Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

There have been some developments regarding the Alice in Chains project I’ve been working on for nearly two years. I recently signed a deal with a publisher. Here’s the official announcement, it ran in Publisher’s Marketplace yesterday (it’s behind a paywall, text is pasted below):

July 9, 2013

Pop Culture
Journalist David de Sola’s TOUCH ON THE DARK, the first and only biography on the band Alice In Chains, promising countless never-before reported stories on the band with exclusive access to producers, journalists, musicians, and many others who have never gone on the record about their time working with the band, to Rob Kirkpatrick at Thomas Dunne Books, by Anthony Mattero at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).

In the meantime, work on the project continues. We are hoping for a late 2014/early 2015 release.

You can read some of my previous reporting on Alice in Chains here, here and here. All of this will be covered in greater depth in the book.

Update: For visitors who have questions about me, I would recommend they read about my background and look at some of my previous work from over the years.
Even though it’s completely unrelated to Alice in Chains, if you want a general idea of how I’m writing the book, I would recommend reading The Man Who Volunteered for Auschwitz.

Priceless find in one of my drawers: a program for a @UNICEF awards show I went to in Amsterdam when I was 13, signed by the late great Audrey Hepburn.


2011 Update: I found this unpublished draft of my review of GNR’s “Chinese Democracy” album sitting in my WordPress posts, originally written in 2008 but never published for reasons I’ve since forgotten. I’ve tweaked it a little for clarity, but the fundamental editorial points remain unchanged.


So it looks like hell finally froze over and Axl Rose finally released the much anticipated Chinese Democracy, which has been in the works for well over a decade.

One of the sources of friction between Axl and the rest of the original Guns lineup, besides the fact that by the end of their heyday, he owned the name and the rights to the band exclusively and could hire and fire people at his will, was musical direction. Axl was very much influenced by industrial music (listen to the Use Your Illusion II track “My World”), particularly Nine Inch Nails (historical irony: one of NIN’s early breaks was as the opening act for Guns n’ Roses and Skid Row during a European tour back in 1991) and that influence is abundant on Chinese Democracy.

Thankfully I didn’t have waste time or money buying or downloading the record, but it’s still an hour of my life I’ll never get back again. The guitars and vocals, which were the driving force of every previous Guns n’ Roses record, are an absolute mess. It’s not that the musicianship is bad or amateurish. It is high quality production and technically proficient, but there’s no attitude or groove to any of it. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke gave it a rave review recently. I read it and am left wondering whether he and I listened to the same record.

I remember reading an interview with Slash ages ago where he said something to the effect of, “I thought The Fragile was an amazing record, but I wouldn’t want to make it.” The bottom line here is Axl tried to make a Nine Inch Nails record and failed. Call it whatever you want, but don’t call it Guns n’ Roses.

Jack Is Back

Posted: November 28, 2008 in Pop Culture, TV
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Jack Bauer is back, albeit only for a 2-hour TV movie prequel for the upcoming season of 24 scheduled to begin in January. I’m stoked about this because it’s the first new episode in nearly a year and a half, since the writer’s strike last fall led to the season’s cancellation. This isn’t a full-fledged new season, but it’s a good teaser of things to come: Jack on the run, a new female President of the United States is sworn in, and a new villain in a very high place.

“24: Redemption” sticks to the multilayered real-time dramatic narrative format that has made the show such a success. But they did something different here, which I think is a refreshing change: they moved the action in the show out of Los Angeles (according to the credits, the episode was shot in Cape Town, South Africa and Los Angeles). While during most seasons the action goes back and forth between LA and Washington, this time around Jack is living in hiding in a fictitious African country on the brink of war, helping out a friend who runs a UN and State Department-funded school for young boys.

Without getting into specifics, the show takes a turn into contemporary and historical events, doing its own take on elements from the movie Blood Diamond and the U.S. embassy evacuation of Phnom Penh and Saigon in 1975. How all of this is going to tie into the new season I have no idea, but it’s definitely good for the show to change the scenery from Washington and Los Angeles, as it expands the range of subjects, characters, and issues that can be worked into the plot.

January can’t come fast enough.


The lobbying blitz for awards season has begun in the movie industry. I think that while nominations or wins for Best Picture and Best Director (for Christopher Nolan) would do a lot to acknowledge the quality and the impact of “The Dark Knight”, the one that really matters – for fans of the movie, the crew, and the industry at large – will be whether Heath Ledger gets Best Supporting Actor for his showstopping interpretation of the Joker. This is probably the most dominant individual performance I’ve seen in a film in years where the character steals the show in every scene he’s in. The only other one that comes to mind from the past two decades is Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs.

Sleeping With the Fishes

Posted: October 1, 2007 in Humor, Movies, Pop Culture

Exhibit A in how to kill your career before it even took off:

Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg is threatening to axe scenes starring actor Tyler Nelson in the upcoming Indiana Jones movie after he leaked the plot line to an Oklahoma newspaper. Upcoming star Nelson, 24, was so excited about landing a role alongside Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, he revealed the plot and every major scene to local paper, the Edmond Sun. And now Spielberg is considering cutting all scenes featuring Nelson from the film following his betrayal. A spokesman for Spielberg says, “Who knows if he’s ever going to work in town again?” The new Indiana Jones movie has been shrouded in secrecy since filming began earlier this year. The title of the sequel was only made public by actor Shia LaBeouf at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas on September 9.


Paris Ordered to Serve 45 Days in Jail

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in L.A. County jail for violating her probation in a reckless driving case. Judge Michael T. Sauer handed down the harsh sentence, telling Paris she will not be allowed work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail. She must do the time!

The next season of the Simple Life, perhaps? Nicole Richie needs to get busted on some charge and get thrown in jail to be Paris’s cellmate.