Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling

Flap copy from cover:
"Once upon a time, Blood Orphans were the next big thing. They has a fat recording contract, the swagger of the gods, and cheekbones that could cut glass. They were the darlings of the LA music scene. They were locked and loaded for rock-and-roll greatness.

And then everything...went...wrong. The singer became a born-again Buddhist who preached from the stage. The bass player's raging eczema turned his hands into a pulpy mess. The drummer, a sex addict tormented by the misdeeds of his pron-king father, was losing his grip on reality. And the guitar player- the only talented one- was a doormat cowed by the constant abuse of his bandmates.

Set in Amsterdam on the last day of Blood Orphans' final tour, this novel tells the raucous story of a band- and their heroically cokes out female manager- trying to get in one last shot at fame's elusive bull's-eye."

This was an intriguing read about the last day of glory of a failed rock band. I was drawn into the story of these few desperate boys trying to hold onto their fleeting moments of fame and fortune. Shilling is a good writer with a strong grasp of the voice of his characters; although he used a lot of obscenities, they never came across as gratuitous because it was so clearly the appropriate language for Blood Orphans.

It was interesting to note that the band was on the verge of imploding from its first tortured gigs; reading this book made me think of the many "VH1 Behind the Music" specials I've seen over the years. The only quibble I had involved the revelations about Darlo and his father- I believe Shilling could have gotten another entire book out of that plotline so it seemed a bit rushed at the end.

All in all, an enjoyable read- dark humor, bleak yet occasionally uplifting, certainly an excellent selection for anyone who has been involved in the music scene. 3.5 stars.

No comments: