James VanOsdol's acerbic wit and opinionated musings entertained me when we were in high school, and w he's entertaining me as an adult. It's nice to see some things never change. Todd Sucherman drummer, Styx Off the Record Collection compiles Chicago media personality/author James VanOsdol's writings about rock and roll in its myriad forms, with special attention paid to classic rock, alt rock, and the dynamic Chicago music scene. As an active member of the blogging community since 2004, VanOsdol's turned in a wealth of material about the music he loves, loathes, and simply can't understand the appeal of. Included in Off the Record Collection are old blog entries put into contemporary context, never-before-seen material, and content created exclusively for this book's release. Some of the subjects discussed: Who's the worst band ever? VanOsdol tries to apply rock and roll algebra to get to the answer. What crawled up Billy Corgan's ass and died? VanOsdol can't explain it, though he admits it's fascinating to watch. Why did we all forsake R.E.M. after Monster ? VanOsdol goes album by album to try and figure it out. Why doesn't the rest of the world agree that Rush is simply the best band ever forged by the rock god metalsmiths? Igrance, of course. What are the essential, can't-miss, rock cover songs? Off the Record Collection isn't a highbrow, Pitchfork-esque, study of indie rock minimalism. In fact, there's trace of sanctimonious rock critic pretension to be found. The riffs, rants, and writings VanOsdol shares are honest and real. He's perfectly comfortable in his own skin as he enthusiastically talks about artists generally panned by traditional rock critics (Stone Temple Pilots, Rush, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue). Ready to rock? Good. Now, then...extend your right hand. Open your palm. Push your middle finger and the finger next to your pinky into your palm. Cover those fingers with your thumb. Raise your newly-formed rock fist in the air. That accomplished, use your other hand to add Off the Record Collection to your cart.