Fireworks Magazine (Review)

Fireworks-Magazine cover Issue 58

Words and Music: Excursions in the Art of Rock Fandom

Michael Anthony

Rarely have I been so engaged by a book that I have read it so intently. It did mean that it took this reviewer quite a while to complete the 350 pages of text, but it also meant that I very quickly returned to some of the more telling (for me) passages – the ones where there were significant parallels between my own and Michael’s early experiences of “rock fandom”.

It is a volume that has two very distinct strands: anecdote and analysis, the former demonstrating that the author has a quite phenomenal memory for detail. With the latter, Anthony has thoroughly filleted a number of bands/musicians and their key releases and other relevant supporting material and has done so in a very knowledgeable and perceptive style. Indeed, it has led me, for example, to re-evaluate The Doors, a band whose music I loved from the very first time I heard their debut album contemporaneously with its release and bought it (in mono) as only my fifth album. Anthony’s perspective (in the chapter ‘Morrison Hotel’) is not contemporaneous, and uses the band’s lead singer to dig into the psyche of someone who was “a complete monster” in his personal life and “how fame and the pressure of celebrity can help to destroy someone”. Morrison’s biographer and protégé Danny Sugerman is also discussed as an extreme case of rock fandom and here and in other places, Anthony allows his interest in psychology to almost – but not quite – hijack the narrative and fine focus of his book.

“This is a book about rock music. More specifically it is a book about the value of rock music and the meaning it can have in people’s lives” Anthony tells us on page 9. This he cements into his personal perspective (and surely also that of any of us of a certain age) by further commenting “Taken as a whole, the book describes the journey of someone who has listened to and been inspired by rock music over the last 30 years or so …” For me, it has been nearly 50 years, and yet there are so many parallels (and points of convergence) between he and I, and for those of you who purchase this volume – and I urge you to do so, for it puts one’s devotion to music into appropriate context – I am sure you will also discover your own rock fandom and the purpose for it and the outcomes of it.

“An uncompromising love of rock music … transcends fashion and commercial trends.” Fireworks Magazine attests to that, and if you are reading these words, then you need a copy of this volume.

Paul Jerome Smith

More about Words and Music

GET THE BOOK

Back to Reviews page

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: