Thursday, June 08, 2023

Literary Notes From All Over

As a rule, rock-and-roll themed novels deserving of your time are a bit of a rarity, historically speaking. Top of my head, I can only think of Lewis Shiner's Glimpses (a haunting time travel fantasy involving the making of Brian Wilson's Smile) and Mark Shipper's Paperback Writer, a laugh out loud alternate universe history of the Beatles, both of which are decades old. More recently, I've slogged through Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & the Six, a cheesy roman a clef about Fleetwood Mac (which spawned the similarly titled TV miniseries), and Sam Lipsyte’s No One Left to Come Looking for You, a sour and not terribly believable attenpt at a 90s downtown NYC underground band version of La Boheme, neither of which did much for me. There may be others worth noting, but they're not immediately springing to mind.

But, I am happy to report, now there's Keith Lives!.

By friend of PowerPop Bodie Plecas.

What's it about? Briefly, it's a blackly comedic tale of a struggling, largely clueless rock musician -- the titular Keith -- whose (apparent) sudden tragic suicide turns him into a gigantic posthumous international success. Hilarity, as they say, ensues, and Plecas doesn't miss an opportunity to puncture the pretensions of the various industry figures, media types and denizens of the rock demi-monde who are either grieving for or cashing in on the hapless hero.

Attentive readers will recall Plecas as the auteur behind the band Picnic Tool, whose "Einstein"...

...I accurately described as The Greatest Video of All Time when it was released in 2019.

As for his new book, well, it's smart, funny (it makes particularly droll use of some real-life small-time celebs), perceptive, and -- surprisingly -- way less cynical about its subject and the general times we live in than you're set up to expect. Without giving anything away, let's just say that I, for one, did not remotely see the ending coming.

In any case, as you will observe, I got a paperback copy...

...and you can (and should) get your own (or the Kindle version) over at Amazon HERE.


Anonymous said...

OK, Steve. I hope it lives up to your kind words for it. I'm more of a non-fiction person when it comes to books, generally. When I was a kid, I seriously thought that, by the year 2023, we'd be getting books in pill form:) I would read a lot more if that was the case.

Would sooner put ketchup on a taco than read any of Taylor Jenkins Reid's stuff. That shit is for pajama people. However, my daughter forced me to watch the Daisy Jones thing. I told her I'd hate it but she wouldn't take no for an answer. I told her that the TV trailers made me wanna puke. She asked me to just watch the first episode and then decide whether to continue. I reluctantly agreed if she'd make the chocolate popcorn. With dark chocolate imported from Holland.

I went into it with the lowest expectations, knowing I'd hate it. It wasn't much, but it was better than I thought it'd be. The script was kinda cheeseball, but the acting by the three leads was pretty damn good. I was surprised that Elvis Presley's grandaughter could pull that off. The actors made the best of what they had to work with. And the dude that played the lead is sexy. But it's all subjective.


Anonymous said...

RE; Picnic Tool - they passed my 15 second ear test.
Loved the song, liked the band.
It. brought me back to the old days when my band would set up all our gear in a field and practiced at 10 much to the chagrin of our parents neighbors. ;-)


steve simels said...

I should add that I love the cover art. As BG observed, it looks like something by Saul Bass.

Anonymous said...

"Keith Lives" great referance/ great t-shirt line.
An aside - just bought the Pistols "God Save The Queen" iconic t shirt.
for my wife - She wears it well ;-)

Allan Rosenberg said...

While not perfect I thought Sam Lipsyte’s "o One Left to Come Looking for You' worked well as an audio book.

I will definitely request "Keith Lives" from the library.

Captain Al

Bodie said...

Thanks for the kind words, Steve, and for another plug for Picnic Tool. The cover art was indeed inspired by Saul Bass, a favorite of mine. I thought it was appropriate for the book. You'll be happy to know I've reverted back to my cynical self.

Bob S. said...

George R. R. Martin wrote The Armageddon Rag back in 1983. What little I remember about it was a combination of horror and a rock band.