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Straight Journalism - A coupla' Music Reviews with strict word limits


Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd
by Nick Mason
reviewed by Jeff Zittrain

originally published in Relix, July ‘05

The jacket of this handsome, coffee-table book proudly proclaims Nick Mason has had "an unequalled view of the band...from behind his drum kit." Mason is a good writer, surprisingly funny, and often bemused at the goings-on in and around the band.  However, he is truly writing from behind his kit, observing but not really inside the legendary creative (and personal) struggles of Waters, Gilmour, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright.

It's still a highly worthwhile book, filled with interesting facts about tours, money, managers, etc.  Floyd fans will love the plentiful, beautiful photographs and painstakingly detailed accounts of these elements of the band's saga. Mason is intelligent, articulate, and affable. But for a band as significant, intense, and groundbreaking as Pink Floyd, I'd also like a memoir a little less careful with the axe, one that sets the controls for the heart of the sun.



Fly Jefferson Airplane - DVD Review

Originally published in An Honest Tune, July ‘05

"We were a creature of the sixties" reflects Paul Kantner at the conclusion of this DVD - and indeed it highlights the band's social context. Insightful interviews with all of the band members plus their manager introduce and illuminate each song. Five of the 13 songs are studio recordings, yet these pre-MTV videos capture a vibe, enhancing the band's psychedelic and political significance.

The eight performance videos show a band that knew how to jam - bassist Jack Cassady is consistently brilliant, and he really hits the zone along with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and drummer Spencer Dryden on showstopper "Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil."

The camera focuses on the right things while they're playing, and the band's diversity shines, each personality getting time musically and in interviews. For those who only know the Airplane from FM staples "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" (or worse, as their devolution into Jefferson Starship), and for diehard fans, this will truly feed your head.