Tag Archives: Band on the Run

Runnin’ Down a Dream

33 Days:  Touring in a Van.   Sleeping on Floors.   Chasing a Dream.   by Bill See (Lulu; available as a Kindle and Nook Book download)

Bill See’s account of a band on the run has its moments but…  If L.A.’s Divine Weeks was chosen as one of the best bands in the mega city by the hallowed Los Angeles Times in 1987, one has to wonder why its four members (George, Bill, Raj and Dave) decided they needed to make a tour of the Pacific Northwest, Canada and the mid-west to southern United States to prove their worth.   If you believe See’s words, it was not for a lack of ego:  “Sometimes you can tell the crowd wants it…  you have to understand something.   We really do believe we’re operating on a totally different plane than other bands…  we’re completely full of ourselves…”

Well, you can see videos of Divine Weeks on You Tube and judge for yourself.   To my eyes and ears, this was a decent band for the time (the late 80s), but nothing special – not great nor horrible, and on a par with what you’d see in a typical Sacramento club during this era.   Was Divine Weeks on the same plane as, say, Jane’s Addiction?   Absolutely not.   (Personal disclosure:  I was not a fan of Jane’s music, but their musicianship was beyond question.)

What 33 Days does offer is a glimpse of what life is like on the road for a struggling traveling band.   In itself that’s an interesting tale, but See detracts from it by spending a bit more time than is necessary telling us about his off-and-on relationship with quasi-girlfriend Mary.   It proves to be both distracting and tiring.

The best moment in the narrative is when See explains, early on, the power of music.   “Ever since I’ve known music, I’ve felt that my life could be lifted up by it.”   This is admirable but the egocentric prospective winds up making this a band biography that is less than the sum of its parts.   This reader came to feel as if only truly got to know two members of the band – the Paul McCartney-like Bill and the George Harrison-like Raj.   It felt, in the end, as if something was missing.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy was provided by the author.

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Fragile Contents

Fragile by Chris Katsaropoulos

This is, quite simply, a very odd book.   Author Chris Katsaropoulos has drafted a novella (212 pages) about the tragic lives of three people – two female, one male – and interwoven them.   Unfortunately, the interweaving is literal in terms of the structure of this work.   The reader is going along reading about one character’s life when suddenly – without a page break, new sentence or paragraph beginning but with a bit of illogically placed blank space – you are reading about the second character, and then the third.   I initially presumed that this was an unedited galley (preview copy) until it became clear that this is the structure deliberately selected by the writer.

I am not sure what the attraction is of this unconventional style, unless it is to gain attention for what is labeled an “attention-grabbing” tale.   This story structure asks for too much work on the part of the reader, and the supposed calling of its unique literary device becomes all too distracting, all too tiring, all too soon.   Is there someone for whom I would recommend

This piece?   (And you see how distracting the unconventional structure is?   This is an example of the type of segues used in Fragile.)  

Well, I think it might be a work that appeals to an actor – male or female – used to performing in ultra avant-garde works.   Or for an art lover who adores Picasso above all others.   Or someone who has not outgrown Vonnegut, as in Kurt.

Fragile is like a version, in words, of Paul McCartney’s “Picasso’s Last Words,” in which the former Beatle used an unconventional interweaving song structure to pay aural tribute to an unconventional gifted artist.   In that song it was interesting.   Fragile, however, proves that unconventionality can be too cute for its own words.   Literally.

A review copy was provided by Smith Publicity, Inc.

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