February 27, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Music

Frank Turner book tour dates announced

Frank Turner’s brilliant tour memoir, The Road Beneath My Feet, is published on March 26th, and he’s heading out on a UK tour to support it.

The tour will see Frank visit Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool for special events organised alongside PledgeMusic, plus a London event presented in conjunction with Waterstones. These will feature Frank reading extracts from the book; Q&As with rock journalist and author Ian Winwood; questions from the floor and a smattering of songs from his extensive catalogue. Frank will also be visiting Edinburgh, Coventry and Leeds for daytime signing events, so there are plenty of chances to see the singer and songwriter in a city near you.

Full details are on the poster below, and just click the links underneath for more info and to book your tickets. See you there!


For more info on the Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool dates, and to book tickets, visit PLEDGE MUSIC

And to buy your ticket for the London event at Cecil Sharp House in Camden, CLICK HERE

FRANK-3dThe Road Beneath My Feet is published on March 26th in hardback and ebook

A searingly honest and brilliantly written account of Frank Turner’s journey from the pub circuit to selling out Wembley Arena


February 18, 2015, Posted by Richard in Culture, Music

5 Popstar Children’s Books We’d Like To See (or not)

Not content with collaborating with feminist hero and all round good-guy Robin Thicke, it seems Pharrell Williams has inked a publishing deal to write books based on his smash-hit, ‘Happy’.

With that in mind (and because we are shamelessly fond of puns and photoshopping), here are five popstar kids’ books we’d like to see (or not)…


1. The Very Angry Caterpillar  by Morrissey

One Sunday morning the warm sun came out and – pop! – out of the egg came a very misanthropic Mancunian…

james 2. James . . . and their Giant Peach

All siddown, all siddown, siddown on this massive peach…


3. Five go off to start a boyband



4. Alice Cooper’s Adventures in Wonderland

Golfer and amateur popstar Alice Cooper freaks the sh*t out of the Mad Hatter et al.


5. The Shock of The Fall

…is that Mark E. Smith, The Fall’s notoriously grumpy frontman, is still going after 367 albums. Here he offers no-nonsense, belligerent advice for growing up.


February 11, 2015, Posted by Richard in Culture, Music

Elbow: Our Ultimate Playlist – 20 songs to make your heart swell

We saw another masterclass from the chaps in Elbow last night at the Hammersmith Apollo. Garvey was at his bearded, Guinness-supping, sparkly-eyed best, and old and new tunes were chucked about with gleeful abandon. NEW BORN for god’s sake – NEW BORN! Never thought we’d see the day. So in tribute, we’ve put together 20 of our favourite Elbow tracks into a handy little playlist.

Feast your ears upon it, and let us know any songs which you feel we’ve scandalously failed to include…

February 11, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Music

Motherless Child: new Eric Clapton biography out this March

With Eric Clapton hitting the big seven zero this year, it seems the time is right for someone to write a definitive biography of this rock legend and guitar god. Rather luckily, renowned music journalist Paul Scott has done just that, and the result is the brilliant Motherless Child.

Publishing two weeks before Eric’s 70th birthday, it charts his amazing career from the 1960s to now, taking in Cream, The Yardbirds, his impressive solo work and the impacts that his fame and fortune have had on his personal life. It gets quite serious, looking at his battles with drink and drunks, his failed marriage to model Pattie Boyd, and the pretty shocking news he discovered when he was just nine years old: that the woman he thought was his sister was in fact his mother, and that the couple he thought were his parents were his maternal grandparents.

Now in his sixth decade in the music business, Clapton has sold over 75 million records worldwide, is the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is a true global icon. For his millions of fans, Motherless Child promises to be an essential read.

motherless child

Motherless Child: The Definitive Biography of Eric Clapton by Paul Scott is published March 12th 2015 in hardback and ebook

January 23, 2015, Posted by Richard in Culture, Music

SENTIMENTAL POST ALERT: Songs for a new dad

You may have seen us tweet that our good friend, colleague and winner of ‘Best Baby in Barnet, 1987′, Beau Merchant, has recently become a dad. We thought a nice little celebration would be to find some tunes written for new nippers, and pop them into a playlist. 

So with tunes from Talking Heads, Elbow, Bowie and many more – here are some songs for a new dad. Now pass us a tissue, we’ve got something in our eye…

Give the playlist a listen:

Here’s to Beau, Jo and little baby Albie!

January 19, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Music

Frank Turner book cover revealed

Frank Turner has written a book. That’s right, the hardcore folk punk hero’s new book, The Road Beneath My Feet, will be published on March 20th.

Told through his tour reminiscences, this is a blisteringly honest story of Frank’s career from the drug-fuelled house parties and grimy club scene to filling out arenas, fans roaring every word back at him. But more than that, it is an intimate account of what it’s like to spend your life constantly on the road, sleeping on floors, invariably jetlagged, all for the love of playing live music.

The cover has now been revealed, and what a cracker it is…

Frank Turner Book

The Road Beneath My Feet is published on March 26th.

January 12, 2015, Posted by Tom in Culture, Music

5 Classic Johnny Marr riffs

As one of the most influential guitar players in music history, Johnny Marr is a music icon. From The Smiths to Electronic, The Cribs to Modest Mouse, The The through to his recent solo albums – basically every time he picks up a guitar, something good happens. So we thought we’d celebrate that fact.

We’ve taken on the impossible task of picking out just a few of his classic riffs. Don’t get mad if your favourite isn’t on there…

5 classic Johnny Marr riffs

The Smiths – ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’: A Smiths classic and the lead single from their hugely influential third album, 1986’s The Queen is Dead.

Modest Mouse – ‘Dashboard’: One of the highlights from his three-year spell with Washington band Modest Mouse, written on the very first day they started collaborating.

The Cribs – ‘We Share The Same Skies’: Wakefield’s finest + Johnny Marr = gold, as he became the honorary 4th Jarman in the band of brothers. This is just one of the top tunes from the one album they made together, Ignore the Ignorant.

Johnny Marr – ‘The Messenger’: Rather unbelievably, it took until 2013 for Marr to strike out on his own and release a solo album. When he did, with The Messenger, it was well worth the wait. 2014’s Playland is possibly even better.

The Smiths – ‘This Charming Man’: Perhaps the ultimate Johnny Marr riff. There’s not else much to say except grab some chrysanthemums and press play.

Johnny Marr will appear on the closing track of Noel Gallagher’s new album, Chasing Yesterday. Watch the video for their collaboration, ‘Ballad the Mighty I’, here. It’s superb.


December 12, 2014, Posted by Tom in Culture, Music

The 2014 soundtrack: the best songs of the year

Apparently, Mr Probz, Sam Smith and Ariana Grande (feat Iggy Azalea) have had some of the biggest streaming songs of 2014. And we love all of those. However, we thought we sould pick out some more songs that we’ve enjoyed this year.

From the return of Interpol to the first solo effort from Britpop legend Damon Albarn, via classy new albums from the likes of Wild Beasts and The Antlers and the news that vinyl sales are at an 18-year high, it’s not been a bad year for music overall.

So, without further ado, here is the official Men Who Stare At Books 2014 playlist – our pick of the best songs of the year:

And if having the tunes isn’t quite enough, here are some cool videos…



 If we’ve missed any big tracks, let us know: @StareAtBooks