Babes in Toyland by Neal Karlen
The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band

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Synopsis

Babes in Toyland is a rare peek into the glamorous and tough world of rock and roll—an exclusive backstage pass for anyone who has ever fantasized about starting a band, being discovered by a major label, recording an album, and touring the country to play music in front of thousands. Also, with its revealing look at the record business—an industry that makes the rest of show business seem positively tame—this book is as immediate as a new issue of Rolling Stone, as colorful as a good mystery, and as tart and explosive as a top-ten hit.
 
Told with the gritty, up-close feel of a behind-the-scenes documentary film, this is the story of three young women who wanted to play rock and roll like the boys. It follows their coming together in the underground grunge-rock scene in Minneapolis, their early club days, and their discovery by Warner Bros. Records. It tracks their dramatic breakup (and reconfiguration), goes through the often funny, sometimes inspiring, and always emotional recording sessions for their album Fontanelle, and goes stage-side as they film their all-important video for MTV. Veteran journalist Neal Karlen was given unprecedented access to Warners marketing and strategy meetings, where he observed firsthand the star-making machinery that runs the pop music business. From punk rockers in the mosh pit to rock stars in mansions, Babes in Toyland contains revealing snapshots of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, as well as Beavis and Butt-head, today's most powerful rock critics.
 
Center-stage in this story are the members of Babes in Toyland: Kat Bjelland, the punk-rock poetess who'd dreamed of being a star since she was five years old; Lori Barbero, the dreadlocked drummer and band mother who was best friend to everybody in the alternative music scene; and Maureen Herman, the brainy bassist who struggled to fit in with the group. There's also Tim Carr, the Warner Bros. A & R man who saw in the Babes the talent and drive to make it to the top of the grunge scene. Finally, there's Babes in Toyland's triumphant spot on the 1993 Lollapalooza, the most prestigious tour in rock and roll. In this real-life version of The Commitments, readers will also see how success can do more to damage a band of best friends than failure.
 

About Neal Karlen

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Neal Karlen, who has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, is the author or co-author of six books.
 
Published July 24, 2013 by Crown. 8 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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A tour of the contemporary pop music industry with one of America's most promising new bands, whose three members happen to be women.

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Publishers Weekly

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Minneapolis grunge rockers Babes in Toyland are neither famous nor critically acclaimed, which is why rock journalist Karlen chose them as subjects for this profile of the day-to-day life and career trajectory of a young band whose fate remains uncertain.

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