DR. DEMENTO'S BLUES BOOK|
On January 2, 2001, Dr. Demento celebrated the publication of his first book!
It's called Rhino's Cruise Through The Blues, and it was written under his "real" name, Barry Hansen. "I've been a huge blues fan since I was in my teens," says the Doctor. "In fact I was a blues buff long before the Dr. Demento Show was ever thought of.
"The book is intended as an introduction to blues. It tells the whole story from the origins of blues around 1900 all the way to today's stars like Jonny Lang and Susan Tedeschi. B. B. King is in there, of course (in fact he wrote the foreword)...and Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf -- all the great ones and the forgotten ones too.
I hope that the book will open a lot of people's eyes and ears to some of the finest artists and human beings the planet has ever known." Hansen became an avid blues buff in the mid-1950s, after finding a few blues discs in local used record shops and discovering nightly blues shows on Southern AM stations. His very first magazine articles, in 1958, were about new records by Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed. He continued writing about blues through his college years, and eventually wrote his master's thesis at UCLA about the evolution of blues in the 1940s and 1950s. That led to a full-time position at Specialty Records, where Hansen compiled 35 reissue albums of blues and gospel music.
It was while Hansen was working at Specialty that the Dr. Demento Show was born in 1970. The radio show was just a lark at first. Little did Hansen or anyone else know that within a few years the radio show's national popularity would thoroughly rearrange his life. He continued to enjoy and study blues, though, and when Rhino Entertainment asked if he'd like to write a blues book, he jumped at the chance. He's been working on it since 1997.
"A lot of people who don't know blues well think that it's depressing music," says Hansen. "Actually it's just the opposite. No matter how bad a mood you may be in, listening to some really good blues will put you in a better one. That's what it's for. The people who invented blues needed something to lift their spirits. It worked for them and it can work for everybody."
"Oh, by the way, I do still intend to write a book on funny music. But I couldn't let this chance go by, to write about something else I truly love." Rhino's Cruise Through The Blues is being published by Miller-Freeman Books of San Francisco, and is available through The Demento Society at a price of $19.95 plus tax (CA residents) and shipping.