a secret" and part "can you believe this shit?" that makes for great radio, or podcasting which is where all the good radio is these days anyway. This book is sort of an expanded edition of some of his greatest hits, so he'll expound upon his original script from Disgraceland started out as a podcast covering the dark side of popular music, sort of a musicians behaving badly, and over forty or so episodes it's really caught a wave, Brennan has a great speaking voice, part "I'm letting you in on a secret" and part "can you believe this shit?" that makes for great radio, or podcasting which is where all the good radio is these days anyway. This book is sort of an expanded edition of some of his greatest hits, so he'll expound upon his original script from the podcast and clear up any errors. Unfortunately he left out my favorite, his April Fools podcast that actually had people believing Jim Morrison was the Zodiac Killer and drew Brennan so much heat that he had to take it down for a while. Check it out, it's a real hoot. This book starts by looking at some of the original bad boys, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. For the erstwhile King, he focuses two bookending pieces on "fat Elvis" strung out on pills, morbidly obese, in thrall to his manager "Colonel" Tom Parker, a criminal in his own right. It would be a tragedy if it weren't so ridiculous. Jerry Lee writes his own chapter, marrying his 13 year old cousin, skating on a murder rap because he had the southern good ol' boy cops on the arm, while another original, Chuck Berry spends stints in jail for a dubious Mann Act charge, IRS fraud, and incurs a huge fine for filming women pee at his club. Ewww. Brennan takes us through Norwegian death metal, and the associated church burnings, suicides and murders, Gram Parson's and Sid Viscious's inability to beat the needle and the spoon among others. It's an interesting mix of fact and fiction, because the author will write sections from within the subjects head... extrapolating on what they may have been thinking when all of the madness was going down around them. Remember, this is not strict biography, it's entertainment, and solidly done. For those looking to dig deeper there's a detailed bibliography of sources.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zaz

    What a delicious and sordid foray into the crimes and bad behavior of generations of rock legends! Although the whiff of tabloid cover made me feel slightly dirty, as a huge true crime fan and a music aficionado, I couldn't help but blaze through these vignettes, particularly the bookends about Elvis. I'm not a podcast listener, but now I'm intrigued. What a delicious and sordid foray into the crimes and bad behavior of generations of rock legends! Although the whiff of tabloid cover made me feel slightly dirty, as a huge true crime fan and a music aficionado, I couldn't help but blaze through these vignettes, particularly the bookends about Elvis. I'm not a podcast listener, but now I'm intrigued.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Bagby

    An entertaining and interesting collection of crazy and infamous stories from some of the worst episodes in music history with some fun fictionalized dialogue added.

  18. 5 out of 5

    MK

    Different from the podcast, but just as great.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    So much violence, corruption and scandal in the celebrity world that has tried to be swept under the rug! These stories were all fascinating and written with a great narrative voice. I am going to check out the podcast.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Very interesting and informative. Thanks again to the Author for this Goodreads Giveaway!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Tudor

    Entertaining narratives, but I'm afraid the writer's self-indulgent manner got in the way for me (sorry, Jake Brennan, but really, you don't need to be 'on' all the time). I just felt like I was being targeted by a hard sales pitch and was constantly distracted by it. Sad cases, yes, but not quite the book for those of us who a) enjoy the act of reading for its own sake, and b) have read these types of books before. I'm guessing this was intended for Brennan's listeners, so hopefully it'll be mo Entertaining narratives, but I'm afraid the writer's self-indulgent manner got in the way for me (sorry, Jake Brennan, but really, you don't need to be 'on' all the time). I just felt like I was being targeted by a hard sales pitch and was constantly distracted by it. Sad cases, yes, but not quite the book for those of us who a) enjoy the act of reading for its own sake, and b) have read these types of books before. I'm guessing this was intended for Brennan's listeners, so hopefully it'll be more to their taste. :)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chloe A-L

    The parts of this book that were true were interesting, the parts that were made up for dramatic effect were annoying, and kind of undermined the true parts. These stories are interesting enough on their own without the melodramatic embellishments. I wish he’d just written a nonfiction book, rather than done some half-assed realistic fiction and mixed it together indiscriminately, with entirely fictionalization (and exceptionally half-assed) transitions to try and link all the subjects together. The parts of this book that were true were interesting, the parts that were made up for dramatic effect were annoying, and kind of undermined the true parts. These stories are interesting enough on their own without the melodramatic embellishments. I wish he’d just written a nonfiction book, rather than done some half-assed realistic fiction and mixed it together indiscriminately, with entirely fictionalization (and exceptionally half-assed) transitions to try and link all the subjects together. He also comes down weirdly sympathetically on the musicians, all of whom are certified baddies (especially in the chuck berry chapter), and his treatment of the women in his stories is ROUGH, with the notable exception of Left Eye. Also, how are you gonna talk about elvis’s bad behavior this much and never bring up that he was like, a pedophile.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ursula Johnson

    Musicians Behaving Badly Indeed This was an introspective account of several leading figures in rock, particularly focusing on events that changed careers and lives. The approach here is getting inside their heads and offering an account of pivotal events. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audio book, which was read by the author. He has a lovely, expressive voice. This book pulls no punches, it contains language and descriptive drug use, so it's not for the kiddies, Musicians Behaving Badly Indeed This was an introspective account of several leading figures in rock, particularly focusing on events that changed careers and lives. The approach here is getting inside their heads and offering an account of pivotal events. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audio book, which was read by the author. He has a lovely, expressive voice. This book pulls no punches, it contains language and descriptive drug use, so it's not for the kiddies, especially the chapter on the morbid death metal bands. That one can be disturbing for many. Just a heads up. It is an excellent book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    When I heard that my favorite podcast was getting a book I knew I had to pick it up. The book has chapters that overlap with episodes from the podcast and I wish it didn't because I would like to read about new artists. However, I do think that the musicians in the book that overlap with the podcast were chosen well and for a reason. Jake Brennan has such a depth to his writing and after hearing the podcast, it's amazing how much his voice brings the words to life. His storytelling abilities are When I heard that my favorite podcast was getting a book I knew I had to pick it up. The book has chapters that overlap with episodes from the podcast and I wish it didn't because I would like to read about new artists. However, I do think that the musicians in the book that overlap with the podcast were chosen well and for a reason. Jake Brennan has such a depth to his writing and after hearing the podcast, it's amazing how much his voice brings the words to life. His storytelling abilities are unparalleled and this book was an easy read because of it. Thank you, Jake Brennan!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sim Ellis

    I love how Jake Brennan tells a story therefore I knew I’d have to listen to this book instead of read it. I loved how the story came full circle at the end....the only thing I wished was they were new stories a lot of the material was used from his podcast but still it was an intense great listen. I hope Jake writes more, his ability to paint a picture in your mind with his words is his gift that makes the reader and listener wanting more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Jaffe

    Part of me wants to give it 3 stars, as it's often a rehashing of many well-known stories, told in a rather schlocky manner. .... But, some of these stories I'd never heard before. (Especially about Jerry Lee Lewis, and some of the possible background of Col. Tom Parker). It generally does a good job with them --- and I did devour the book pretty quickly. So, yeah, if I'm being honest I have to give it that extra star. Part of me wants to give it 3 stars, as it's often a rehashing of many well-known stories, told in a rather schlocky manner. .... But, some of these stories I'd never heard before. (Especially about Jerry Lee Lewis, and some of the possible background of Col. Tom Parker). It generally does a good job with them --- and I did devour the book pretty quickly. So, yeah, if I'm being honest I have to give it that extra star.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    Meh. Geared more towards true crime tourists than rock n roll scholars, this book felt more like a rehash than the deep dive I was hoping for. Entertaining in parts, but not what I would consider unmissable by any stretch.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Even though I know most of these stories I really enjoyed Jake Brennan's insight and also the was he segued from chapter to chapter making some of the artists and stories seem connected in a way. It's a quick read and really flows well. I hope he comes out with another book with others musicians. Even though I know most of these stories I really enjoyed Jake Brennan's insight and also the was he segued from chapter to chapter making some of the artists and stories seem connected in a way. It's a quick read and really flows well. I hope he comes out with another book with others musicians.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The title is sufficient warning of the content. The mixture of reporting known facts with the fictional depiction of stars' inner lives/emotions is a bit jarring ___ a bit like witnessing a car crash and speculating on what the drivers were thinking. Mesmerizing, though.... The title is sufficient warning of the content. The mixture of reporting known facts with the fictional depiction of stars' inner lives/emotions is a bit jarring ___ a bit like witnessing a car crash and speculating on what the drivers were thinking. Mesmerizing, though....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ross Siegel

    Cool book from a great podcast Disgracand is so much fun. I love how Jake tells stories of rockers behaving badly. Great read and highly recommended podcast.

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