Check the Gs
-The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business
At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family business changed his world forever. Raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and Syrian Jewish father, Shasho made his first sale at the age of six and never looked back. Life in the family business (and in the Shasho family) was never boring. From FBI interrogations to angry mobs, each new day at the Chin Lung Art Gallery brought with it new adventures. Check the Gs tells a story for everyone who is proud their family and heritage but not afraid to laugh at its many eccentricities, and for anyone who has ever worked in retail and experienced its humorous situations and misadventures.
"This autobiography shows us an amazing story of what it means to be a self-made person. Through all of life's struggles we experience and how it leads to opportunity and meeting the love of a lifetime. This is the definition of living the American Dream and exceeds the meaning for our pursuit for happiness as we journey through life. I recommend everyone to read this for you will find through our dive rsity we all share the challenges and struggles that make us into the people we are today. The author does an excellent job showing us how lucky we are and that hope always lies in our perseverance for finding happiness." ...William G Wallin -FIVE STARS! *****
"This book takes you away to a time that will never be repeated in America. Where families worked together, ate together, and passed down the family business. Ray tells us his story and you are locked in from the first page. You live inside his family's retail store; when retail meant something before the Best Buys & WalMarts took away the shopping "experience." You're next to Ray when he attends rock concerts by real artists in the Baltimore & Washington DC area. This is a guy that lives & breathes two things: family & music. A beautifully written book that I couldn't put down. Highly recommended!"
…Mr. Fitzroy -FIVE STARS! *****
-Check the Gs is just a really cool story ...and it’s real !
"I’d like to see the kid on the front cover telling his story in a motion picture, TV sitcom or animated series. The characters in the story definitely jump out of the book and come to life. Very funny and scary moments throughout the story and I just love the way Ray timeline’s historical events during his lifetime. Ray’s love of rock music was evident throughout the book and it generates extra enthusiasm when I read his on-line classic rock music column on examiner.com. It’s a wonderful read for everyone!”
...stillerb47 -FIVE STARS! *****
-Pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories
"Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It's a great gift for your "over-the-hill" friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are."
...Reviewed by Pacific Book Review -FIVE STARS *****
GOLD AWARD WINNER!
WHERE HAVE ALL THE ROCK STARS GONE?
Rock and Roll, the Blues, and Jazz are America's contribution to the arts, so why are we not fighting to preserve our own musical legacy and culture?
Rooted from the early blues pioneers, the longevity of rock and roll is second to none. But strangely enough those legendary rock heroes that we were so accustomed to hearing every time we turned on our radios had mysteriously vanished from the mainstream. The music of the 1960's, 70's and even the 80's was an important juncture in all of our lives. So many of us timeline life's precious moments with the music we remember, when the music was so great, when the music mattered. The baby-boomer generation is financially imperative yet many of its entertainment standards have been renounced.
One day, the plug was pulled on those legendary music artists. Hackers began stealing music across the internet. Online music stores popularized cheap digital singles and neglected to promote full-length albums. Radio stations changed formats to accommodate talk show radio jocks while rappers and electronic dance music menaced the airwaves. Notorious record companies began folding in droves. Record companies and radio stations that were once owned and operated by visionaries were now run by accountants and lawyers and the music world began promoting untalented wannabes. The economy plummeted, and radio stations became more concerned about how many consecutive commercials they could run instead of providing quality radio programming and entertainment value. Radio stations became corporate machines leaving no room for innovation. Throughout the 2000s, recording studios and live performances began using an audio processor called "Auto-Tune" to disguise off-key inaccuracies in vocal tracks. The device allowed virtually anyone without music skills to become a singer and new waves of mainstream radio stars were instantly fabricated. The business of music became stronger and more important than the art of music.
For more than a decade, I've been on a rock and roll pilgrimage to help promote and save the greatest music the world has ever known. Before the internet and Napster, virtuoso musicians traditionally introduced their music by way of mainstream radio stations while anxious music enthusiasts hurried to their favorite record stores and purchased a copy of the artist's latest release. Talk radio wasn't popular because there was way too much great music to play over the airwaves. Advertisers didn't rule the airwaves, the music did. Rock legends toured the world to promote their latest albums and prices of concert tickets were extremely affordable. Proficient musicians, singers, and songwriters are what made the music so great.
The Rock Star Chronicles Book Review by Literary Titan
The Rock Star Chronicles, by Ray Shasho, is a splendid book written by a music enthusiast who has poured their heart and soul into it. It’s a story of a boy who loved rock music, and his obsessive passion of it earned himself the name Rock Raymond. He went to school but instead was schooled in all matters of music while his peers were buried chin-deep in coursework. He then became a radio DJ and has now compiled a book on all interviews he held with Rock gods who raided the airwaves back in the 70s and 80s. It’s a compilation of interviews with outstanding vocalists, legendary guitarists and crazy drummers in the rock music scene. Each interview gives a reader an in-depth view into their personal lives and the philosophies that guide their lives which all serve to humanize these great icons. For readers who are old enough to call themselves baby boomers this book will bring old memories back to life. Millennials, on the other hand, may think of this book as a literal work of the Carpool Karaoke show.
The Rock Star Chronicles is a book I didn’t know I was waiting for. To come across a book that will talk me into trying something new. One brave enough to incite me to venture into new frontiers. This book made me a believer- I am now a bona fide Rock and Roll music fan.
Ray Shasho masterfully gets the interviewees talking. He smartly coaxes answers from them with crafty questions designed to get a story rolling out of them. The artists talk about diverse issues ranging from music, politics, and their social engagements. Having been on the music seen all his life, Ray Shasho knows the buttons to press, how to get them comfortable about talking about their lives.
The book’s cover is befitting of its subject matter with the leather look offering a royal background to the golden letter print. It speaks to how high a level rock music holds in the pecking order- arguably, modern music as we know it has originated from blues and rock music. The second noteworthy thing is the use of high definition pictures to reference the musician being interviewed in every sub-chapter. This ensures that the book is for both original rock and roll lovers and aspiring new ones. Together is makes for a refreshing and consistently enjoyable read.
I recommend this book to rock music enthusiasts, aspiring musicians wondering what it takes and all readers curious to learn new things by going back in time.
Pages: 573 | ASIN: B082YCD7G6
Gold Award Winner
Ray Shasho Author Interview
By Literary Titan
The Rock Star Chronicles uses your interviews with rock legends to humanize them and preserve their contribution to the genre. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was fortunate to have lived through two of the greatest decades for music. It was a time when radio played incredible music and rock concerts were a bargain and a happening thing to do. Rock groups featured incredibly talented musicians with guitarists and lead singers in the spotlight. There has never been a generation to match that period of music expertise and staying power. I wanted the reader to understand and realize how great a talent they really were and still are. Especially to wannabe musicians and the young. Many of the artists I have interviewed have passed on and others nearing retirement. It was important to me to tell their stories at a vulnerable period in their lives and be recognized as the greatest music legends the world will ever know.
What is one interview in this book that stands out as the most exciting one you had?
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has always been a rock hero to me. He has written and performed complex music and always had an incredible stage presence. Going to a Tull concert back in the day was a huge event. I will admit the first time I interviewed Ian Anderson I was quite nervous. I remember when the phone rang for the interview, I thought, that’s Jethro Tull calling me! During the second interview I got him to chat about politics, religion, ancestry, and world events. I tried not to ask the same mundane music questions that have been asked of him many hundreds of times. He was intellectual and I was on my best game that day.
What do you think is one thing modern musicians have to learn from the icons of the rock and roll genre?
Bands must perform live. All the legends started performing at school dances, bars, clubs, and anywhere they could be seen by an audience big or small. If they are talented eventually someone will give them a break, but it will not be easy. Having a You Tube video with a lot of page views is a start, but it will never have the impact of playing in front of live audiences.
What do you find is a common misconception people have about music?
People that pay big money to watch an artist lip sync on stage and still call it a great show. Music lovers who go see a legendary rock band and there are no original members in the band. Ringo Starr would never bill himself as The Beatles, instead he created an All-Starr band. All generations need to do a little homework before purchasing expensive tickets to concerts nowadays. My book will certainly help identify who the real legends are.
Music is a universal language that we all share and cherish.