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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Octopus' Garden Review of '16 in '64: The Beatles & The Baby Boomers'

11:49 AM Posted by Nicole M
Adapted with permission from Octopus' Garden fanzine, Volume 26, Issue #2, December 2016. Review by Tom Aguiar.

16 in 64: The Beatles & the Baby Boomers by Marti Edwards and Joe Carroccio

After seeing the Beatles on TV, Marti Edwards formed the Chicagoland Beatle People Fan Club, and she was able to grow the membership to over 1,200 people. Because of her ability to put together a successful fan club, Marti and some other club members got to meet the band in a press conference before their 1964 appearance at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, where they were able to make a special presentation of an honorary plaque from the fan club. Today, Edwards is a successful artist and photographer.

Edwards grew up in the Forest Park section of Chicago. She was a product of the 60s, growing up in
what many baby boomers refer to as a special time. Family was the center of everything young people experienced during a time of faith, hope, idealism, and “new things” being built every day despite the tragedies that were to occur in their lives, such as the assassination of JFK. Yes, there were extended sociological events where turmoil existed, but there was always a feeling that things were “special.”
It’s a feeling that all baby boomers share.

And then there were the Beatles and all the kids of that time felt the euphoria that came along with Beatlemania.

Edwards took courses, earning a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where she grew her passion for the arts. Along with some high school friends, she decided to start a Beatles Fan Club. They decided to visit local radio station WLS where they held signs announcing the club to the disc jockeys and Edwards subsequently obtained a mentor / part time job position at the station. Though her position, she was able to obtain the name of the production company, along with a contact name and phone number, that was promoting the Beatles tour, and she and her friends reached out to them. All the while, the Chicagoland Beatle People Fan Club became very active at events and continued to grow. Edwards’s optimism, determination, and passion would eventually prove successful and she would ultimately fulfill her dream of meeting the Beatles.

It was a special time and dreams still filled the souls of the baby boomer generation, along with the idealism to succeed and make a better world. Families and friendship were important and the Beatles became an intersecting point in people’s lives.

What makes 16 in 64: The Beatles & the Baby Boomers so enjoyable is that the book is not really about the Beatles. It’s about the times when the story takes place and what kids of that generation experienced. It’s about the uniqueness of that time and how the baby boomers were a major part of why The Beatles and Beatlemania reached its feverish peak. It’s about a young girl’s love for the band and how it made a dream came true for her. This is what Edwards and co-author Joe Carroccio bring out, and this is what will take the reader, especially if you’re a baby boomer, to a special place in your life. It’s an enjoyable read about an enjoyable time and about a young girl’s journey of getting to experience a dream come true.

(16 in 64: The Beatles & the Baby Boomers is available on Marti & Joe's website, 16in64.com, and the Kindle edition is available on Amazon.)

Octopus' Garden Review of 'Days in the Life'

11:35 AM Posted by Nicole M
Adapted with permission from Octopus' Garden fanzine, Volume 26, Issue #2, December 2016. Review by Tom Aguiar.

Days In The Life by Aaron Krerowicz & John Krerowicz. AK Books, Carmel, IN.

Aaron Krerowicz is a noted Beatles scholar and lecturer who travels around the country giving presentations on the Beatles. This book, co-authored by his father, retired reporter John Krerowicz, is about their life on the road during one of Aaron’s lecture series tours.

This is Aaron’s fourth book. His first book, TheBeatles & The Avant-Garde, was published in late 2014 (and reviewed in OG issue #26-1); his second, TheBeatles: Band of the Sixties, was released as a Kindle ebook in April 2015; and third, From The Shadow of JFK: The Rise of Beatlemania in America, was released in early June 2015.

Aaron travels extensively throughout the U.S. giving lectures on the band and their music. He has appeared at numerous Beatles events as well as many other locales as an individual presenter, giving more than 250 presentations. Aaron also has a vast array of subjects based on his research on the Beatles and their music that he discusses throughout his touring. Although he was born 15 years after the Beatles disbanded, Aaron received a grant in 2011 from the University of Hartford to pursue his passion for the band, and he became a professional presenter and researcher in 2015. Krerowicz also holds advance degrees in classical music and composition and publishes a Beatles blog and his own newsletter.

Krerowicz’s previous books were written in an academic format but Days in the Life is written in a much different style, a style where both father and son kept journals of the experiences on the road throughout this seven state lecture tour across the South and West. Their journals reveal to the reader the two men’s passion for music, the Beatles, baseball, and birding. In a sense, it is almost a travelogue of their life on the road.

Although there is some discussion in the book about the topics Aaron presented on this road trip, what comes through loud and clear is the interaction between father and son. There are discussions about music and there is quiet time, as there is on any long journey. Aaron also got to indulge his love for baseball and John spent time on his passion of birding. The melding experiences of the trip expose the deep love, respect, and admiration between the two men that most have between us and our parents, but rarely get to experience in quite this way…alone together for an extended period. This is at the heart of the book and gives the reader a warm feeling.

Although Days in the Life is not directly about the Beatles, it is the story of a father and son who share the Beatles as a common bond that is one part of their relationship, and this title is a very enjoyable read.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Beatles Authors at Zia Record Exchange in Chandler, AZ

2:13 PM Posted by Nicole M
Marti Edwards and Joe Carroccio, co-authors of 16 in ’64: The Beatles & The Baby Boomers, will be signing copies of their book at Zia Record Exchange in Chandler, Arizona on Saturday, December 3 at 4 p.m.

Edwards, a lifelong music fan, was the founder of the Chicagoland Beatle People Fan Club in the 1960s. She had the thrilling experience of meeting The Beatles in '64 and presenting them with an honorary plaque from her fan club. Wanting to share her story and photos from the event with other people, it was suggested she write a book. With the help of Carroccio, she did just that.

More information is available on their website: 16in64.com.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ranking John Lennon's solo albums from best to worst

4:10 PM Posted by Nicole M

Out of all four Beatles, John Lennon's solo career might just be the most polarizing. Frankly, John probably wouldn't have had it any other way. With song-writing skills every bit as good as Paul McCartney's, introspective tendencies as strong as George Harrison's, and a devil-may-care attitude that could rival Ringo Starr's, John was always going to be the Beatle most difficult to categorize in his solo career.

Here, then, are John's eight solo (studio) releases, ranked by some odd combination of popular appeal, likability, honesty, and distinct lack of Yoko Ono presence.

# 1 - Imagine

This was John's second solo release, hitting US stores in September of 1971. The title song, of course, has become something of an anthem for the ages, despite its reliance on idealistic cliches. Say what you will, it's still a pretty tune, and you probably know all the words.

The album loses a few points for the McCartney-attacking "How Do You Sleep?" (come on, John, get on with your life already), and the completely un-relatable "Oh Yoko!" (Top ways to anger your Beatles audience: invite them to sing along with a chorus that praises Yoko Ono.)

Outside of that, "Crippled Inside" is both catchy and revealing, "Jealous Guy" is powerful and beautifully crafted, "Gimme Some Truth" is just angry enough without going overboard to warrant a few sympathetic fist-pumps, "How?" is poignantly resonant for anyone who's felt like just throwing their hands up in the air and asking those same questions, and "Oh My Love" (featuring some spectacular guitar work by George Harrison) is like a craft beer/wine that's too sweet to drink on the regular, but nice enough that you'll go back to it once every couple of weeks.

#2 - Walls and Bridges

Recorded in 1974 during John's period of freedom from Yoko, this album is the result of John re-uniting with old friends and discovering his old creative muse. He finally got his first number one hit since leaving the Beatles, and his compositional abilities are on full display in this album.

Whether pairing up with Elton John on catchy tunes like "Whatever Gets You thru the Night," or exploring lush harmonies and exotic chord progressions on songs like ""#9 Dream" or "Bless You," this album shows us what John Lennon could be like as a solo artist when his creativity wasn't being tightly controlled.

And yes, "Beef Jerky" absolutely rips off the guitar riff from Paul McCartney's "Let Me Roll It."

#3 - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

John went through Primal Scream therapy and released this album in 1970 as his first solo album, and a direct response to what he was discovering about himself in those therapy sessions.

As a result, the songs are explosive, direct, gut-wrenchingly honest, and for all of those reasons, alternatively refreshing and too much to handle.

"Isolation," "Look At Me," and "God" are, for my money, the most beautiful and revealing tracks on the album. "Hold On" is hopeful and gorgeous, and "Love" is amazingly simple and poetic.

This is Lennon at his most raw, and while songs like "Mother" have a certain appeal, the listener can also feel a little embarrassed for being exposed to emotions so profoundly uncensored.

#4 - Mind Games

This is the last album John recorded before taking a lengthy "sabbatical" from Yoko, and even the album's cover -- John walking away from a mountain that is Yoko's face -- shows his discontent and a readiness for something new. That sense of wanderlust and aimlessness is very present in the album's tracks.

The title track is brilliant, even if it reveals John in a "between" state. It's a partial return to the themes of "Imagine," but it's also a statement of restlessness and wanting more.

From a purely musical standpoint, "Out the Blue" features some of John's best guitar work, and the hidden gem "I Know (I Know)" is an extremely catchy tune with all of the tips-of-the-cap to Beatle-style music you could want -- the intro is very "I've Got a Feeling," and the lyric even references "Getting Better" with the line "and I know it's getting better all the time."

But make no mistake: there are some real clunkers on this album, and those probably outnumber the shining moments.

#5 - Double Fantasy

This was the last album John released before he was murdered in December of 1980, and for that reason it has historically been held in very high esteem. It definitely has some magical tracks worth listening to, but its major drawback is that every track is followed up by a Yoko Ono track.

In other words, this album is only 50 percent listenable.

But you have to love it, if for no other reason than for the instant-gold tracks "Beautiful Boy," "Watching the Wheels," and "Woman."

#6 - Rock 'n' Roll

Yes, this an album entirely made up of John's cover versions of old Rock 'n' Roll standards, but there's a certain value in that. John formed The Beatles as a rock 'n' roll group, and these were the songs he and the lads cut their musical teeth on. This is how John learned to be a rock musician, and it's fun to hear him go back and revisit those tunes nearly two decades after they happened.

In particular, he gives great performances on "Be-Bop-A-Lula," "Stand by Me," and "Ain't That a Shame."

#7 - Milk and Honey

Released after his death, this album shares similar space with Double Fantasy in that there's a bit of nostalgia surrounding it, but it also suffers from having way too much Yoko Ono presence.

"I'm Stepping Out," "Nobody Told Me," and "Borrowed Time" are great tunes, but not much else is there to save this album.

#8 - Some Time in New York City

The best music is the music that transcends time. Lyrics that are universally relatable, songs that aren't easily identifiable with a fixed period in history that may or may not be currently relevant.

This is why many of John's "protest" songs seem a bit out-dated today, and it's also the reason why this album is probably the worst thing he ever recorded. It's easily John's most political album, and for that reason, it suffers.

"New York City" is probably the only track that's remotely still fun to listen to, with "John Sinclair" holding a very distance second place -- no, the political issues surrounding John Sinclair are no longer relevant, but at least it's a fairly catchy tune.

And, come on ... that opening track? No matter how spot-on it might be concerning women's rights (even today), you can't use that word.

Agree? Disagree? Prefer a different ranking? Share your thoughts on Facebook at 910 Public Relations or on Twitter at 910 PR.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beatles Audible Adventures, Books & Courses!

2:58 PM Posted by Nicole M
Roll up for the mystery tour! 910 Public Relations has partnered with the Campfire Network to bring you "inside" the historic homes, gardens, and recording studios of John Lennon, George Harrison, and many other famous musicians and creative people. Get your VIP Membership at CampfireNetwork.com to experience 24/7 access to their site, which includes full-scale audio/visual tours, courses, and more. You choose the duration of your membership -- but anyone who signs up as a Quarterly or Annual VIP Member by October 31, 2016 will receive a FREE download of The Dakota Scrapbook by using promo code 910PR. That's a $10 value on top of the already FAB perks of being a Campfire Network member!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beatles Mosaics by Artist Ed Chapman Available

1:07 PM Posted by Nicole M
910 Public Relations is honored to be able to offer these gorgeous mosaics by British artist Ed Chapman. See more information and styles below, and contact us for details on ordering and commissions at: nicole@910pr.com

Ed Chapman is a top British mosaic artist with an instantly recognizable style. His work needs to be seen to be believed. The mosaics contain extremely fine detail, achieved through Ed's painstaking effort creating his subjects using hundreds of fragments of ceramic and stone tile, vitreous glass, torn paper or even sugar cubes.

Ed creates intricate photo-realist 
ceramic portraits, often forcing the viewer to question if his mosaicsare, in fact paintings. Each work comprises many ceramic tile pieces, all cut and fastened by hand, and impressively finished.

His mosaic work is bought by private clients and international organizations alike and his mosaics have been featured widely on TV and in magazines worldwide. He has undertaken commissions for Fender Music, the Sony Corporation, Hard Rock Cafe, Starbucks, The Gordon Ramsay Foundation, Manchester City FC, Cadbury’s, Cancer Research, UK Revolution Bars and more. He was the only contemporary artist to have work at Cancer Research’s Abbey Road auction in 2009 with a mosaic of John Lennon. His mosaics have a number of high-profile collectors including foreign royalty and members of The Times' 'Rich List', musicians such as Annie Lennox, TV stars, England footballers, an Asian President's family - even the late, great Lemmy from Motorhead commissioned a portrait, as seen in the film Lemmy.

Ed Chapman is available for private portrait commission, and can create personal mosaic portraits from life or photography. His work has appreciated in value significantly and he has gained widespread respect as a mosaic artist throughout the art world. He has exhibited throughout the UK and across Europe and the USA.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Beatles Authors at Zia Record Exchange in Mesa, AZ

1:57 PM Posted by Nicole M
Marti Edwards and Joe Carroccio, co-authors of 16 in ’64: The Beatles & The Baby Boomers, will be signing copies of their book at Zia Record Exchange in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, October 22 at 2 p.m.

Edwards, a lifelong music fan, was the founder of the Chicagoland Beatle People Fan Club in the 1960s. She had the thrilling experience of meeting The Beatles in '64 and presenting them with an honorary plaque from her fan club. Wanting to share her story and photos from the event with other people, it was suggested she write a book. With the help of Carroccio, she did just that.

More information is available on their website: 16in64.com.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Beatles Scholar's Work in Australian Capital Symphony Program

10:35 PM Posted by Nicole M
Kenneth Womack, PhD, an internationally renowned authority on the Beatles and their influence, is featured in the program for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's 'Beatles in Symphony' performance on October 8, 2016.

An excerpt from Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, and the Fab Four (edited by Kenneth Womack and Todd F. Davis) is included, as well as Womack's own 'Three Great Beatles Moments,' as seen below.

1. ‘A Day in the Life’ (1967)

Fans and critics alike often refer to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as popular music’s first ‘concept’ album. In truth, though, the Beatles’ notion of a fictitious ensemble peters out after ‘With a Little Help from My Friends,’ the album’s second track. The concept ‘doesn’t go anywhere,’ Lennon later remarked. ‘But it works ‘cause we said it works.’ Most significantly, Sgt. Pepper saw the Beatles erasing the boundaries that they had been challenging since Rubber Soul and Revolver. ‘Until this album, we’d never thought of taking the freedom to do something like Sgt. Pepper,’ McCartney observed. ‘We started to realize there weren’t as many barriers as we’d thought, we could break through with things like album covers, or invent another persona for the band.’ And with ‘A Day in the Life’—the album’s dramatic climax—the Beatles virtually re-imagined themselves as recording artists. Filled with variegated sonic hues and other assorted sound effects, the song contrasts Lennon’s impassive stories of disillusion and regret with McCartney’s deceptively buoyant interlude about the numbing effects of the workaday world. The song’s luminous, open-ended refrain—‘I’d love to turn you on’—promises a sense of interpersonal salvation on a universal scale. Yet Lennon and McCartney’s detached lyrics seem to suggest, via their nuances of resignation and unacknowledged guilt, that such a form of emotional release will always remain an unrealized dream. As the music of the Beatles and a studio orchestra spirals out of control and into oblivion, that thundering, massive piano chord punctuates and reverberates within the song’s unflinching melancholic ambiance.

2. Side two of the White Album (1968)

These nine tracks, from ‘Martha My Dear’ through ‘Julia,’ illustrate the White Album’s stunning eclecticism—the true measure of the album’s resilience. McCartney’s baroque-sounding ‘Martha My Dear,’ with its crisp brass accompaniment, meanders, rather lazily, into Lennon’s bluesy ‘I’m So Tired.’ Lennon later recalled the song as ‘one of my favorite tracks. I just like the sound of it, and I sing it well.’ Written during the Beatles’ famous visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat at Rishikesh during the spring of 1968, McCartney’s folksy ‘Blackbird’ imagines a contemplative metaphor for the civil rights struggles in the United States during the 1960s. The sound of a chirping blackbird lightly segues into Harrison’s uncomfortable but unforgettable political satire, ‘Piggies.’ The song cycle continues with McCartney’s countrified ‘Rocky Raccoon,’ a track that shifts, rather astonishingly, from the disquieting universe of cowboys, gunplay, and saloons into a gentle paean about nostalgia and loss. Ringo’s ‘Don’t Pass Me By,’ with its barrelhouse piano chorus, abruptly steers the sequence into the sudsy world of the beer hall. Originally entitled ‘Some Kind of Friendly,’ the song became a number-one hit—why not?—in Scandinavia. One of McCartney’s finest blues effusions, ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ explodes from the embers of ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ and brilliantly sets the stage for the side’s final two numbers, ‘I Will’ and ‘Julia.’ A soothing melody about the tenuous argument between romance and commitment, ‘I Will’ remains one of McCartney’s most memorable experiments in brash sentimentality. Arguably his most powerful ballad, Lennon’s ‘Julia’ memorializes the songwriter’s late mother while simultaneously addressing his spiritual deliverance at the hands of ‘ocean child’ Yoko Ono, his newfound soul mate.

3. The Abbey Road medley (1969)

The medley that concludes Abbey Road and, with that, the band itself, essentially consists of an assortment of unfinished songs. Beginning with ‘You Never Give Me Your Money,’ McCartney’s plaintive piano strains give way to Lennon and Harrison’s dueling rhythm guitars. As Harrison later observed, the song ‘does two verses of one tune, and then the bridge is almost like a different song altogether, so it’s quite melodic.’ The lyrics bespeak the tragedies of misspent youth and runaway fame: ‘Out of college, money spent / See no future, pay no rent / All the money’s gone, nowhere to go.’ The song’s bluesy guitar riffs segue into the chorus of a children’s nursery rhyme: ‘One, two, three, four, five, six, seven / All good children go to heaven.’ Later, in ‘Golden Slumbers,’ McCartney resumes the medley’s earlier themes with a deft reworking of Thomas Dekker’s four-hundred-year-old poem of the same name. As the medley progresses toward its symphonic conclusion, the song’s bitter nostalgia—‘Once there was a way to get back homeward / Once there was a way to get back home’—yields itself to a larger realization, in ‘Carry that Weight,’ that we inevitably shoulder the past’s frequently irredeemable burden for the balance of our lives. In ‘Carry that Weight,’ McCartney acknowledges his own culpability in the Beatles’ dissolution, yet his rather humbling, self-conscious lyrics extend an olive branch to his increasingly distant mates: ‘I never give you my pillow / I only send you my invitations / And in the middle of the celebrations / I break down.’ From ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ through ‘The End,’ his lyrics impinge upon the inherent difficulties that come with growing up and growing older. Only the power of memory, it seems, can placate our inevitable feelings of nostalgia and regret—not only for our youthful days, but for how we lived them. Appropriately, McCartney concludes the medley with, in Lennon’s words, ‘a cosmic, philosophical line’: ‘And in the end the love you take / Is equal to the love you make.’

Find more information on Kenneth Womack and his work at KennethWomack.com.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

New Beatles Book: 'Journey Into Beatledom'

10:27 AM Posted by Nicole M
Our friend Joe Robinson of BeatlesBooks.net has a book out that we are proud to feature here on our site. It's called Journey Into Beatledom and you can order the paperback from Amazon UK by clicking the cover image below:

It is also available on Kindle here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beatles Authors Bringing '60s Music Presentation to Tempe

5:07 PM Posted by Nicole M
Joe Carroccio, co-author of the book 16 in ’64: The Beatles & The Baby Boomers will be presenting “The Great Music Transition of the ‘60s” at Tempe Public Library in Arizona on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Marti Edwards, Carroccio’s co-author and the subject of the book, will also be on hand. A lifelong music fan, Edwards had the thrilling experience of meeting The Beatles in 1964 and presenting them with an honorary plaque from her fan club. Wanting to share her story and photos from the event with other people, it was suggested she write a book. With the help of Carroccio, she did just that.

The presentation itself will focus not just on The Beatles, but on the revolutionary music of the 1960s as a whole. It will be an interactive conversation with the audience about how music changed and evolved in America during the 1960s.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bill Harry Interviews Full-Time Beatles Music Scholar

10:07 AM Posted by Nicole M
Beatles music scholar and author Aaron Krerowicz ('Days in the Life') was recently interviewed by legendary Mersey Beat founder and Livepool native Bill Harry about his book, 'The Beatles & The Avant-Garde'. The following is reprinted here with permission from Mr. Harry himself.

                  Bill Harry.

              Aaron Krerowicz.

It is interesting to note that your Beatles research is sponsored by universities; does this entail writing in an academic style?

Only The Beatles & The Avant-Garde was sponsored by a university (the U of Hartford in Connecticut gave the university's music library $1,100 to make purchases at my request as I researched for that book). Every other project I've done has been independent - not affiliated with or subsidized by any school, store, or business.

So for that book specifically I felt a certain obligation to adopt a more academic style. Since publishing it in 2014 I've continued academic style analysis (BEATLESTUDY Volume I: Structural Analysis of Beatles Music, on schedule for publication in 2017, is an academic encyclopedia of form in Beatles songs), but I've also consciously implemented more accessible writing styles (my most recent book Days in the Life is a travelogue of my March 2016 tour, written in a purposely anti-academic tone).

I'm an academic at heart. For many years I wanted a career as a professor. But experiencing first hand all the garbage that goes on behind the scenes in academia turned me off that career path. My new career as a Beatles music scholar is an attempt to balance academic research and analysis with engaging and accessible presentation and explanation. I'm aiming for the "best of both worlds". And I'm taking a big risk in trying to strike that balance - I could easily isolate instead of engage both if I'm not careful.

It was John who said ‘Avant Garde is French for bullshit’ and in Weybridge told Cynthia that Yoko’s calls were because she wanted money for “her Avant Garde bullshit”. Was John serious or tongue-in-cheek’?

You know, Lennon's "avant-garde is French for bullshit" quote is perhaps his most famous quote on avant-garde art. Yet despite its prevalence, I have yet to find a reliable source. Many authors have quoted that sentence, but I had to remove it from my book because I couldn't cite it. (Earlier this year I received an email me asking about that quote because he wanted to use it in his own writings but also couldn't find a trustworthy source.) That of course does not necessarily mean Lennon didn't say it, but I'm not convinced he did.

The "wanting money for her avant-garde bullshit" quote, however, is reliable (Ray Coleman's biography, page 336), and so I did use that in the text.


As has been well-documented, Lennon often hid his insecurities behind a caustic tongue. Obviously deep down he was interested in Yoko and her work - he wouldn't have married her if he genuinely believed her and her work to be bullshit. So I suspect lines like "avant-garde bullshit" are his way of masking his true feelings. He didn't want to admit his interest at first to another or to himself, so he made harsh comments as a way to hide his true feelings. Eventually they came out, of course, and Yoko helped give him the courage to show who he really was.

The major figure in the book is not a Beatle, but Yoko. Could the book have progressed without mention of her work?

I'm not sure I would say Yoko is the major character, but she is one of three primary characters in the book (the other two being Paul McCartney and John Lennon).

In any case, Yoko is integral to the story. What I mean by that is that any consideration or comparison of The Beatles and the avant-garde without Yoko would be incomplete. So, no, I don't believe the book could have progressed without her.

Part of John’s early creativity was in writing and drawing, as in his Daily Howl and two books. Did Yoko’s Avant Garde participation end this direction of his talent, apart from ‘Skywriting by Word of Mouth’ which isn’t entirely typical of his early work influences?

I suppose it is accurate to say Yoko ended that more literary side of Lennon's avant-garde interests because he didn't explore that avenue much after they met, but it's a bit counter-intuitive. Kind of like how Jackie Robinson's breaking of Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 was actually the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues. Just as Robinson essentially closed the door on Negro League baseball by opening up a bigger and better door to Major League Baseball, so too Yoko closed the door on John's literary avant-garde avenues by opening up bigger and better doors to other artistic paths.

Was John being sarcastic when he described Paul, George and Ringo as “avant-garde revolutionary thinkers"?

He was famous for his sardonic and sarcastic wit, so in context of that quote, yes, I believe he was being facetious.

John and George were fascinated by the films of Alexandro Jodorosky, and John arranged for Klein to represent the filmmaker with his ‘El Topo’ movie. John then provided the finance for his next film ‘The Holy Mountain’ while George was offered the leading role in it, but was dismissed for refusing the ‘ass’ scene. I thought this would have been interesting for your book...

Well, 'El Topo' was released in 1971. By that time, Lennon's avant-garde period was waning. And 'The Holy Mountain', released in 1973, is even later and thus further removed from Lennon's avant-garde period. So it might have fit aesthetically, but not chronologically.

Paul’s ‘Fireman’ project has been described as ‘Avant Garde’, why isn’t it mentioned in the book?

That was started in 1993, I believe - well after The Beatles break-up, while my book deals with The Beatles years.

Also, Ian Peel wrote an excellent book called The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde, in which he goes into detail on Paul's post-Beatles avant-garde experimentation. It's been a few years since I've read that tome, but I'm pretty sure he deals with the Fireman project.

Since it fell outside of the chronological boundaries of the book, and since Peel had already covered it, I felt no need to include mention of it.

What is the relevance of the entries on ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ and ‘Give Peace a Chance’ in an Avant Garde sense?

Stylistically, 'Ballad' is NOT avant-garde - it's pretty tame, actually. But lyrically, it documents and describes many of their avant-garde explorations: the mailing of acorns to world leaders, their press conference in Vienna, the bed-ins, etc.

And 'Give Peace A Chance' is significant because, as I wrote towards the book's conclusion, the song "represents a turning point in John's artistic production - the beginning of the end of his avant-garde period. ... Instead of musical emphasis, many of his subsequent songs placed emphasis on extra-musical aspects, such as the political overtones of 'Give Peace A Chance'." So instead of worrying about psychedelic or avant-garde aesthetics, John instead embraced more accessible styles because those styles engaged more people, thus bringing more fans to his call for universal pacifism.

Images enhancing the Avant Garde items mentioned would have been worthwhile. Was their absence due to the fact that images are now getting too expensive for authors and publishers to afford?

I purposely avoided reproducing copyrighted material as much as possible - the images you describe included. But I also made a point of writing in the preface, "I encourage all who read this tome to take the time to listen to the music references (and, for that matter, to observe the extra-musical art referenced, such as the painting and poetry) to help complete understanding."

With this definition: “Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the fact that it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas "experimental music" lies outside tradition,” does your definition still apply to the Beatles experimental music?

As I wrote in the book, it's impossible to conclusively define the definition of "avant-garde" for the very reason that what was innovative or "cutting edge" last year/decade/century is no longer so at present. As soon as you decide on a definition, an artist will create something that defies that definition. It's constantly changing, like trying to hit a moving target.

For the purposes of my book, I consciously adopted an open-ended definition of "art [that] deliberately breaks with both traditional and contemporary art." In other words, art that is trying to be new and innovative in unconventional ways.

So a distinction between "avant-garde" and "experimental" seems to be somewhat contrived and arbitrary. I've used the terms interchangeably for years.

What do you think is the best Avant Garde work by John and Yoko, and their worst?

I've always been fond of Yoko's White Chess Set, in which opponents play the game on an all-white board and using all-white characters. As the game progress, it becomes more and more difficult to remember which characters are yours and which are your opponents. The ultimate statement is that of pacifism - that conflict is futile and self-defeating. And that theme would reappear even more strongly in her work with John Lennon.

Of their collaborations, I find 'Revolution 9' (actually a Lennon/Ono composition even though it's credited Lennon/McCartney) to be their most substantial. Far from being "random" (as so many have criticized), it has a fascinating three-part structure: After the introduction (0:00-0:24), the first part (0:24-4:59) features a gradual build-up in intensity. Sound effects such as women laughing (1:44-1:47, 1:51-1:54), baby noises (1:56-2:11), playground children (3:28-3:39), and shouts of “alright!” (4:14-4:15) establish a calm character. In general throughout the section, the density (the number of simultaneous sounds) increases, building tension until we reach...
            The second section (4:59-6:39) is characterized by greater intensity and more bombastic sounds. This represents that “violent revolution” Lennon spoke of when describing this piece. It is marked by a dramatic burst of loud static at 4:59. Low D and high A pedal tones add a menacing tonal quality. Other sound effects such as fire crackling (5:43-5:50), crowds shouting (5:11-5:17, 5:26-5:33, 6:10-6:16) and the shooting of guns and lasers (5:52-6:17) help provide an intimidating and unsettling atmosphere. But by the end of this section, the violence has diminished. Clips of children playing (6:38-6:52) and the return of the familiar “number nine” refrain (6:31-6:38) and B minor piano waltz (6:40-6:47) from the introduction help reestablish order and lead to...
            The third section (Part C, 6:52-7:54) is the shortest and features a return to normalcy after the violent revolution subsides. Significantly, the voice of Yoko Ono is heard only in this third and final section. If we interpret this autobiographically (and there's no evidence - much less any guarantee - that Lennon intended that to be the case), then it's as if John has survived the chaos ("it'll be alright") and his reward for making it through all the craziness is the love of his life. Indeed, she's heard almost constantly throughout that concluding section.
            The coda (7:54-8:21) reprises the crowd shouting heard earlier in the second section. It is as if that violent revolution has not been forgotten, and the threat of another is lurking.
            All of this makes for a compelling piece of music.

On the other hand, I don't find their projects from the very late 60s and very early 70s to be compelling - like the films Up Your Legs Forever (1970) or Self Portrait (1969) and the "Live Jam" with Frank Zappa (recorded 6 June 1971 and released as part of their 1972 album Some Time In New York City) - because they rehash old ideas without adding much that's new. And that defeats the whole point of being "avant-garde"! They seem shallow, one-dimensional - nowhere near the depth of 'Revolution 9'.

Paul was influenced by his counter culture friends in the Sixties, but did his interest wane with the passage of time?

Yes and no.

In the late 60s, as Lennon and Ono embraced avant-garde aesthetics, Paul certainly withdrew.

But after the Beatles' break-up, after John and Yoko retreated from avant-garde styles to more accessible production, Paul came back to experimental art. Again, my book covers only through and slightly beyond The Beatles years. Ian Peel's book mentioned above has much more detail on Paul's post-Beatles avant-garde experimentation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Octopus' Garden Review of 'The Beatles & The Avant-Garde'

9:22 PM Posted by Nicole M
Adapted with permission from Octopus' Garden fanzine, Volume 26, Issue #1, September 2016. Review by Tom Aguiar.

THE BEATLES & THE AVANT-GARDE by Aaron Krerowicz. AK Books, Hartford, CT.

Fans of the Beatles know that one form of art that the Beatles explored was the avant-garde and when they think of this fascination, they immediately think of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with good reason. It was Yoko’s influence that drew John into the avant-garde. However, Paul also experimented in the avant-garde as did, to a lesser degree, George Harrison. The other person within the Beatles’ circle to enter the avant-garde was George Martin. Krerowicz delves into many of the Beatles’ avant-garde projects and illustrates how those artistic productions reflected the lives of their creators.

The truth of the matter is that Paul McCartney was the first of the Beatles to become interested in the avant-garde. Paul was the only Beatle living in London, as the other three Beatles had married and moved out into suburbia. Paul explored the avant-garde through friends and colleagues, such as Peter Asher, Barry Miles, John Dunbar, and others, who shared recordings and took him to concerts. The avant-garde scene in London was growing and one of the most popular locations was the Indica Gallery and Book Store. Through his exposure to the avant-garde, Paul became an admirer of John Cage, who experimented with indeterminacy, unorthodox instruction, and silence as part of his creative process, as well as unconventional instrumentations. The impact on Paul resulted in compositions such as the famous, but seldom heard, song “Carnival of Light.”

Yoko Ono was a well-known and respected artist in the avant-garde, in the Flux movement in New York City, long before she met John Lennon at her exhibition at the Indica Gallery, and it was through her that John became interested in the avant-garde. It was her “Ceiling Painting” piece that spiked John’s interest in what would become a lifelong partnership.

John Lennon began his career in the avant-garde as a result of his relationship with Yoko and as with many things in his life, he dove into the artform full force with film, music, and events. His two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, demonstrated his early awareness of experimental avant-garde literature and poetry,

George Harrison explored the avant-garde with his musical creation Electronic Sound, which consisted of two tracks, “Under the Mersey Sound” and “No Time or Space,” both large scale compositions produced on a Moog synthesizer.

George Martin, even before the Beatles, created atmosphere and sound pictures.

The Beatles & The Avant-Garde is the only book that delves into the Beatles’ interest in the art. Krerowicz, a professional Beatles scholar and lecturer, won a research grant in 2011 and used his findings to present the many avenues the Beatles used to create innovating and world-changing music. It is a topic often overlooked by Beatles fans but one that played a major role in their accomplishments. Krerowicz does an excellent job explaining this period in a way that fans will enjoy. I give this book a grade of A. It’s well worth reading and having in your library.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Interview with Authors of Upcoming 'Days in the Life' Book

9:06 AM Posted by Nicole M
Full-time Beatles music scholar Aaron Krerowicz is set to publish his next book, Days in the Life, in July 2016. The story chronicles his travels while on a Beatles presentation tour of the U.S. alongside his travel companion, his father John Krerowicz. Below is an interview with the two authors. (Content copyright ©Aaron Krerowicz. Reprinted here with permission.)

Interview with the Authors

On 16 June 2016, following Aaron's presentation A Four-Headed Monster:
The 4 Beatles in 5 Songs at the Allen County Public Library in Fort
Wayne, IN, Aaron and John sat down with Nicole Michael for an interview
about their trip and book. Nicole owns and operates 910PR, a public
relations service specializing in Beatles-themed promotions. She
works as a publicist for several Beatles authors, Aaron included.

* * * * * * * * *

NICOLE: When you're sharing close of quarters in a travel trailer with
somebody for that long -- two and a-half weeks -- you must have learned
something about each other. Were there any surprises?

JOHN: I didn't realize how much of a workaholic Aaron is. Not in a bad
way, but he's obviously committed and persistent and wants to work
hard on his programs. Every morning it seemed like the second he was
up, the laptop was open and I could hear him typing.

AARON: I thought you were sleeping. [Laughter]

JOHN: Not with all that typing racket! No, just kidding. But I would
wake up and there you'd be, working. Even during meals, if we stopped
at a restaurant, we'd want that internet connection so that you could post
a blog or do whatever you needed to do.

AARON: Well, if I'm gonna do something, I do it wholeheartedly.

JOHN: It drove home what a hard worker you are. A lot harder worker
than I am.

AARON: You said it, not me. [Laughter]

JOHN: What about you, Aaron -- learn anything about me?

AARON: I thought, because you worked for a newspaper, that you'd
write concisely, not flowery. But a lot of what you did for this book was
more artistic and literary with the metaphors and unusual word choices.
Some of those metaphors came out of left field and left me wondering
what you were trying to say.

JOHN: Being a lefty, I have to say that coming out of left field can be a
good thing. [Laughter] You're right, though -- not left, in this case --
about the style. While we were on this trip, I was reading a book about
creative writing, and the author urged writers to break rules when appropriate,
surprise readers, make up words, stringently avoid clich├ęs,
stuff like that. I think for every word I used differently that Aaron and
my wife Polly liked -- something like "roasty" for Texas in the summertime
-- there must have been five words they groaned about. Like
"doodny," which I used to describe Bob Dylan's nasally voice. I thought it
was appropriate, but I couldn't sneak it past them. Polly read drafts of
our book and when she came across the parts where I'd obviously overdone
it, she would add in the margin, "John! That was way creative!
Don't do it again!" [Laughter] Sometimes I made references to things I
know about and I think other people know about but maybe you don't
know about. And that's probably a generational difference.

AARON: Certain parts went over my head. Like the term "yippies".

NICOLE: Yeah, I had to look that one up. Did he mean hippies? No,
"yippies" is an actual thing, a common phrase 45 years ago.

AARON: I'd never heard it before. I thought of Chihuahuas when you
said that. [Laughter]

JOHN: It was beneficial to have two generations working on this book.
The result was not as limited as it might have been with just one of us

NICOLE: So it sounds like there was some tension while writing this

JOHN: I thought there was, to an extent, such as Aaron and I would argue
on use of a word, or a simile that the other person believed did not
work well. I was, however, pleased with some of the go-arounds we had.
When I was a boy, my family avoided conflict. It was a bad thing -- you
didn't contradict, you didn't argue, you didn't challenge. So it was still a
little difficult for me to be able to do that with you even though I now
realize it's okay to disagree.

AARON: We read our writing aloud and the other would make comments.
That tennis-style volleying back and forth throughout the editing
process helped clarify the text.

JOHN: Yeah, we were sculpting the book by this back and forth, making
the book take form. Even so, after a longer, particularly difficult or argumentative
point, I might feel drained, but I'd also feel elated and invigorated,
like, "Yeah, we're getting somewhere with this."

NICOLE: Given that, what are the chances that the two of you will work
together on future books?

AARON: I'm sure Dad will help with future books, at least as editor, if
not co-author.

NICOLE: Are there any plans for a sequel to this book?

AARON: We're already discussing another trailer tour. I'm not sure
whether another book is likely to come out of that, but I'm open to the

NICOLE: Maybe if there's demand for a sequel.

AARON: Right. If I'm asked about Days In The Life frequently, and
people say they'd like to read a follow-up, then absolutely I'm open to
writing another one.

NICOLE: What about other books?

AARON: I'm constantly getting ideas for new books and presentations.
The one I did tonight, A Four-Headed Monster: The 4 Beatles in 5 Songs,
I want to turn into a book at some point. Also, tomorrow in Kendallville,
IN, I'm doing a program celebrating Ringo. Many people have expressed
an interest in that information in book form.

NICOLE: And I understand you want to publish your BEATLESTUDY

AARON: I'm aiming for December 2016 for the first part of that series,
which is an encyclopedia of structure in Beatles music.

NICOLE: John, what did you learn about Aaron's writing?

JOHN: How far he's come from his first book, The Beatles & The Avant-
Garde -- much more direct, less esoteric.

AARON: Yeah. Days in the Life is a conscious counter to that more academic

NICOLE: From a marketing standpoint, I'm excited to get this book out

AARON: I could never go on Good Morning America promoting The
Beatles & The Avant-Garde, [Laughter] but this book is more along those

NICOLE: How did you two fare as travel partners?

JOHN: Traveling with someone was different for me. I like being on my
own. I think Aaron is like that, too. But for this trip, having another person
there, it made for a more enjoyable time. Aaron and I are a lot alike
in that if we have nothing to say, it's okay -- though I didn't mean to
quote Beatles lyrics there. [Laughter] We don't need to fill the silence.

AARON: That would have driven me absolutely crazy if you had talked
about nothing just to fill the time. [Laughter]

JOHN: There also was plenty of room in the trailer for the two of us.
And when I wanted to go birding, I did so. I didn't feel restricted, as if I
had to entertain Aaron; he had to work. I didn't. [Laughter] Joining
forces allowed us to do something that we might not have done on our

NICOLE: So you don't think you would have gone to Arizona on your

JOHN: I wasn't sure whether I could handle the trip while hauling that
trailer. But now that I know what it's like, I definitely want to go back.
And if I go by myself, that's fine.

AARON: Well, I wouldn't have driven all that way by myself. I was
happy to drive the hours that I did, but Dad did most of it. But he likes
driving. I drive because I have to, not because I enjoy it.

JOHN: Ohhhh, so that's why you wanted me to go on this trip?
[Laughter] So I could do the driving?

NICOLE: John was 32 years old when Aaron was born; Aaron will turn
32 next year. Since John is a first-generation fan, it seems like he should
be the Beatles expert, not Aaron.

AARON: At one of my presentations last year, the hosting librarian enthusiastically
turned to Dad and said, "We're really excited about your
Beatles presentation this evening." [Laughter] And one of the comments
I frequently receive at my talks is, "I was expecting somebody older." On
a related note, restaurant servers will see me analyzing music while waiting
for my food and ask if I'm working on homework or studying for finals.
One waiter at an Olive Garden in Pennsylvania retracted an offer
for a free wine sample because "you're not 21." I know I look young for
my age. I'm 30 but I've had people guess as young as 16. My ever-present
baseball cap and backpack complement the illusion. But at least I'm no
longer riding my bike to work! [Laughter]

JOHN: On the other hand, I'm consistently given senior discounts
without even asking for them! [Laughter] Maybe I should stop wearing
my granny glasses, you know -- those mask-like, huge black frames that
fit over my trifocals?

NICOLE: A good part of this trip was spent with Alan and Carrie, John's
childhood friends. How did Aaron react to them?

JOHN: It seemed he and Alan and Carrie were on the same wavelength.
They spoke easily together on various topics, they were open to the
other's interests, they enjoyed learning about each other.

AARON: They were open and welcoming hosts, which makes it a lot
easier to be a friendly guest.

JOHN: But Aaron has always handled himself well, even in high school
and college when it was impressive to see him comfortably discuss things
-- whether musical or not -- with visiting musicians or with his professors.

NICOLE: That's interesting because people who are very scholarly sometimes
lack social skills.

AARON: Mmhmm. “Ivory tower syndrome”.

JOHN: Your teaching skills developed in Boston, and that's made a difference
in your personality. You seem to relate to people better since

AARON: For sure. For a long time I wanted to be a music professor and
teach at a university. But there is often an arrogance to academicians.
That's ultimately why I left classical academia and embraced pop music.

NICOLE: Will you ever go back to university life? Might you apply for
professorships when you stop working as a touring Beatles scholar?

AARON: It's possible, but it would have to be at a very progressive institution.
I have no interest in joining an old crusty school.

NICOLE: John, after hearing so many of Aaron's programs, have you
started to hear The Beatles' music differently?

JOHN: Definitely. And that's the point of Aaron's presentations -- to
help people appreciate what's going on musically in each of these songs.
For all the years I've listened to 'Penny Lane', I could tell there was a
little bit of difference between the verses and choruses, but I had no idea
what it was. After hearing Aaron's discussion of the song, I know it's a
change in key.

NICOLE: And Aaron, after spending so much time with your Dad, have
any of his observations and anecdotes influenced your perceptions?

AARON: Sure. In the book Dad talks about Crosby, Still, Nash, and
Young and how Young was the more gritty, less refined, more raw and
emotional member of the band. I knew of CSNY, and occasionally people
ask me to compare and contrast them with The Beatles. But I've had to
admit ignorance -- I'm just not familiar enough with CSNY's music to
comment. But now when I'm asked I'll have something to say.

NICOLE: You both mention interests outside of The Beatles in the book:
John with bird watching, Aaron with baseball. How do you feel about
each other's "other" interests? Can you draw any similarities between
how you observe birds and baseball? You both seem very orderly about
your hobbies.

JOHN: I put my list of birds on a spreadsheet. And that makes it easier. It
tallies the total number. I can go right to the bottom to find out how
many species I've seen. There is a practical side to that. I've always considered
myself logical and structured. Mr. Spock was my favorite character
on Star Trek. That tells you something. So yeah, there is a certain
amount of linear thinking. Very organized. Everything in its place.

AARON: My job is organizing and making sense of pools of information.
That's what I do every day. And that's also why I use baseball scorecards.
They allow me to keep track of the game and illuminate patterns that I
would otherwise miss.

JOHN: What kinds of conflicts do you find when part of your personality
is so pragmatic, while you must also be creative as a musician and author?

AARON: In one of the chapters I talk about the balance between intuition
and cultivation -- how learning how to teach was painstakingly
slow, whereas the musical analysis just comes to me naturally. One of
Lennon's quotes has always resonated with me: "It doesn't make me better
or worse than anybody else; I just see and hear differently from other
people -- the same way musicians hear music differently from non-musicians.
And there is no way of explaining it." And that's very much how I
view myself: I hear and think differently from most people. And that's
not inherently a good thing or a bad thing, it's just different. I've been
unconventional for as long as I can remember. I've never fit the mold.
I'm allergic to mold! [Laughter] A large part of maturity for me has been
learning to anticipate scenarios in which my alternative thinking style
will yield consequences. I actively avoid situations where those consequences
will be negative, and consciously embrace situations where
those consequences will be positive. I've learned how to balance my natural
gifts with learned skills.

NICOLE: Your spring tours ended about two weeks ago. In addition to
the March tour documented here, you also visited Florida in February,
New York in April, and Milwaukee and Louisville in May. How have
you held up over that stretch?

AARON: It's been quite an experience -- four months of touring. Now
that it's over, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the last four months
have been some of the most exhausting of my life, and I could sure use a
vacation; on the other hand, the last four months have been some of the
most exhilarating of my life, and I want to continue that wave.

NICOLE: And your plans for the future?

AARON: Short-term, I'm going to Kansas City in September, New England
in October, and back to Wisconsin/Illinois in November. I'll start
planning for 2017 shortly. Long term, I suspect this is a viable career for about five years.
I've been doing it full-time for one year already, so I figure I have maybe
four years left. After that, I'm not sure I'll want to sustain this type of
profession even if I could sustain it. It is, after all, a ridiculous amount of
work and keeps me away from home the majority of the time. Having
said that, I enjoy it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would continue doing
what I'm doing. I might not pursue it quite as vigorously, [Laughter]
but this is what I want to do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Preview: Beatles Music Scholar to Publish New Book

11:01 AM Posted by Nicole M
Full-time Beatles music scholar Aaron Krerowicz is set to publish his next book, Days in the Life, in July 2016. The story chronicles his travels while on a Beatles presentation tour of the U.S. alongside his travel companion, his father John Krerowicz. Below is the foreward to this journal-style publication. (Content copyright ©Aaron Krerowicz. Reprinted here with permission.)


Not often do parents and their offspring get chances to spend time together after the young escape the elders' influence. And many times they don't want to.

But this is a story about a father and son who did want to spend time together, sharing a road trip as well as an appreciation for a band that has influenced global pop culture for more than half a century: The Beatles.

After earning advanced degrees in classical music theory and composition, Aaron Krerowicz (30) turned his analytical ears to pop music. Since 2012, he has worked as a Beatles scholar, lecturing extensively throughout the United States and England and authoring several books. Twice he combined lecture tours with family vacations: to Colorado in 2014 and to Missouri in 2015.

The Missouri trip was in a 2012 Jayco travel trailer that his parents purchased several months before. That trip went so well that Aaron proposed a follow-up. His mother had to work, but father John
Krerowicz (62) was retired. The two traveled through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in March 2016, with Aaron delivering programs along the way.

During the trip, Pop and the pop music aficionado kept journals meticulously documenting their travels, and regularly posted their writings on Aaron's Beatles blog. Those blogs, supplemented with additional anecdotes and recollections, form the basis for this book. All of the events and conversations here are real, though some minor details (such as dates and names) have been altered.