Monthly Archives: December 2022

“Wicked Game”: “…is probably my favorite rock book of all time. …”

In critic JD Stayfree’s Top Ten of 2022, he writes of my book,“Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey” (HoZac Books),” “If you have not yet read the Wilsey bio, do yourself a favor and get a copy as soon as you can. It is probably my favorite rock book of all time. Dirty story of a hard livin’ tone poet who was betrayed by his friends in the greedhead cut throat capitalist music business. …”

Earlier this year, Stayfree wrote this long gonzo review about the book. He ends that review like this: “I will be listening to those Chris Issak/James Calvin Wilsey records for the rest of my life, and I know many of my old garage band hombres will always be listening to the Avengers. I am ever so grateful that this sharp writer, Michael Goldberg put so much passion and dedication into telling Wilsey’s story–about 400 pages of highs and lows and winning and losing and heartbreak and the whole human drama. Only the lonely love Chris Isaak and James Calvin Wilsey like I do. Greatness to behold. Get the book, you’ll be glad you did.” 

 And, Americana Highways founder/editor Bill Bentley wrote of “Wicked Game”: “This is the rock & roll book to read this year. It is a thrilling, heart-breaking, mind-blowing, cautionary and in the end passionate tale of how a guitarist of infinite ability and absolutely addictive tendencies attains the highest success on the rock & roll merry-go-round, only to flame out in a desperate tale of heroin, homelessness and, in the end, suicidal escapades that killed him. Rock & roll can be the scariest game there is if the person isn’t wired for success. Failure is survivable, but for those not ready for it, success is the killer. …”

If you’re interested, the best place to get the Wilsey book, and it can make a great holiday gift, as can my newest book, “Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg” (Backbeat Books), is from the HoZac Records and Books website. I’ve giving 25% of my royalties from each Wilsey book sold to Jimmy’s teenage son, Waylon James Wilsey.

“Michael Goldberg is a Five Star Journalist General”

In an excellent review of my new book, “Addicted to Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg” (Backbeat Books), Houston Press critic Bob Ruggiero begins, “What is the state of Music Journalism today if it can even still be called that?” He goes on suggest that back in the heyday of music journalism, it was “art, but it was also war.” And then he continues, “And if that’s the case, Michael Goldberg is a Five Star Journalist General. He’s spent more than 40 years writing about music and musicians for a wide variety of publications (in print!) like Esquire, Creem, New Musical Express, Musician, The San Francisco Chronicle, and a decade at every writer’s wet dream job, Rolling Stone (albeit a bit after the Almost Famous years…).

“In 1984, Goldberg also developed and ran the first Internet Music Magazine. Its title is shared with his new book, and pretty much sum up his life’s motto. He has collected the best of his writing in the dense, expansive, and leapfrogging anthology Addicted to Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg. …” Read this great review here.

Addicted To Noise cover

Covered in the book: Bob Dylan, Beach Boys/Brian Wilson and Dennis Wilson, Prince, Neil Young, Patti Smith, John Lee Hooker, Flipper, Frank Zappa, Crime, Townes Van Zandt, Michael Jackson, Rick James, James Brown, the Ramones, Sly Stone, George Clinton, Sex Pistols, San Francisco ’60s scene (Janis Joplin and others), Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, John Fogerty, Chris Isaak, Gil Scott-Heron, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Richard Thompson, Flamin’ Groovies, Robbie Robertson, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder and more. Also 30+ full page photos of some of the artists.

Greil Marcus wrote the foreword.

I’m featured on “The Whatever, Buddy?! Podcast.” Among the musicians we discuss are the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Rick James, Michael Jackson, and much more. Please check it out here.

And at “Lew’s Book Reviews,” Lew Shiner writes, “His [Goldberg’s] forte is the extended profile, with a mixture of quotes from the artist, quotes from others, and commentary from Goldberg. … His Stevie Wonder profile is worth the price of the collection all by itself… Goldberg needs time and space to do his best work. When he has enough column inches and access to an artist for days at a time, he can come up with pieces like the one on Brian Wilson’s first solo album, where the walls come down and you really feel like you’re seeing into people’s hearts. He managed the same feat with Brian’s brother Dennis, even with the disadvantage of writing it after Dennis’s death. … Another highlight of the book is a close comparison of Dylan’s “Desolation Row” with Jack Kerouac’s DESOLATION ANGELS.” Read the entire review here.