Let’s hear it for the band

6 07 2019

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

They were the new icons of rock and roll, fated to burn bright and not fade away.
But on 12 July 1979, it all came crashing down.

There was Daisy, rock and roll force of nature, brilliant songwriter and unapologetic drug addict, the half-feral child who rose to superstardom.

There was Camila, the frontman’s wife, too strong-willed to let the band implode – and all too aware of the electric connection between her husband and Daisy.

There was Karen, ice-cool keyboardist, a ferociously independent woman in a world that wasn’t ready for her.

And there were the men surrounding them: the feuding, egotistical Dunne brothers, the angry guitarist chafing on the sidelines, the drummer binge-drinking on his boat, the bassist trying to start a family amid a hedonistic world tour. They were creative minds striking sparks from each other, ready to go up in flames.

It’s never just about the music…

I always enjoy this kind of thing and wasn’t disappointed. There are plenty of cliches of rock excess in here (and some musical stereotypes too)  and the journalistic style with the interspersing of a range of first person recollections can be a little wearing at times but on the whole it really tears along and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride with the soaring 70s band after which the book is named.

Two downsides only. Firstly, it really doesn’t seem credible that an established band would allow a new member to join and then put their name up front without a hell of a contractual argument. Secondly, I never can stand fictional songs. Analysing songs which never actually existed (and the lyrics of which are appended in full) has always struck me as particularly pointless.

It reminded me a lot of Iain Banks’ wonderful Espedair Street (which I now need to go back and read again soon) but didn’t quite match some of the background detail and rich texture of the story of Frozen Gold although many of the features, styling and influences are similar.

Anyway, if like me you are a sucker for a cracking story about a fictional band then this comes highly recommended.

 

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One response

10 08 2019
Mr Rock & Roll | Prole Art Threat

[…] was reminded of this when reading the much newer Daisy Jones and the Six recently and felt obliged to revisit. The fictional music (auto)biography is a pretty niche genre […]

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