Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
by Steve Almond
Drooling fanatic, n 1. One who drools in the presence of beloved rock stars. 2. Any of a genus of rock-and-roll wannabes/geeks who walk around with songs constantly ringing in their ears, own more than 3,000 albums, and fall in love with at least one record per week.
The most endearing attribute of a great writer (particularly in this case, a rock writer) is not the ability to use big words — although there are plenty here. Nor is it the ability to reference obscure musical artists who typically reside in the ninety-nine-cent bin at the local “Disc Diggers” — yes, there are many of those too. The most endearing attribute of a great (rock) writer is simply the ability to tell a great story and personally connect with the reader.
Submitted for your approval, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, the latest offering from author, music critic, and self-confessed “drooling fanatic,” Steve Almond. Once-alienated drooling fanatics around the world now have cause to rejoice as we’ve finally found an official spiritual leader — a fanatical messiah — in Almond.
Yet despite the glorified title, the music celebrated throughout the book’s 213 pages actually takes a backseat to the central character, Almond, through his witty and compelling personal stories of life, love, music, and numerous geographical relocations.
From his early tales of enduring futile piano lessons, to discovering the musical genius of Styx, to writing his first concert review covering a Bob Dylan show (whom he knew nothing about at the time), to the joyful discovery later in life of lesser-known artists like Joe Henry and Nil Lara, Almond is the ultimate fanatic. A charismatic storyteller, he reels the reader in at the Introduction (Bruuuuce!) and doesn’t let ’em off the hook ’til the closing observations of experiencing life as a “drooling” rock and roll dad.
At times, readers can feel so connected to Almond as to find themselves cheering him on as an invisible bystander, lurking in the shadows, observing his numerous sexual conquests while also feeling his heartbreak, reaching out to disenfranchised ghetto kids in “Ghostland” during the mid 1990s.
Almond’s rock and roll revelations and recollections are honest and pure, offering something for fans everywhere. He clearly loves Nick Cave, Gil Scott-Heron and, uh, Styx, but Air Supply, Pavement, Toby Keith, U2, and George Bush? Well, not so much. A fabulous read!
Steve Almond: www.stevenalmond.com