Let’s get the quotable out of the way first off: “if you’re a metal head and interview junkie like me; Tales From the Stage is a romp through a metal music orgasm!” Strong words? Maybe. Truth? Definitely. This insider look at the music we all love takes a very unique approach that keeps you not only learning tid bits about metal and heavy music, but it also gives insight into stars and industry people that are often misrepresented in mainstream media.
Doing this was surprisingly easy and not something many people have thought of. What Toney did was go out and interview stars, but kept the book in the exact format of the questions. Instead of interviewing mega-stars and giving us his take, he left the interview in its purest form and brought the information right out of the mouth of the legend.
Some of the people in the book are people I have interviewed in the past (LIPS, Bruce Kulick, Ron Keel) and many others I would love to sit down with; most notably Eddie Trunk and the infamous Chris Holmes. On a side note I need to send an apology to Holmes. I have been pretty hard on him over the years, but after reading his interview I understand I was putting misconceptions on him that weren’t deserved. If this book does anything other than be a great read, it will show Chris Holmes as the opposite of the drunk in the swimming pool.
I’m sure Toney is extremely knowledgeable about metal and hard rock, but at no time does he come across as a “know it all” or “industry insider.” He simply comes across as a fan who gets to interview his heroes and ask questions that other may not have thought of or were scared to bring up.
For instance in his conversation with Bruce Kulick he talked about everything from Meatloaf to the compensation system KISS set up. He also talked about Eric Carr, which was something I wanted to ask but didn’t feel Bruce would be open to it. Kulick was very open and even offered insight to Carr’s personality and standing in the band.
For me personally the best interview was with Tim “Ripper” Owens. I have never been a fan and in other interviews Ripper came across as condescending and ungrateful to me, but with Toney, Ripper lays it all out. How it happened, his rise to fame, the money, his love of Dio and everything else in between. Much like Holmes I judged Ripper before really knowing him and I felt that Toney gave me insight that will help me learn from that mistake and maybe put a little Ripper Priest on.
Overall I couldn’t possibly cover the amazing material in this book with a simple blog. The solution to that is easy. Head over to www.talesfromthestage.com and pick up your own copy. Rumor has it a Part 2 maybe coming and I certainly welcome that.
By giving us an interview in its purest form, Michael Toney has lifted the veil on many complicated people in a complicated industry.
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