CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004
Who doesn't dream of "being discovered," of finding himself on stage as the star of a popular rock band? (Admit it - you've been there....or somewhere that's equivalent!) But where does the dream end and the reality begin? How does an aspiring musician make the transition? These are the questions that Dave Bidini attempts to answer in For Those About to Rock: A Road Map to Being in a Band, his second book dealing with rock music in Canada. (On a Cold Road, 1988, was the first.)
This book truly is a sort of road map which answers many frequently asked questions. How do you choose your first instrument? What's it like being on the road and getting along with other band members under tough conditions? What should you name the band? What should you wear on stage? What's involved in recording in a studio?
Far from being some dry "how to" manual, Bidini's book attempts to give serious answers to these concerns yet always in a witty and humorous way. The book is peppered with real-life anecdotes which actually happened to Bidini (as rhythm guitarist with the Rheostatics) or to friends of his in the music business. Readers feel the excitement and "high" of a particularly good concert. A page or two later, Bidini is describing "the next forty minutes of misery. It was the worst gig of our lives." This is a "how to" book with a difference, with attitude - a style to which teens can relate.
The text has occasional "Rock Talk" boxes which explain some of the technical terms used. For instance, on page 81, Bidini writes:
At the end of the book is an in-depth index of music and musicians.
In an off-beat and entertaining way, Bidini offers some honest advice from someone who's "been there." Near the end of the book, he discusses the new and growing problem of downloading music for free from the Internet. Bidini outlines both the pros and cons of life as a rock star, but the overriding sense after reading the book is that Bidini loves what he does and is one of those fortunate people who is lucky enough to live his dream.
Ann Ketcheson, a former teacher of high school English and French, is currently the teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.