Ringo: With a Little Help

Ringo: With a Little Help

 by Michael Seth Starr


The first book to cover the entire arc of Ringo Starr’s life and career, from his birth in Liverpool to the present day.

Ringo: With a Little Help (July 2015, Backbeat Books, $32.99) by Michael Seth Starr is the first in-depth biography of Ringo Starr, the drummer who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon more fifty years after the Beatles took the world by storm.

Born in 1940 as Richard Starkey in the Dingle, one of Liverpool’s most gritty, rough-and-tumble neighborhoods, he rose from a hardscrabble childhood – marked by serious illnesses, long hospital stays, and little schooling – to emerge, against all odds, as a locally renowned drummer. Taking the stage name Ringo Starr, his big break with the Beatles rocketed him to the pinnacle of worldwide acclaim in a remarkably short time.

Several years into Beatlemania, Ringo is quoted as saying, “I’m here because it happened, but I didn’t do anything to make it happen apart from saying ‘Yes.’”

He was the last member of the Beatles to join the group and also the most vulnerable, and his post-Beatles career was marked by chart-topping successes, a jet-setting life of excess and alcohol abuse, and, ultimately, his rebirth as a clean-living children’s television star and one of rock’s most revered elder statesman.

Longtime E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, who along with fellow drumming icons Phil Collins, John Densmore, and Kenny Aranoff, is featured in the book’s epilogue, wrote, “More than any other drummer, Ringo Starr changed my life. Ringo’s beat was heard around the world, and he drew the spotlight toward rock & roll drumming.”

Ringo: With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo’s remarkable life and career and, in time for his 75th birthday, paints the most vivid picture yet of the most famous drummer the world has ever known.

6.0″ x 9.0″
442 pages
Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Michael Seth Starr is the TV editor for the New York Post, where he has written about television for the past 20 years.  He is a native of northern New Jersey, and has authored biographies of Peter Sellers, Art Carney, Joey Bishop, Bobby Darin, Raymond Burr, and Redd Foxx. Unlike Ringo, he was born with the last name Starr; they are not related. He lives in northern New Jersey.


Reviews for Ringo: With a Little Help

“This in-depth bio of the overshadowed Beatle reminds us how crucial he was to their success.” – People

“Until Ringo pens his memoirs (if he ever does), this biography will serve as the most complete and up-to-date telling of his life story. For fans of all things Beatles and rock star biographies.” – Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY, Library Journal

Ringo: With a Little Help is clearly the definitive biography of one of the most famous musicians – or, heck, people – of the last century (though author Starr could not get subject Starr to participate). And, while he did get help along the way, Richard Starkey richly deserves this solid literary treatment.” – Houston Chronicle

The Richard Wesley Play Anthology

The Richard Wesley
Play Anthology

 by Richard Wesley


The Richard Wesley Play Anthology (August 2015, Applause Books, $19.99) includes five full-length plays that collectively outline a cultural history of black America in the post-Civil Rights era, from the late 20th century through the first decades of the 21st.

Black Terror looks at the radical politics of the Black Power era; The Sirens, the destabilization of black familial and social life in the early 1970s; The Mighty Gents, the destructiveness of “black macho” in the late 1970s; The Talented Tenth, the midlife crisis and the end of idealism in the black middle class in the early 1980s; and Autumn, the new generational paradigm in black urban politics in the early 21st century.

Each of the plays included in The Richard Wesley Play Anthology was born out of the idea of the public thinker, and what Arthur Miller would refer to as the importance of an individual conscience – as well as the belief that each generation must give back, must inform and inspire the generation that follows. It also features an introduction by the playwright that addresses the emergence, growth and evolution of black consciousness and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, and serves as a chronicle of Wesley’s artistic evolution as a writer who was both a witness and a foot soldier during those turbulent times.

As Wesley writes in his introduction, “The Stage should be seen as a laboratory where the belief systems, the mores, the myths, the histories and strivings of a people may be presented in full dimension, so that audiences might judge for themselves what is right, what is wrong, what needs to be changed, and what needs to be left alone.

5.0″ x 8.25″
328 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Richard Wesley was born in Newark, N.J. he has been produced as a playwright, screenwriter, and writer for television. He is a past winner of an Audelco Award, a Drama Desk Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. He is currently associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He lives in Montclair, N.J.


The Best American Short Plays, 2013-2104

Best American Short Plays


 by William W. Demastes


MONTCLAIR, N.J. – For more than 70 years, The Best American Short Plays has been the standard of excellence for one-act plays in America. From its inception, it has identified cutting-edge playwrights who have gone on to establish award-winning careers, including Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and more.

In The Best American Short Plays: 2013-2014 (August 2015, Applause Books, $19.99), series editor William W. Demastes has chosen plays that look at our changing times, keying in on reflections about relational difficulties that in many ways are at the heart of all that is right and wrong with the world.

Opening this volume is a series of plays produced in a single New York City venue – the Nuyorican Poets Café – appropriately entitled Nine Signs of the Times, produced by Daniel Gallant. Another collection of plays follows, entitled Summer Voices 2014, performed at the Stage Door Repertory Theatre in Anaheim, Calif. Smart and inventive, these collections capture the spirit of the times, some embracing the unknown future by looking forward, others embracing the times by reflecting upon the past.

The collections are complemented by a range of plays from around the country by playwrights likewise observing and digesting the signs of the times. Together the plays collected in The Best American Short Plays: 2013-2014 work as a time capsule for this uncertain world during these uncertain times, capturing the fears and longings of a world on the verge and in the midst of big changes.

The 26 plays included in The Best American Short Plays: 2013-2014 are:

Johnny & Rosie by Quincy Long

The Wet Echo by Clay McLeod Chapman

This Side of New York by Caridad Svich

Alt-Visions, Kiss Before Clouding by Daniel F. Levin

I Didn’t Want a Mastodon by Halley Feiffer

iBaby by Laura Shaine Cunningham

Diminished Then Augmented by Daniel Gallant

Old Boyfriend by Neil LeBlute

Between by John Guare

A Match by John Bolen

And Baby Makes Four by Frank Farmer

Angel at My Door by John Franceschini

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Lynne Bolen

Journeys by Austin Peay

Variations on a Composition in Blue by Anne V. Grob

Let Rise by I.B. Hopkins

Goodnight Lovin’ Trail by John Patrick Bray

Fractaland by Andrea Sloan Pink

Right Sensation by Rich Orloff

Ski Lift by Chris Holbrook

A Long Trip by Dan McGeehan

Actor by Joe Maruzzo

Irish Stew by Cary Pepper

Last Call by Weldon Pless

Daffodils by Daniel Guyton

March Madness—Shhhhhh! By Jules Tasca

William W. Demastes
is alumni professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He has published widely on modern theater and drama, including three previous editions of The Best American Short Plays, and three volumes of Best Monologues from Best American Short Plays, published by Applause Books, and Spalding Gray’s America, published by Limelight Editions. He lives in Baton Rouge, La.

August 18, 2015       $19.99         Paperback Original      9781480395480
384 pages       5.5
x 8.5
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation



Electronic Dance Music Grooves

Electronic Dance Music Grooves:
House, Techno, Hip-Hop, Dubstep, and More!

A wealth of samples, drum kits, and more to find incredible grooves and learn how to create your own


Montclair, NJ – June 30, 2015 – Hal Leonard has published Electronic Dance Music Grooves. This new Quick Pro Guide provides creative insights to understand how to build exciting, powerful, and compelling EDM grooves.

Ableton Live Certified Trainer, and noted EDM performer Josh Bess helps readers take their skills to the next level with an extremely efficient and intelligent groove-making system for techno, trance, dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass, garage, trap, or hip-hop music.

Accompanying each groove, fill, and transition is a MIDI map, designed to make it simple to use the included grooves and samples with virtually any modern DAW. Whether your preferred DAW is Ableton Live, Reason, Pro Tools, Logic, or almost any of the other popular music production and performance software applications, you’ll quickly be equipped to incorporate these grooves and samples into your own creative workflow.

Electronic Dance Music Grooves includes over 300 professional-quality drum and effects samples, more than 300 drum grooves and MIDI files, 17 Ableton Live Drum Racks, and much more, all provided to support creativity and EDM production. Samples and sessions are delivered online to provide access to all of the content, whether you’re using a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

About the Author:
JOSH BESS is a percussionist, electronic performing artist, and Ableton Certified Trainer. Performing with multiple artists and employing a wide variety of styles, he is experienced in jazz, funk, Latin, pop, rock, and more. In addition to performing, Bess developed an interest in music production and went on to earn his college degree in audio engineering and jazz commercial performance. He has fused his knowledge and his ear for audio production with his percussive background to develop an efficient and creative electronic workflow—a combination that he regularly puts to work in his compositions and live performances. For more information, visit http://www.joshbess.net.

Electronic Dance Music Grooves

$24.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00128989
ISBN: 9781480393769
Width: 8.37″, length: 11.0″, 264 pages00128989

Boutique Acoustics

Boutique Acoutics

180 Years of Handbuilt American Guitars

 by Michael John Simmons


Discerning guitarists know that solo luthiers and small workshops are currently building some of the finest acoustic guitars ever made. Boutique Acoustics tells the story of how America’s crop of talented luthiers came to create guitars that rival the legendary instruments of the 1930s an 1940s from builders like Martin, Gibson, and the Larson brothers, as well as a number of more obscure guitar makers who all have played a key part in the evolution of the instrument.

Boutique Acoustics starts in 1833 with C.F. Martin, Sr., the first known luthier in America, and the classical guitars he learned to build in Vienna under the tutelage of Johann Stauffer. From there, the book follows the story of how a gut-strung Austrian classical guitar developed into the modern steel-string flattop guitar with the help of Spanish luthiers, Hawaiian steel guitarists and Italian mandolin players.

Boutique Acoustics also explains how unusual 19th century inventions like the harp guitar and the 12-string influenced the development of the modern six-string guitar, and it covers the birth of the steel-string, the rise of small factories, the advent of “one-man shops,” the origins of various trends in guitar construction – the design of cutaways; the use of a variety of woods, polishes, and other aesthetic detailing; and the incorporation of high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber and Nomex.

Current luthiers such as Ervin Somogyi, Charles Fox, Jeff Traugott, Michihiro Matsuda, and Kathy Wingert are covered, and so are the pioneers of modern guitar-making, including Michael Gurian, J.W. Gallagher, Stuart Mossman, Nick Kukich, the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and Roy Noble. The Book also explores important but now obscure builders like Gower, NBN, and Max Krimmel.

Included in this lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive guide to every significant US maker, descriptions of the most popular styles, and a detailed reference section about boutique guitar models.

8.5″ x 11″
144 pages
Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Michael John Simmons started playing electric guitar in punk bands as a teenager before he was converted to acoustic music by a rabid Djano Reinhardt fan. He spent 15 years working at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California, where he learned more about the construction and history of ukuleles, guitars, mandolins, and banjos than was good for him. Simons is a former review editor at Fiddler Magazine and a former contribution editor at Acoustic Guitar. He is the author of Taylor Guitars: 30 Years of A New American Classic and the co-author of Acoustic Guitar: An Historical Look At The Composition, Construction, And Evolution Of One Of The Worlds’ Most Beloved Instruments. He is the co-founder, along with Jason Verlinde, of The Fretboard Journal and The Ukulele Occasional magazines.

Gretsch, Sg cover

Unlocking Creativity

Unlocking Creativity:
A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art

 by Michael Beinhorn

The creative motivation and intent behind the choices of great producers


Music is one of life’s greatest experiences and producing great music is often a complex process which can involve everything from various technical requirements to human nature. Navigating and understanding the creative process of record production, from inception to completion is the subject of the new book Unlocking Creativity: A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art, written by record producer Michael Beinhorn.

Grammy Award nominee Beinhorn shares unique methods and perspective about record producing and music making in the studio that open the door to successful collaboration. This approach is especially valuable because it is trans-disciplinary and can be applied to many occupations and modes of creativity outside of record production.

Unlocking Creativity explores how to help creative artists to commit emotionally to their own work, to help them truly invest in their creative process, and to outline an ethical and holistic approach to record making. “Few thrills are greater than participating in a project where an artist surpasses her own expectations,” says Beinhorn. He explains what the creative process feels like and how creativity can be experienced as a sensory experience, involving the conscious mind, the unconscious, and the physical body.

The situations and solutions presented in the book are based upon the author’s personal and professional experience working with a variety of different artists, such as Herbie Hancock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soul Asylum, Hole, Soundgarden, Ozzy Osbourne, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Social Distortion, Korn, and Mew.

There are many articles and books that feature people talking about what microphones they used when they recorded a specific record, or how they set their stereo bus compressor, but what prompted them to make these choices is largely uncharted territory. Unlocking Creativity goes beyond the technical aspects and shows the readers the creative intent and motivation that drive the decisions of great producers.


5.5″ x 7.75″
285 pages
Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Michael Beinhorn‘s career as a record producer spans more than thirty years. He has worked with a diverse range of artists, from Herbie Hancock to Soundgarden to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in many cases producing these artists “career” recordings. He lives in Los Angeles.


Men’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny

Men’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny

 by Alisha Gaddis


As humorist and writer Alisha Gaddis explains it, this is how the process goes. “You have an audition. One where you are supposed to be funny. Really funny. They want you to actually make them laugh . . . in an audition. And you want to be funny, so funny you book the job, land the part, steal the show!”

But, you can’t do that without a comedic monologue, and that’s where this book steps in. Never before has a monologue book been written completely by people who are actually funny for a living.

In Men’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (July 2014, Applause Books, $14.99), Gaddis has gathered an incredibly hysterical, cutting-edge collection of monologues that will give an actor the extra bang he needs to land the perfect comedic role. Men’s Comedic Monolgues features more than 70 monologues by writers and comics who have written for or performed on EllenThe Tonight ShowLast Comic Standing, Comedy Central Stage, Funny or Die, the Groundlings, Second City, and many more.

This book is the answer to the comedic monologue needs of male actors everywhere!

5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″
248 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Alisha Gaddis is a humorist, writer, and Latin-Grammy-winning performer. She is a proud AEA and SAG-AFTRA member, having performed on Broadway, at the Sydney Opera House, Comedy Central Stage, and numerous television shows. She is the co-founder (along with her husband) of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, which has been called “the face of kindie music” by The Washington Post. An alumna of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of Arts, she performs comedy, including her nationally touring solo shows, at Improv West, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City Hollywood. Gaddis lives in Los Angeles.


Women’s Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (9781480360426)
Teen Boys’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny  (9781480396791) – July 2015
Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (9781480396807) – Dec. 2015 00130770

John Lennon’s Long Lost 1962 Gibson Acoustic Guitar Revealed in Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition

John Lennon’s Long Lost 1962 Gibson Acoustic Guitar Revealed in Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition

Rare guitar expert and author Andy Babiuk recently identified the historically important guitar of The Beatles

A rare guitar find has dominated recent headlines and captured the imagination of Beatles fans all over the world. John Lennon’s original 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic guitar, a significant instrument in the history of The Beatles, had been lost for over 50 years. The guitar has recently been identified and is featured in Andy Babiuk’s new book due out this fall, Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition, published by Backbeat Books.

Babiuk, the leading authority on equipment used by The Beatles, was contacted earlier this year by John McCaw regarding an old J-160E that he owns. “I get calls and email all the time from people telling me that they think they have an instrument owned by The Beatles and 99% of the time it’s nothing,” said Babiuk. “But there was something about McCaw’s story that was intriguing.”

Upon a physical examination of the guitar, Babiuk was able to match the wood grain in the guitar’s spruce top to photos of Lennon playing a J-160E guitar with The Beatles in the early 60’s. “Wood grain is like a fingerprint, no two are the same, and without a doubt it is a match,” he said.

“It’s one of the most important of all Lennon’s guitars, as he used this J-160E to write some of The Beatles’ biggest hits, and played the guitar on countless live performances and on many Beatle recordings,” he adds. “It is one of the most historically important guitars to ever come up for auction.”

Babiuk reveals details about John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E in his new book, Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition. Since this is a find of historic proportions, the book’s publisher, Backbeat Books, decided to feature the guitar on the cover of the revised and expanded edition of this best-seller.

Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition will be available on October 27, 2015. A tome with more than 500 pages, the book will provide new insights about the gear the Fab Four embraced throughout their brief but revolutionary career, from their earliest days as The Quarrymen to the dissolution of The Beatles in 1970. John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s moves from cheap early instruments to the pick of 1960s technology are carefully and entertainingly documented in an easy-to-read narrative, fully illustrated with many previously unseen photographs, a cache of rare memorabilia, and a unique collection of specially photographed instruments used by the Beatles.

John McCaw the current owner has consigned the historically significant guitar to Julien’s Auctions, the world’s premier entertainment and music memorabilia auction house, which will offer the Lennon J-160E for sale this November 6th and 7th at their annual icons & idols: Rock “n” Roll auction in their Beverly Hill Gallery. In an exclusive small engagement, the guitar will go on display prior to the auction at The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, from June 13-29 for the opening of The GRAMMY Museum® and Fab Four Exhibits Ladies & Gentlemen…The Beatles Exhibition! It will then be displayed at the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles from July 2-September 7, 2015 and at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills from November 2-6, 2015.

About the author of Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition

Andy Babiuk is a musician, author, consultant, and owner of the boutique music shop Andy Babiuk’s Fab Gear in Fairport, New York. He is a founding member and bassist of the super-group, The Empty Hearts (est. 2014) featuring Elliot Easton of The Cars; Clem Burke of Blondie and Wally Palmar of The Romantics and was also a founding member and bassist for The Chesterfield Kings. Babiuk is the author of Beatles Gear (2001), The Story of Paul Bigsby (2009), Rolling Stones Gear (2014) and Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition (Oct. 2015). A leading authority on vintage guitars, he also serves as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and for auction houses in New York and London. Babiuk continues to lecture about all that is Beatles and Rolling Stones gear all over the world.

Beatles Gear NEW cover A

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die

James Dean’s Final Hours

 by Keith Elliot Greenberg

Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of James Dean’s death


On September 30, 1955, James Dean was killed when his treasured Porsche Spyder was struck by an oncoming car, and from that moment on, the 24-year-old movie star was frozen in time as THE symbol of American Cool. As proven by the thousands of people who return to Dean’s grave each year to pay homage, James Dean’s legend lives on as a MAJOR influence on youth culture for myriad generations.

In Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: James Dean’s Final Hours (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; September 15, 2015), television producer and bestselling author of The Day John Lennon Died, Keith Elliot Greenberg, takes readers along on an evocative journey as he pieces together the puzzle of James Dean’s final day and its everlasting impact.

Juxtaposing a wistful look at Dean’s childhood years with a captivating account of the hours leading up to Dean’s fatal car crash, Greenberg offers penetrating insight into what drove Dean to live on the edge – the early loss of his mother and his relentless drive to explore for the sake of his craft. Dean once said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” He lived to experience, and the one passion that compared to his love of acting was his love of racing cars.

With fresh interviews with key insiders, poignant storytelling, and acute attention to details, Greenberg transports readers back in time, reflecting not only on Dean’s personal life, but also on the world in which he lived — the era after World War II, the end of the Korean War, the advent of rock and roll, with the sixties coming down the pike. From vehicle specs to Dean’s stops along the way (including for an ominous speeding ticket) to how the news reached the world, Greenberg delivers a riveting narrative of James Dean’s final hours.

A richly dimensional portrait of James Dean, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die breathtakingly chronicles the life and death of an icon whose image continues to resonate with people of all ages, decades after his premature death.

September 15, 2015

6″ x 9″
288 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Keith Elliot Greenberg is an author and journalist who has written about a variety of topics from wrestling to true crime. He has authored a number of bestselling books, including December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died (Backbeat Books). Greenberg is also a television producer and has worked on several popular programs, including America’s Most Wanted. He lives in New York City, NY.



American Neo-Noir

American Neo-Noir

The Movie Never Ends

 by Alain Silver and James Ursini


After scores of books and commentaries on film noir and its classic period, experts Alain Silver and James Ursini turn their full attention to neo-noir, the self-conscious, mannered, sometimes ersatz, and often surprising genre that sprang from the original movement.

American Neo-Noir: The Movie Never Ends (May 2015, Applause Books, $27.99) surveys the full breath of American neo-noir, its style and substance, its evolution over succeeding generations of filmmakers, from activist through postmodern to millennial and on, with extensive illustrations in black-and-white and full-color that capture the genre’s dramatic and visual essence.

To write a book about neo-noir, one must first define it, and Silver and Ursini do so this way:

For us, neo-noir is more genre than movement, a mimicking of the style and content of the classic period, the best early example of which is John Boorman’s 1967 Point Blank, an adaptation of The Hunter, part of a postwar, hard-boiled series of “Parker” novels about the criminal underworld by Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark. Like its antecedent and from the first, neo-noir would also be tied closely to a literary movement, riffs on the work of Hammett, Chandler, and McCoy, starting with the gritty exploration of sociopathy by Jim Thompson, the smug mysogyny of Spillane’s Mike Hammer and then a next generation that included Westlake, Ross Macdonald, and Elmore Leonard.

With chapters such as “Victims of Circumstance – Love with an Improper Stranger,” “Gangsters, Pushers, Pimps, and Con Men,” and “Some Cops Still Bend the Rules,” and a filmography featuring more than 500 titles, American Neo-Noir: The Movie Never Ends is the most thorough examination yet of the movement from its creation to the present day.

8″ x 10″
336 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Alain Silver is the author of The Samurai Film and The Noir Style. With James Ursini, he co-edited Film Noir: The Encyclopedia and seven readers on film noir and the horror and gangster genres, all published by Limelight Editions, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation. His produced screenplays include the Showtime feature Time at the Top. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.

James Ursini is co-author, with Alain Silver, of The Vampire Film, published by Limelight Editions, and Film Noir Graphics. His other books include Femme Fatale, Cinema of Obsession, and Directors on the Edge. Together, Silver and Ursini have contributed audio-video commentaries for more than two dozen noir DVD releases.

8 x 10 in. cutout print


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