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Big & Rich-They are comin’ to your city!

You haven’t lived until you have seen Big & Rich play the Vidalia Onion Festival in Vidalia, GA. This is what country rockin’ is all about. Appearing on stage in a grassy field, just off the runway of the Vidalia Regional airport, the locals are celebrating their 39th Vidalia Onion
Festival. Which means Johnny or Hank Jr. might have played there back in the day. This is some country music history mixed with a carnival, food vendors, Army recruiters and lots of families with fold-up chairs, blankets, and more beer than we thought to bring.

The tickets stated no carry-ins, and my friend Tom and I had VIP tickets. That ended up being better sanitary facilities, but not much more. The place to be was the sponsor’s tent which boasted tables and chairs, free food and drink stationed approximately 50 feet from the band. The lava cake and cheesecake were divine, but how I know this cannot be revealed at this time.

Music started at 4pm on Saturday, April 23 featuring Justin Dukes, BEAU +LUCI, Salazar and A Thousand Horses. Around 8:30 pm their DJ started warming up the crowd for a Big & Rich time. Backed by a stellar band, including a 19-year old pedal steel guitar player, Big Kenny and John Rich hit the stage and immediately launched into one of their biggest hits, “Comin’ To Your City,” and the party was officially started.

For a good ninety minutes the band never let up, playing “Save A Horse,” “Lost in You,” and “Wild West Show.” Under a warm starry Georgia night I can imagine you could hear the band echoing in the hollows across the onion fields. People opening their windows, just listening to “the freak parade,” which also featured Spiderman and Cowboy Troy who did some audacious rappin’ rock/country style.

I haven’t danced that much since I saw AC/DC last September in Chicago. So if you haven’t seen Big & Rich live, or heard their latest hit, “Lovin’ Lately,” with Tim McGraw, put on your boots and get on out there. They will be in Columbus, GA on July 23, and soon they will be comin’ to your city! So come along, come along!WP_20160423_005 WP_20160423_006 WP_20160423_007 WP_20160423_008 WP_20160423_21_27_20_Pro WP_20160423_21_56_22_Pro WP_20160423_21_57_15_Pro WP_20160423_21_57_29_Pro

 

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The Ghosts of Gettysburg

Right after doing an interview with the fascinating author, Sandra Champlain, who wrote the bestseller, “We Do Not Die,” I confirmed this theory by visiting Gettysburg soon after speaking with her. When you have time, please do check out her radio show, We Do Not Die, at www.sandrachamplain.com/radio.

On Wednesday, March 16, I flew from Savannah, GA to Washington D.C. to meet up with my friend Jim, who was going to show me around Gettysburg. Having several ancestors who fought in the Civil War, some surviving, Jim has an affinity for the place and made a great tour guide! My friend Tamara Springer Gleason, who is a psychic/medium, Reiki Master, hypnotherapist teamed up with Robb Demarest, formerly of Ghost Hunters International and Haunted Australia. Together they investigated the inside of one of Gettysburg’s largest Civil War Field Hospitals,The Battlefield Brew Works on the historic Monfort Farm property, where over 450 confederate soldiers lost their lives on the floor of that building. Used as a field hospital Walking on blood stained floors, both nights they had people tripped and scratched my unseen forces.

On Saturday night they held an all-night investigation which included over 40 people, some coming as far away as upstate New York. Two people were tripped and scratched during the night. One of the most amazing things that happened was when Tamara gave a reading to a lady who was related to Abraham Lincoln and the very next reading was given to a woman who was related to Mary Todd Lincoln. Tamara Springer Gleason and Robb Demarest were sponsored by Jolene Riley’s “Xtreme Ghost Hunt.”

We met up with them On St. Patty’s Day at the Gary Owen, which was spent at a fine Irish establishment. Featuring live music, traditional Irish dishes and too many beers to choose from, it was the perfect way to celebrate given that Gettysburg hosts a monument to the Irish Brigade that fought in the Civil War.

The following day we spent the afternoon walking up to the top of Big Round Top to get a view of Little Round Top, including Devil’s Den and the Valley of Death. From July 1-3, 1863, Union and Confederate troops faced off and after a three day massacre, there lay over 50,000 bodies across a blood soaked field. The more I walked up the hill, across the rocks, peering over the rocks, I had the feeling that I had been hit in the stomach. After a while I couldn’t breathe well, and I could taste blood in my mouth. After two hours, I had had enough of absorbing the unimaginable pain those soldiers had suffered.

Before heading back to town, we drove over to Spangler’s Spring where there was yet another massacre. Oddly after only one other car driving through, we were there alone as the sun was going down. As I walked a road bordered by thick trees, I picked up on a young soldier that wanted to go home. I could tell what he was saying, as I often do, and with an unforgettable sadness, he asked me to help him go home. When I studied the Civil War in middle school, I had nightmares about losing a son in the war. I wonder if this young man who needed help knew me on some level. I told him to ask for his spirit guides and guardian angels to light the way home, where he would be welcomed by his loved ones. It was quite emotional, and I got tears in my eyes. My friend Jim leaned over to touch the back of my neck, and he jumped backwards. Apparently when he went to touch me, he received a shock like “putting his hand into barbed wire.” That validated to me that I really was talking to someone whose energy was surrounding me. I’d like to think we helped him find his way home.

The next we drove out to Sachs covered bridge where Confederate soldiers hung their deserters. Jim walked into the bridge on a cloudy rainy day, and there is a shot of the bridge where it looks like there is a skylight because a stream of light was shining in through the top of the roof. This anomaly didn’t compare to what happened the night before while staying at the Farnsworth House.

Friday night we had two rooms booked and planned on eating dinner before checking in. Immediately after dinner, we were taken on a ghost tour of the building. The Farnsworth House was built approximately in the year 1810. The first owner being John McFarlane. Turned into a Bed and Breakfast in 1986, the house is purported to be haunted, very haunted!

After dinner we took the Ghost Tour through all three levels of the Farnsworth Inn. The basement was were many bodies were stored before they could be properly buried. The common activity throughout the house are children playing, soldiers walking across the attic floor at night, and a previous owner, Mr. Sweeney, who doesn’t care for visitors in his house.

Jim had the pleasure of staying in the Sarah Black room, where you can sometimes smell her perfume. We certainly did when we first walked into the room that afternoon. Earlier in the evening, during our ghost tour, it was said that snipers used the attic of the Farnsworth Inn and the shot that killed Jenny Wade, the only civilian killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, reportedly came from the attic window. Now late at night, you can hear footsteps across the ceiling, coming from the attic. Unmistakable boots pacing the floor was captured by my friend’s digital recorder. He also felt a presence of someone at the foot of the bed, which kept him awake most of the night.

That particular specter could be Jeremy’s father, a boy who died where the bathroom is now in that room. He died in his father’s arms and has been known to move things, play with cell phones and can be heard laughing in the halls. I stayed in Jeremy’s room, which used to be an open air porch where two Confederate soldiers were shot to death, one almost being decapitated by a bullet. The room now is dedicated to Jeremy, boasting blue walls and lots of toys to play with. Yet an eerie feeling that you are not alone.

I literally slept like a baby in Jeremy’s room, although I was woken up by a boy and a girl running through the halls, laughing and slamming doors. I later found out there were no children checked into the Inn that day. I had taken pictures of the book shelf full of toys when I checked in. As I got ready to leave, I noticed three toy soldiers had fallen over, although I couldn’t explain how they had done it on their own.

I thanked Jeremy for letting me enjoy his room, and was thankful my night at a haunted inn was over. My friend didn’t share my enthusiasm after being kept up all night with boot steps, a freezing room and a figure moving around at the end of the bed.

Going to Gettysburg was an honor and has to be seen to truly be appreciated for what this country went through for freedom and equal rights. It’s like stepping back in time and the profound impact of so many deaths hangs in the air, still to this day. WP_20160317_003 WP_20160317_004 WP_20160318_001 WP_20160318_012 WP_20160318_014 WP_20160318_016 WP_20160318_019 WP_20160318_021 WP_20160318_024 WP_20160318_025 WP_20160318_027 WP_20160318_034 WP_20160318_041 WP_20160318_043 WP_20160318_045 WP_20160318_046 WP_20160319_007 WP_20160319_010

Me and Angus September 16, 2015

Interview with James Quinton author of Bad Boy Boogie-The Adventures of Bon Scott

Me and Angus September 16, 2015James: When I was working on Bad Boy Boogie, I read your book The Story of AC/DC-Let There Be Rock, how many books have you written now?

Susan: I have written six books so far-

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy-My Life and Time with AC/DC, Van Halen, Kiss…
Famous WI Musicians-Foreword by Les Paul
The Story of AC/DC-Let There Be Rock-now in 11 languages
Family Tradition-Three Generations of Hank Williams
The Secrets of the Universe-Universal Laws, Past Lives and Ghost Adventures
AC/DC FAQ-All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock and Roll Band-Foreword by Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers

James: Wow.
And you write heaps of articles for magazines?

Susan: I have, but not as much in the past few years. I did write a blog for my publisher for their Back Wing website, and I also wrote the introduction to the debut issue of Overdose Magazine.
Overdose Magazine November 2015

James: AC/DC FAQ came out in 2015, are you working on a new book now?
Susan: I am considering a spiritual/self-help book at this time, and pursuing a movie deal for my book, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy.

James: From reading about your life and your books, you seem to have a wonderful time – do you have any favourite stories that still make you smile?
Susan: OMG, I have so many! One of my favorites is when I got to hide behind the road cases on stage to watch AC/DC play in Milwaukee in 1978 when they opened for UFO. It is in my book if you want me to find the excerpt.

James: Sure.

Susan: OK. “I worked out a place on stage at the Riverside, right behind some road cases. It was about as close as I could get without getting in their way. The band came out and ripped it up in proper AC/DC style; the crowd was going wild for them. There were many amazed faces staring back from the audience.

When Angus got on Bon’s shoulders and went out into the crowd they even made it up into the balcony of the theater. After a while we could hear Angus’s lead guitar but we couldn’t see them anymore. Angus was wailing away, but I couldn’t spot him anywhere. I noticed some of the audience looking around too. Just as I was thinking, where the hell is he? I felt this soft tap on my right elbow. My sister was on my left, so I turned around and there was Angus crouched down behind me jamming away! When I turned and looked at him he motioned for me to scoot over to the left and as I did, he rushed back out onstage. The roar from the crowd was thunderous (or maybe it was Angus’s guitar).”

James: Once you started transferring your experiences to the written word did the buzz from being backstage ever wear off?

Susan: No, the buzz of being backstage never rubs off. Especially with a band like AC/DC!

James: Surely when you’re backstage in an official capacity your approach to being there alters: can you say a bit about how you work when you’re trying to write a story?

Susan: Absolutely! I always carried a notebook and pen and made tons of notes during a show or an interview. We used to carry recorders and record an interview right after a show. That to me was extremely more interesting than doing phone interviews. My approach being backstage has always been business first. My goal (especially as a female reporter), was to come back to my paper with a story. I usually figure out how to open a story and how to end it. Then you just fill in the middle.

James: Great. Do you have any recordings of the interviews available?

Susan: In the back of The Story of AC/DC-Let There Be Rock, the 2009 edition contains an audio CD at the back of the book featuring the interview I did with the whole band in December of 1977. It can be ordered from Amazon.

James: If you were going to a deserted island and had to choose one AC/DC album, which one would it be?

Susan: Powerage.

James: Yes, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect rock and roll album. My favourites are Bullet to Bite On, Gone Shootin’ and What’s Next to the Moon. Also, Down Payment Blues. Ah, damn they’re all good. Did you know Bon Scott was a big Hank Williams fan? Can you see any similarities between Bon and Hank’s lyrics?

Susan: I agree! My favorites are Riff Raff, Gone Shootin’, and Down Payment Blues. That album is also a favorite of Malcolm’s and Keith Richards.
Especially since I have written about both Bon and Hank Williams, they were very similar indeed. They both wrote lyrics about what was happening to them in their own personal lives. Bon carried a notebook of lyric ideas and Hank wrote on little scraps of paper that he kept in his wallet. They both had a genius way of phrasing their lyrics, and their lyrics were often written about something that everyone could relate to. The fact that they both died at such young ages, and left such a legacy of music, is both eerie and remarkable.

James: Interesting. I made a table of the themes of Bon’s lyrics. If you agree with the table, you’ll see that nearly half of his songs were love songs. And often within those love songs the voice of the song, the singer, is the one experiencing unrequited love. Does this surprise you in any way? Do you think this goes against the common perception of Bon’s lyrics?

Susan: Very cool lists, James! I do agree with you, although I’ll bet a lot of the fans don’t realize it. Bon was always so upbeat and acting like he was having a great time. I know through research and what he told his friends not that long before his death, that he was tired, burned out and lonely.
Sadly, being on the road for 13 years before his death, (counting Fraternity and the Valentines), Bon had a hard time keeping a relationship. Some (Silver) weren’t healthy for him, and I read that he wanted to move to California, buy a house and settle down. Being around him from time to time between 1977-1979, I had no idea he was lonely. It makes me sad that I didn’t know.

James: Why do you think Silver and others were a bad influence on Bon? Surely he was his own man who could make his own decisions?

Susan: From what I have read, Silver was into heroin, which was also the case with the man Bon spent his last night with. Bon could make his own decisions, and he could also get blind drunk, which was usual for him. There are many unanswered questions on why Alistar Kinnear (?) left Bon lying flat on his back in a car in the middle of February. Especially when the whole band and band manager were in London and a phone call away. Kinnear claims he called Silver for advice. How about take him to the hospital because he was passed out cold, not leave him alone in a car to die?

James: Yes there are many unanswered questions and it was a tragedy, but I’m not sure you can point the finger at any one person being responsible. If there was, charges would have been laid. Nor do I think you can blame Silver Smith without asking her yourself. A lot of what has been written about her seems hyperbolic and to blame her for Bon’s alcohol consumption seems a bit unfair. Overall, I take your point, Bon’s life could have been saved. Do you remember what you were doing the day you heard he had died?

Susan: I agree, James, and good point on many aspects. You can’t blame any one person except for the decision to leave him alone.

Actually, I was listening to an AC/DC song on the radio, on my way to pick up my terminally ill mother from the hospital. At the end of the song, the DJ came on the air and said, “And that was for the late Bon Scott who was found dead in a car in London…” As soon as I heard the words, I pulled over and burst into tears. I had just seen them play the previous October, and I never imagined it would be the last time I would see Bon. He was a real sweetheart, and I am honored to have known him.

James: The other aspect of Powerage in my opinion is that it represents for me Bon Scott’s coming of age lyrically. You’ve mentioned the phrasing – are there any particular lyrics of Bon’s that you think are just perfect?

Susan: Yes, I have several. “Dog Eat Dog,” is the story of life in one song. I love “Let There Be Rock” and how prophetic it is. …15 million fingers learnin’ how to play, and you can hear those fingers pickin’, and this is what they had to say…Let there be ROCK! :)

James: Yes I love the balance between the past and the future in Let There Be Rock. The references to Chucky Berry and The Book of Genesis ground the lyric. The ironical self reference ‘and the singer turned and he said to the crowd’.
But it’s also the way the structure of the song lends itself to the allegory of the theme – the way Bon shuts up and let’s there be rock in the last third, the kind of structure that I dare say Mutt Lange would not attempt.
Allegory is an aspect rarely explored in AC/DC criticism but they had been working on the idea of Rock as a religious symbol for some time before Bon’s death. Hell recurs continuously as a state to be enjoyed. Do you think AC/DC were alone in this approach or were other bands doing this in the 70’s too?

Susan: I believe it influenced plenty of bands at the time. Look at Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for example. I think their music (I know personally) became like a religion to us at the time. Their music was the end all, be all. Whatever Jimmy Page was playing, or Ozzy was singing was the what we looked up to.
Bon dressing as a preacher in the Let There Be Rock video also backs up the idea of rock and roll being a religion and not just an art form. Now there are signs all over Facebook stating, “AC/DC is my religion.” Funny also, that their roadie Barry Taylor left the band and became a minister, and wrote a book about how religion and pop culture are intertwined.

James: Haha that’s hilarious.

I want to thank you so much for your time Susan. Can you reveal anything to us about your next book?

Susan: You are very welcome, James. I’m glad you liked it. :) I am still promoting my AC/DC FAQ book, and my next book will be a spiritual/self-help book. Unless a rock star captures my attention first. Please feel free to include my website, www.susanmasino.com, and thank you so much! It was a pleasure.

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AC/DC Levels Wrigley Field in Chicago on September 15, 2015

Exactly one week ago tonight, I was standing at the barricade that runs across the front of the stage while AC/DC were causing noise complaints in the Windy City! And according to the Cubs manager, also screwing up the in field. Starting their show at 8pm sharp, the band launched into “Rock or Bust,” and brought over 41,000 screaming fans to their feet, where they stayed for the 20 song, two hour show.

Seeing them four times on the Black Ice tour, I waited a long time for them to make their way to Chicago, and of course the wait was worth it. Even though Stevie Young is playing for his uncle Malcolm, and Chris Slade is playing drums in place of Phil Rudd, the band still brought the thunder from down under. Especially Angus, dressed in a bright red school boy uniform, who seemed to have the energy of a sixteen year old!

Lacing the song list with 3 new tracks from their latest album, Rock or Bust, the band covered some of my favorites, including “High Voltage,” “Have a Drink On Me,” and “Sin City.” The entire set included-

“Rock or Bust”
“Shoot to Thrill”
“Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”
“Back in Black”
“Play Ball”
“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”
“Thunderstruck”
“High Voltage”
“Rock N’ Roll Train”
“Hells Bells”
“Baptism by Fire”
“You Shook Me All Night Long”
“Sin City”
“Shot Down in Flames”
“Have a Drink on Me”
“T.N.T. ”
“Whole Lotta Rosie”
“Let There Be Rock”
Encore:
“Highway to Hell”
“For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) ”

Of course “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me,” and “Thunderstruck” got some of the biggest reactions from the crowd. The band was in top form, and were also shooting a DVD, which included a couple of large cameras that kept swinging down through the crowd. During “Let There Be Rock,” Angus made his way out onto the catwalk, and by the time the confetti was flying, he was rolling around on his back, never missing a note.

Brian, Cliff, Stevie and Chris did an incredible job keeping up with Angus. It is amazing what he is able to do, and I could definitely feel Malcolm’s spirit up there with him. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for him to tour without his older brother. The man who started the band, talked him into playing lead, and has written songs with him for 40 years.

Thanks to Angus and their incredible kindness, my friends and I were given tickets and passes to the hospitality section. There hasn’t been any meet and greets after the show on this tour, so once the fireworks were over, it was hard to say goodbye.

Luckily the next day their tour manager, Tim, gave me permission to drop copies of my new book at their hotel. We found our way to the hotel, and went in to enjoy a drink and sign some books. While I was working on that, Tim was texting me to let me know that he and Angus were out. All of a sudden Brian Johnson walked in with four of his friends and settled in the lounge. I never like to interrupt someone when they are entertaining guests, but I broke my own rules and went in to hand him a copy of my book.

Once he realized who I was, he gave me a big kiss and a hug. Then he paged through the book and had fun pointing out pictures to his friends. He told me that he was going to read it and “learn things about the band even I don’t know!” Although he was busy, he was still very gracious and after another hug and kiss, I gave him his privacy.

After all the books were signed, and we were getting ready to hit the road, I sent Tim a text thanking him for everything. To my sheer delight, he texted back to hold on for a bit and Angus would stop in for a quick hello. Within 15 minutes, Tim and Angus came walking in the door, and it was such a treat to see him again. The last visit we had was in Chicago in August of 2009. We’ve always had the ability to talk like we just saw each other, and this time was no different.

I told him what an incredible job they did at Wrigley Field, and that his solo in “Let There Be Rock,” brought tears to my eyes. Always joking, he replied, “It brought tears to mine, too.” Sticking around for at least a half an hour, he met my girlfriends, asked about my son Jamey, (whom he met in 2008), and wished him good luck in film school.

It was obvious that he cut his shopping trip short to make sure he got to say hello before we left. We walked outside to take a couple of pictures, and before Tim took a shot of just the two of us, I looked at him and said, “We’ve known each other for 38 years, and I think we still look fabulous!” That made him laugh, and then I reminded him to remember me when he decides to write his own book.

My girlfriend Tamara added that I am faithful and have stuck by the band for 38 years, and that they can’t get rid of me. We all laughed about that, and Angus quipped, “Hopefully that won’t change.” I assured him it never will. I can honestly say except for my son, Angus has been the only man in my life that has never let me down. Not once. And I think I can speak for millions of fans out there that feel the same way. AC/DC will always be AC/DC, and we can all thank Malcolm Young for that.

Malcolm’s legacy and their music will be around long after we are all gone. And isn’t that a comforting thought? Your great grandkids will be rockin’ to AC/DC, and we were the lucky ones who got to see them live when they were the greatest rock and roll band in the world. For those about to rock…FIRE! Angus and the girls in Chicago September 16, 2015 Me and Angus September 16, 2015 FB_20150918_19_35_18_Saved_Picture FB_20150918_19_35_30_Saved_Picture FB_20150918_19_35_41_Saved_Picture FB_20150920_01_23_14_Saved_Picture WP_20150915_20_02_27_Pro WP_20150915_20_11_26_Pro WP_20150915_20_19_37_Pro WP_20150915_21_44_15_Pro WP_20150915_21_52_19_Pro

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BookExpo & Signing in NYC May 2015

Once again I was honored to do a book signing at the BookExpo in NYC in May of 2015. This was my fifth official signing at the BookExpo America, and this occasion was for my latest release, AC/DC FAQ All That’s Left To Know About The World’s True Rock ‘n’ Roll Band.

I used to live in New York, so going back is always like going home for me. I was lucky enough to stay with my good friend, Ronnie Norpel, who is a published author herself. You should definitely check out her book, Baseball Karma & The Constitution Blues, which is available on Amazon.

Ronnie now works as an associate producer for the Barry Farber radio show. Barry has been on New York radio for over five decades, and he is fascinating to talk to. I didn’t get to Ronnie’s until Wednesday evening, and spent all day Thursday, May 28, enjoying the BookExpo. I was interviewed by New York journalist, Bruce Alexander and met Frank Todaro, who hosts his own paranormal radio show, The Invisible World.

I also tried the 60 second writing challenge, where you had to pick a noun, a verb and an adjective and then they gave you a question and you had 60 seconds to answer it using those key words. To my surprise I actually came up with something, and they were very happy with me. Of course being a published author, it came as a great relief that I didn’t fail their test. Somewhere there is an actual video of this, and thankfully I haven’t been able to find it.

So I left my first day tired, weary and ready to head back up to Ronnie’s apartment. Getting a cab from the BookExpo is nearly impossible, and the train is a good 4 blocks away. Keep in mind, NYC blocks are about one half mile long, each. Thinking I had outsmarted the system, I got on a free air conditioned bus that was headed for Grand Central. I could catch a train there. However, the bus was going to a hotel on 49th and Lexington, which is miles away from where I needed to be. Ronnie had booked me for an 8pm interview with Barry that same evening, and it was already past 6pm. After begging the driver to let me off the bus, unsuccessfully, I enjoyed the scenery of 57th Street, passing Fifth, Park and Madison Avenues. After a frantic call to Ronnie to ask what to do once I got to Grand Central, I waited to disembark. Once inside Grand Central, I took a sharp right to catch the S Train to 42nd Street which took me to the regular subway, where I took the Express to 96th and then the local to 103rd. In less than a half an hour, I was at Ronnie’s door, dead tired, but confident in the fact that I had most certainly gotten my New York groove back!

The next day, Friday May 29, Ronnie accompanied me to my book signing at the Javits Center. I was scheduled for 2pm, and thanks to a wayward cab driver, who pretended that he couldn’t speak English, we arrived at my station with only five minutes to spare. Just like Keith Richards, I looked at my frantic publicist, and said, “Can I get a bottle of water, and where is my pen?” Over the next 33 minutes, I signed 60 books and met some of the most amazing people. Thanks to John Cerullo, my publicist Wes Seeley, his assistant Lindsay, Dave, Mike and my editor, Bernadette of Hal Leonard/Backbeat Books, my book signing was a smashing success.

After three long days of meetings, speeches, signings and sales, many of the publishers celebrate the closing with drinks, snacks and free books if you can carry them. We were treated to vodka spiked tea, a cold Corona and a snifter of brandy garnished with chocolate dipped apricots. Of course we had to try them all, and as we were wandering around watching people pack up, we ran into Allison from Harlequin Books. My daughter, author Clarissa Cole, is shopping a romance novel, so I thought I would stop by and pitch them her book. Not only was Allison interested and very gracious, but she was so tired, she gave Ronnie and me free concert tickets to Billy Idol who was playing down the street on Pier 97 that same evening.

Of course we had plans to see a punk rock photo exhibit in the Village, and then meander further south to see a band that her friend played in, but free Billy Idol tickets trumped all of that. Before we knew it, we were sipping a cold Lager on the Hudson River, looking toward the stage with the city of Manhattan starting to glitter as the sun went down. Billy, his band and especially his guitar player, Steve Stevens sounded amazing! They rocked the pier, where under the stars over one thousand Billy Idol fans were shouting their best “Rebel Yell.” We also hooked up with two amazing ladies from Long Island, Jean and Bernadette, who made that night that much more fun. Apartment we lived in at Amsterdam and 96th NYC Billy in purple Book Signing in NYC City overlooking Billy Idol's concert May 29, 2015 Imagine 2015 Ronnie striking a pose Ronnie, Bernadette and me at the Billy Idol concert NYC 2015 Statue of Liberty counting money in Times Square Sue and Ronnie two NYC chicks Times Square midnight WP_20150528_17_27_43_Pro WP_20150530_23_40_05_Pro WP_20150529_14_16_15_Pro WP_20150529_13_59_36_Pro WP_20150529_14_16_36_Pro WP_20150530_22_36_58_Pro WP_20150530_16_27_20_ProThat’s what I love best about the Big Apple, you never know what’s going to happen or who you are going to meet.

With one more day left of my visit, the next afternoon we strolled down to the Dakota and Strawberry Fields. It was a beautiful sunny day, and there were hundreds of people enjoying the serene surroundings of the Imagine mosaic. Proving again, that it’s all about synchronicity, I chose a bench to rest on, and all the benches have nameplates dedicated to someone by their family. I just happened to chose one of the few available benches that was dedicated to Ronnie’s friend’s nephew, Adrian, who tragically died young from a drug overdose. Ronnie doesn’t live that far from Strawberry Fields, but she never knew about the bench. It was a beautiful, yet poignant encounter that brought tears and wonder, and made me believe in the magic of New York City. Something I miss every day.

From there we made our way downtown to visit a friend who plays in a band called Too Many Lauras. They were playing later that evening, and since I was flying back home the next day, they invited us to sit in on their rehearsal. The band includes singer/songwriter, Peter Chance, who plays guitar and harmonica. Accompanied by violinist Cecil Hooker, bassist Michael Muller and Pat Robinson on accordian, their songs were beautiful, melodic and bittersweet. Including two of my favorites, “Graduation Day,” and “Carole Lombard.” Go to iTunes or CD Baby to check them out at http://cdbaby.com/cd/thenovellas.

If that wasn’t enough of a treat, Peter cracked a bottle of champagne to celebrate my new book, and took us out to dinner at La Carbonara on 14th Street. They had the most amazing lobster filled ravioli and between the food, wine and the company, it was hard to say goodbye. But the boys had to pack up and head to their performance and Ronnie and I took off for the train.

Considering it was only 10pm, when we hit 42nd Street, I dragged Ronnie off the train and told her we needed to go to Times Square for the sightseeing. Now 10pm on a Saturday night in Times Square is a movie in itself. There had to be at least 50,000 people walking around, including people dressed as super heroes, naked ladies covered only in body paint, and someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty counting their money from posing for pictures with tourists.

It also happened to be the month that New York City launched “Midnight Moment,” which was the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night for three minutes, starting at 11:57 pm. We were there to see the Andy Warhol’s Screen Test, from 1964-66. You can see it at http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/projects/midnight-moment/screen-tests-1964-66/index.aspx.

Once Andy Warhol’s exhibit was complete, we hit a few souvenir shops, popped into a karaoke bar to dance to, “Uptown Funk,” took tons of pictures, and when our feet couldn’t take it anymore, slid into a cab and headed home. I flew out the next afternoon, but not before I picked up roast beef sandwiches at Zabar’s at 81st and Broadway. All in all, it was another incredible trip. I’ve been to many cities around the world, and there is no city like New York City.

Much love and thanks to Ronnie, her son Adrian, Peter, Mike, Pat and Cecil from Too Many Lauras, and everyone at Hal Leonard/Backbeat Books. A special thanks to all those who stopped by for a signed book, a picture and a smile.

Angus and author -Razors Edge Tour 1990

Happy Birthday, Angus Young!

Angus Young turns 60 today, and — not coincidentally — today is the official pub date of the latest addition to the Backbeat Books FAQ series: AC/DC FAQ by Susan Masino. Here’s a tribute to Angus from Susan, who first met AC/DC nearly forty years ago and remains today the biggest fan of “the world’s true rock ‘n’ roll band!”

AC/DC’s diminutive schoolboy guitar player, Angus Young, turns 60 years old today, a milestone birthday for anyone, but, as Angus proved to the world with his performance on the Grammys this year, in his case at least, 60 must be the new 40.

Blazing through the single, “Rock or Bust,” from their new album of the same name, AC/DC flawlessly segued into their classic hit, “Highway To Hell,” with everyone from Katy Perry and Paul McCartney to Blake Shelton and Lady Gaga singing along. Some sporting glowing devil horns, no less!

Joining his big brother Malcolm’s band over 41 years ago, Angus used to run home from class and take off for band rehearsal still dressed in his schoolboy outfit. After trying several wardrobe options in the seventies, the band settled on jeans and black t-shirts, but Angus kept his schoolboy uniform and, armed with his trusty Gibson SG, magically became a force to be reckoned with.

Recording a brand new album in the spring of this year, appearing live on the Grammys for the first time ever, and launching a European summer tour, AC/DC showsno signs of slowing down. When they hit the United Kingdom for the first time back in 1976, a journalist marveled at Angus’ unbridled ability to play his guitar, never missing a note, while in perpetual motion. The writer remarked that seeing the then 21-year-old Angus maintain that pace once he turned 25 would be something to see. What an understatement that was!

It brings to mind one of my all-time favorite Angus Young quotes. Asked back in 1990, after turning 35, if he was getting too old to rock and roll, Angus quickly shot back, “The name’s Young, always has been, always will be.” With that sentiment in mind, I’d like to wish Angus Young the happiest of birthdays, filled with high octane rock and roll. It’s the only kind of music AC/DC will ever play, which will continue to be celebrated by millions of fans for many more birthdays to come.Angus and author -Razors Edge Tour 1990

Sue with William Shatner at Comic Con 2015

February 2015

Greetings and welcome to my new updated website! Hopefully you will find all the information you need on all 6 of my books. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. As I prepare for the launch of my new AC/DC book on March 31, I had the pleasure of going to Madison’ first Comic Con on Friday, February 6. It was the opening day, and not as crowded as the rest of the weekend. Which ended up being perfect for me, my son Jamey and his friend, Max. We watched the ribbon cutting with Mayor Paul Soglin and was able to chat a bit with William Shatner, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Mewes and Michael Rooker. It was all great fun and they couldn’t have been nicer! Luckily I was able to give them each a business card because I am shooting for writing screenplays, and you never know when I will have a part for one of them to play. Billy Dee even gave me his agent’s business card because he is always looking for a good script! Sue and Billy Dee Williams at Comic Con 2015 Sue and Mayor Paul Soglin Comic Con 2015 Sue with Jason Mewes Comic Con 2015 Sue with Michael Rooker Comic Con 2015 Sue with William Shatner at Comic Con 2015

NEWBOOK

AC/DC FAQ COMING SOON!

COMING SOON ON MARCH 31, 2015-ORDER NOW ON AMAZON!

AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DCs 40-year career, starting from the bands inception in 1973. This book covers everything from their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977. Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history. Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album, Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest-grossing tour in history. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

Due for release on March 31, 2015, you can pre-order right now at

http://www.amazon.com/AC-DC-FAQ-Worlds-Series/dp/1480394505.

For Interviews or Reviews Copies please contact Wes Seeley at wseeley@halleonard.com

AC-DC FAQ BOOK COMING SOON ON MARCH 31

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Famous Wisconsin Musicians

From Liberace and Hildegarde to Al Jarreau and Clyde Stubblefield to Butch Vig and the Violent Femmes, Wisconsin has produced an impressive array of Famous Wisconsin Musicians. Author Susan Masino has interviewed many of them and researched Internet sites and other books to profile 32 of them. The book also references hundreds more musicians with some connection to Wisconsin. Les Paul, legendary guitarist and inventor of the electric guitar, has written the foreword about his early years in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

“The new book “Famous Wisconsin Musicians” is consistently upbeat and historically informative. Madison music journalist and disc jockey Susan Masino impressively researches and documents the career stories of 32 state musicians, singers and groups, and provides more than 100 thumbnail sketches of other notable Badger music-makers. Masino gets the good story down better in her piece on legendary guitarist and instrument innovator Les Paul. She establishes a homespun tone with the tale of this gifted musical tinkerer who created one of the most popular electric guitars in history and devised the first electric amplified guitar.
With a full index, the book is an interesting read and valuable reference for anyone who cares about the local and national impact of our native musicians.” -Kevin Lynch for The Capital Times

Available On Amazon.com

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Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” is a center stage front row seat to the late seventies rock explosion seen through the eyes of rock journalist/radio host, Susan Masino. As associate editor of the Wisconsin music newspaper, The Emerald City Chronicle, Susan interviewed,worked and partied with dozens of bands including Kiss, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Leslie West and Ted Nugent.“Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” also follows AC/DC’s rise to international fame from their first American tour in 1977 to the release of their 1980 tribute album to Bon Scott, Back In Black. Through her three year relationship with AC/DC roadie, Barry Taylor, she received dozens of phone calls and over thirty letters and postcards following their struggles from the inside-forging a bond with the band that still exists today. “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” also features over sixty rock photos including AC/DC, Van Halen, Kiss, Todd Rundgren, David Bowie,Ted Nugent, and some never before published.

“For anyone interested in first hand stories about bands like AC/DC, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, Cheap Trick (and many others) this is a must-have book! Tons of rare photos and interesting stories from rock journalist Susan Masino. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in reading about all the “behind the scenes” stories about some of the greatest bands ever. Excellent! Couldn’t stop reading it once I started!” -Fan Review on Amazon

Available On Amazon.com

Now available on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Fantasy-My-Times-Halen-ebook/dp/B005USZLSS/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1390100067&sr=8-13&keywords=Susan+Masino