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Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has become a best-selling author, and for anyone who doesn’t know about his backstory, Perry, just like his band mates, lived—or survived—a life of rock and roll excess. The well-publicized revival of Aerosmith in the mid-’80s painted a picture of a band that rose from the ashes. Perry’s book, ‘Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith,’ entered at #8 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. While it’s likely that Perry’s popularity as a rock star has had an impact on book sales, his intriguing memoir is a must-read for anyone, but particularly those fans who have followed the band for decades.

“Mayhem: 2008-2013” is a massive 300-plus page, over-sized book created by famed Los Angeles photographer Strati Hovartos, documenting the first six years, and capturing the essence of The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The festival has become one of the most popular and successful Summer tours and is the highlight of the Summer for metal heads across North America. Each Summer some of the biggest bands in the business hit the road for this memorable festival which is defined by heavy music, snapping necks, and swirling pits.

On its surface, “Songs Only You Know” is a memoir that functions as a detailed look inside the Detroit hardcore punk scene during the ’80s. It is the story of a young man with a dream and desire to play hardcore punk for the most honest of reasons; artistic expression. Although he does eventually land a record deal, Sean Madigan Hoen is not interested in being famous, popular or rich, and actually his goals are quite the opposite, staying true to the tenants of the early hardcore movement.

Martin Popoff is beyond any doubt the most productive book writer in the Hard Rock/Metal scene. The best proof of this is his unique capacity of producing two or three books per year. His carefully crafted, glossy-looking volumes usually combine compelling storytelling with first-rate visual material. Some of the most superb examples of this are “Run for Cover” (about iconic illustrator, Derek Riggs) “Fade to Black: Hard Rock Cover Art of the Vinyl Age” and more recently his collaboration with Malcolm Dome and a selected group of writers, in the art book “The Art Of Metal.”

The bitch is back! Having ducked out of the music scene for a few years, the original rock queen Lita Ford is back. Marking her return with the brilliant Livin’ Like A Runaway album, the ex-Runaways rocker recorded some of the tracks from the album, along with some of her classic moments, for a new live album, appropriately titled The Bitch Is Back. Ahead of the release of the live disc, I had a chat to Lita about the past, the present and the future.

“Sierra Court Blues” is the debut novel from Lawrence Parlier; a former front man for the heavy metal group The Malevolent. Parlier taps into his music background and constructs a detailed drama based around the troubles and exploits of an up-and-coming heavy metal band. The book’s main character and front man for the band Bo Kineally attempts to juggle family, work, and music with varying degrees of success and soon learns that something has to give.

As a lifelong metal head, and someone that has been involved in the scene in one way or another for more than twenty years, I was excited to dig into this book. Authors Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman have done a terrific, if not exhausting, job of chronicling the rise and evolution of the metal scene using quips and comments from the artists in the trenches.

“Entartete Kunts,” the title of which is a play on the German phrase “entartete kunst” (degenerate art) is a new book that is being released by the Ajna Offensive on June 21st. The book, written and curated by Dennis Dread is a 340 page read filled with the glories of underground art. Now why, you may be asking, is an art book being even written about on a music site? Well, mainly due to the fact that many of the paintings, portraits, and artists themselves have been vastly important in underground punk and metal music. For example art by musicians such as Chris Reifert (Autopsy), Erik Danielsson (Watain), Michel Langevin (Voivod), and Rob Miller (Amebix) are all featured. In addition, album covers from bands such as Voivod, Darkthrone, and others are strewn about the book.

The Merciless Book of Metal Lists is exactly what you might expect; except better, much better! I think any true metalhead will find this book to be entertaining, amusing, and at time even humorous. Of course there are the standard prerequisite top ten lists of things like, “Best Metal Bassist” and “Best Metal Album,” things that us metalheads have been adamantly arguing about since the genre’s inception.

Veteran visual artist Paul Raymond Gregory seems to be one of the busiest personalities in the world of heavy Metal. The British painter and illustrator recently completed the cover artwork for Saxon’s upcoming album Sacrifice (his 12th for the band), as he continues producing large, detailed canvases based on Tolkien’s literary works. Also, he’s preparing the 2013 edition of the popular UK festival “Bloodstock Open Air”, a massive Heavy Metal gathering of bands and fans that Gregory helped to create more than 10 years ago. On top of all this, Gregory just published a book titled “Beyond Time And Place”. These glossy, 176 illustrated pages showcases the artist’s visual works and achievements over the past 35 years of his career. It includes most of his major Tolkien-inspired pieces and many artworks he has produced for bands such as Saxon, Dio, Molly Hatchet, and Blind Guardian among others. A true feast for the eyes, no doubt about it!