On January 17, 2013, Alex launched his book at a release party and concert at Tammany Hall in New York. The evening included readings by Alex from his book and readings from author Bradford Morrow‘s upcoming book by actor Sean Dugan accompanied by solo guitar performances by Alex. As well, musical performances by Planetary Coalition, and an all-star jam with various artists covered a wide range of genres from Jazz, Metal, Rock and World music. Here are some videos from the event. More to follow.
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This video is a reading from the chapter “Enter the Guitar” where Alex as a young introverted boy discovers something that will change his life forever.
Alex Skolnick sings the blues in “Red House.”
From the chapter, “Escape from Berkeley”: “Some musicians apply their angst to the form of music named after an emotional state known as “the blues.” I certainly felt the blues. As I got older, I would listen to the blues heartily—BB King, John Lee Hooker, Freddy King, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins…I’d connect with the feelings expressed. It would make me feel a bit better, as though I wasn’t alone. Naturally, this affected how I’d approached guitar (to this day, there is a connection to the blues in the way I play certain notes and phrases). But I wasn’t growing up in Chicago, Texas or some other blues town. I was growing up in the Bay Area.
I would take my “blues” and put it into heavy metal lead guitar.”
Planetary Coalition plays “Islands in the Sky” – inspired by a writing by Bradford Morrow
From the chapter, “People Are Strange.” An excerpt:
“Music was the first thing that had actually made sense to me, adding meaning and logic to an otherwise very strange existence. What, you might ask, was so strange about it?
Let’s take a look:
Berkeley, 1974. Cars and vans drive by spray painted with peace signs, clouds and other psychedelic decor. Panhandlers stand left and right, and streets are full of vendors selling drug paraphernalia, homemade jewelry, signs, banners, incense, bumper stickers and tie-die. Everyone wants a buck, everyone has a cause:
“Save the whales! No more nukes! Spare change for a beer!”
A couple of the kooks out here are particularly memorable. There’s the “Ashby Bum,” covered in soot, with a long scraggily beard and a tattered suit. He wanders up and down Ashby Avenue in a haze—like a cartoon character that just walked out of an explosion. Then there is the “Orange Man.” He has wild red hair, a red beard and is seen all over Berkeley, a clear plastic bag in his hand with four oranges, the other hand out for spare change. “Drink four glasses of orange juice a day, okay?” he says to everyone within earshot. Then there is this short fat clown with curly rainbow-colored hair. He is always on campus passing out leaflets for some cause or another. A key figure at such seminal ’60s events such as the Merry Prankster movement and Woodstock, he will one day be immortalized by a couple of hippie entrepreneurs named Ben and Jerry in the form of an ice cream flavor bearing his name: Wavy Gravy.
As my father would carry me through the streets of Berkeley in one of those baby-backpacks, I’d experience a case of sensory overload and promptly throw up all over his neck. Somehow, I was supposed to accept that all this was normal.
What kind of people would choose to raise a family in an environment like this—where the streets were a veritable carnival of the bizarre? Where the public school they’d send me to was named after the leader of a controversial black power organization with a Jew hating fringe? And where the babysitter they’d hired to watch me would wind up dead in a police raid, the result of her affiliation with radical left wing revolutionists?
Reading this so far, you might get the impression that I was raised by hippies. Although my parents shared some overlapping political beliefs with the hippies, all similarities ended there. Would you believe it if I told you they were Ivy League scholars?”
 Malcolm X Elementary School. Malcolm X once led the Nation of Islam.
 The Symbionese Liberation Army—the same group responsible for the crime of the decade: the kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst.
Mike Marco singing “People Are Strange”
One of the special guests at the jam session included the amazing singer/actress Adrienne “Lefon” Warren. Check her out!
In the early part of the evening, writer Bradford Morrow introduced “his brother from another mother” Alex – and the literature-music collaboration he is doing with him on his upcoming project “The Bestiary” along with actor Sean Dugan. Videos of those readings along with Alex’s solo guitar soundscapes will be posted on this site soon.
Stay tuned! More to come from an evening of literature, music and madness!
To get your copy of the book today go here