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Moguls and Madmen: The pursuit of power in popular music

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Moguls and Madmen: The Pursuit of Power in Popular Music

Current Status:
In Season
Jory Farr

We gave it a D

Despite the author’s explicit statement of purpose — ”for all the musicians…who want to know what they’re up against” — the point of this book is never entirely clear. Eight short profiles (well, they’re not exactly profiles, they’re kind of interviews, but they’re also kind of biographies, and kind of hatchet jobs as well) of major ”players” in the music business, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The subjects range from Jerry Heller and Eazy-E of rap’s Ruthless Records to Tony Brown of MCA Nashville, Jimmy Bowen of Liberty Records, and Tom Zutaut of Geffen. The tone is alternately condescending and derisive (Farr seems to feel that the music men have sapped most of the creative energy and meaning from contemporary music); the pieces are bad parodies of interviews in Rolling Stone. It’s possible that the author aimed for an exposé, although of what, it’s hard to tell. It’s also possible that aspiring musicians may want to read Moguls and Madmen: The Pursuit of Power in Popular Music, but they won’t be much better off for having done so. Since when did knowing somebody wasn’t a really nice or genuine guy put anyone off, particularly when that somebody told them they were going to become rich and famous? D