Entertainment

Speaking Volumes: Learn about your rock and roll heroes with these bios

If you're a fan of classic rock, your library has some great choices for you -- and I don't just mean in our CD collection. The library has hundreds of books written by and about rock musicians. The following are just a few autobiographies, all written by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

Many performers known for their flamboyant on-stage personas are actually quite introverted. This is especially true of Paul Stanley, guitarist and singer with the outrageous band, KISS. In Stanley's recent "Face the Music: A Life Exposed," he writes of his insecurity as a child and avoiding social situations largely due to the fact that he was born with an ear deformity called microtia that also left him partially deaf. Frequently ridiculed by schoolmates, Stanley (born Stanley Bert Eisen), found refuge in music. The book is an introspective look not just at his life as a rock star, but also as a painter, business man, family man and philanthropist.

You might not guess that Jacques Cousteau would be the idol of Joe Perry, lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Aerosmith, but this is just one of the many surprising facts in his new autobiography. In "Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith," Perry traces the path from his youth in Hopedale, Mass., to meeting a young Steven Tallarico (Steven Tyler), to forming the legendary band that's still performing more than four decades later.

It may not surprise you to hear that the library has copies of "Life," the best-selling autobiography by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. But you may be surprised to hear that Richards has published a children's book too. "Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar" is a charming tribute to Theodore Augustus Dupree (Gus), Richards' grandfather, who lived in a house that was "filled with instruments and cake." Gus handed young Keith Richards a guitar and told him when he learned to play "Malagueña," he could play anything.

The book is accompanied by a CD of Richards reading the story with the tune "Malagueña" woven throughout. Richards' daughter, Theodora created the vibrant illustrations for the story.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. You may also access the library via the Internet: www.mymanatee.org/library. Mary Lysaght is the Assistant Supervisor at the Rocky Bluff Branch.

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