So You Wanna be A Rock and Roll Star

So You Wanna be A Rock and Roll Star

3.88 (651 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A hilarious inside look at the real business of popular music by the drummer of Semisonic that does for rock and roll what Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" did for baseball.
After years of working day jobs and making music in his basement, Jacob Slichter wondered if his dreams of rock stardom were a vain illusion. Then he was recruited by two of his successful musician friends to form a band that became Semisonic. Who could forget the smash single "Closing Time," a runaway hit in 1998 that thrust Jake and his bandmates into the international spotlight and helped them sell over two million albums worldwide? But along the road to fame and success came bewilderment and personal chaos: "How will we ever get a record deal? Which record company is the best? The worst? Do I really have to wear these ridiculous boots? Why isn't radio playing our song? What if I have a panic attack right here on stage? What should I write on this fan's CD? Am I famous? Why isn't the video director getting more shots of me? Did I say the wrong thing during that interview? Help!
"
"So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star" is a telling and witty look at what happens just before and during one's time in the spotlight. Jake takes readers on a step-by-step journey of his evolution from fledgling drummer to globetrotting performer and proves to be the perfect guide--feisty "and" humbled--to the inner workings of the music industry and instant celebrity. "So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star" speaks to all of us who dream again and again of rock superstardom and shows how one kid can go from picking up a pair of drumsticks to picking up a platinum record.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 162.6 x 236.2 x 27.9mm | 521.64g
  • Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc)
  • Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Del
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New ed.
  • 0767914708
  • 9780767914703
  • 2,212,464

Review quote

"If I was nineteen again and lusted after the game of music, this book would be my guide and charm."
--Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones

"Still wondering what your college band coulda been? This giddy, can-you-believe-my-luck book is for you." --"Time Out New York
"
"Slichter's most impressive attribute is his unfailing enthusiasm for his craft and for music in general." --James McMurtry, "The New York Times Book Review"

"[Jacob Slichter] is a self-effacing, good-humored, and intelligent guide through the musical maze.... Few first-person memoirs of the rock biz are as smart, honest, and entertaining as this tart, incisive work." --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)


"From the Trade Paperback edition."
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Flap copy

A hilarious inside look at the real business of popular music by the drummer of Semisonic that does for rock and roll what Jim Bouton's "Ball Four did for baseball.
After years of working day jobs and making music in his basement, Jacob Slichter wondered if his dreams of rock stardom were a vain illusion. Then he was recruited by two of his successful musician friends to form a band that became Semisonic. Who could forget the smash single "Closing Time," a runaway hit in 1998 that thrust Jake and his bandmates into the international spotlight and helped them sell over two million albums worldwide? But along the road to fame and success came bewilderment and personal chaos: "How will we ever get a record deal? Which record company is the best? The worst? Do I really have to wear these ridiculous boots? Why isn't radio playing our song? What if I have a panic attack right here on stage? What should I write on this fan's CD? Am I famous? Why isn't the video director getting more shots of me? Did I say the wrong thing during that interview? Help!
"So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star is a telling and witty look at what happens just before and during one's time in the spotlight. Jake takes readers on a step-by-step journey of his evolution from fledgling drummer to globetrotting performer and proves to be the perfect guide--feisty "and humbled--to the inner workings of the music industry and instant celebrity. "So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star speaks to all of us who dream again and again of rock superstardom and shows how one kid can go from picking up a pair of drumsticks to picking up a platinum record.
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About Jacob Slichter

JACOB SLICHTER is a native of Champaign, Illinois, and graduated from Harvard with a degree in Afro-American studies and history. He has read his road diaries (originally published on the Semisonic website) on NPR's "Morning Edition." With his multiplatinum-selling band Semisonic he has appeared on the Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and Craig Kilborn shows.
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Review Text

The drummer for a well-known Minneapolis rock band looks back on the group's oft-bumpy ride from semi-obscurity to success and back again. Anyone who thinks the rock-'n'-roll comedy This Is Spinal Tap is wholly fiction is directed to this wised-up, dryly funny, and sobering account of one rock group's rise and fall. Harvard-educated percussionist Slichter offers a wry and sharply realized account of the brainy pop trio Semisonic's eight-year slog through the music business. With sometimes wide and always wide-open eyes, Slichter recalls his sudden move into music's big leagues in a group that also featured singer-songwriter-guitarist Dan Wilson and bassist John Munson, veterans of the onetime A&M Records act Trip Shakespeare. The relatively inexperienced skinman takes in the group's early, sharp shocks-its signing to Elektra Records; its abrupt departure from the label after an executive regime change; and the acquisition of its album by MCA Records, the notoriously maladroit (and now defunct) major known as the "Music Cemetery of America." He recounts the threesome's dizzying and costly luge ride through a flop debut album and a massive smash (the ubiquitous 1998 single "Closing Time"), and their enervating failure to connect with a follow-up hit. Along the way, he observes the soul-killing rituals of the record business: fatiguing flesh-pressing with radio station staffers; uneasy appearances on TV and radio shows; expensive, nerve-racking video and photo shoots; countless unsettling encounters with clueless, arrogant label executives; and, of course, the numbing grind of touring in a succession of mammoth, faceless arenas. Books that purportedly expose the music industry's mechanics from the inside are plentiful, but Slichter's is one of the few that captures with precision the vertiginous highs and abysmal lows experienced during the climb up the pop ladder and the plummet from the top. He's a self-effacing, good-humored, and intelligent guide through the musical maze. Few first-person memoirs of the rock biz are as smart, honest, and entertaining as this tart, incisive work. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

651 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 27% (175)
4 40% (263)
3 28% (182)
2 4% (25)
1 1% (6)
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