I perused a couple of the local bookstores a few days ago. I was looking for a copy of The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. I found it. I bought it. I have completed reading it. At the time I was looking for it, however, I stumbled upon Rock On by Dan Kennedy. I picked it up, read the back cover and thought of my friend Smokes. Some of you may remember that Smokes was one of the champions of the Best Rock Song Evar! discussion from a couple years back. Smokes is also a consummate fan of all the Harmonix/Neversoft music video games: Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero III, and the most recent addition, Rock Band. Where some kids play Madden NFL because they dream of being a football star, John plays Guitar Hero because the little boy inside of him still dreams of being a rock idol.
So when I find a book where the back cover reads …
When Dan Kennedy is hired by a major record label in 2002, he thinks he’s chanced upon a dream job in the world of full-blown gonzo rock-and-roll excess that has pockmarked his dreams ever since he was a suburban teen. The sobering reality: he’s basically walked into a nine-to-five world that’s equal parts This Is Spinal Tap and The Office.
I think of Smokes. I tell him about the book. The next day he runs out to scour stores. He finds the last copy at the third store he visited. He runs home and starts reading. Ten pages in and he’s falling out of his chair laughing. So, now that I’ve finished with Phillip Marlowe, I’m going to join him in this strange, strange land. I may not be– or even want to be– a golden god, but I sure enjoy laughing with one.