Monday, February 8, 2010

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life By: Steve Almond

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life


Drooling fanatic, n. 1. One who drools in the presence of beloved rock stars. 2. Any of a genus of rock-and-roll wannabes/geeks who walk around with songs constantly ringing in their ears, own more than 3,000 albums, and fall in love with at least one record per week.

With a life that’s spanned the phonographic era and the digital age, Steve Almond lives to Rawk. Like you, he’s secretly longed to live the life of a rock star, complete with insane talent, famous friends, and hotel rooms to be trashed. Also like you, he’s content (sort of) to live the life of a rabid fan, one who has converted his unrequited desires into a (sort of) noble obsession.

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life traces Almond’s passion from his earliest (and most wretched) rock criticism to his eventual discovery of a music-crazed soul mate and their subsequent production of two little superfans. Along the way, Almond reflects on the delusional power of songs, the awkward mating habits of drooling fanatics, and why Depression Songs actually make us feel so much better. The book also includes:

• sometimes drunken interviews with America’s finest songwriters
• a recap of the author’s terrifying visit to Graceland while stoned
• a vigorous and credibility-shattering endorsement of Styx’s Paradise Theater
• recommendations you will often choose to ignore
• a reluctant exegesis of the Toto song “Africa”
• obnoxious lists sure to piss off rock critics

But wait, there’s more. Readers will also be able to listen to a special free mix designed by the author, available online at, for the express purpose of eliciting your drool. For those about to rock—we salute you! (


Just to be up front, I did not think Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life would be a good book. I thought it sounded like some obsessive fan rambling about their favorite tiny nuances of obscure bands throughout history. Now that I’ve read it, I can say Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life is nothing like that. While the book does contain numerous lists of bands and songs that Almond obviously spent considerable time contemplating, it also contains a heartfelt story of an endearing and lovable narrator who is willing to do anything to be involved in his dream industry. This engaging narration style makes this book into so much more, surprising readers with a depth rarely seen in these kinds of books.

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life is the story of an avid fan or a “Drooling Fanatic” as it’s referred to in the book, and his experiences in the world of music. But this book is so much more than random facts and questions such as “is Dave Grohl better than Kurt Cobain? (which Almond strongly feels he is.)”. Instead Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life details the story of a man’s journey of recognizing his dream, nurturing it in the only way he can, through fandom, and ultimately growing as a person through his experiences.

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life contained a much more relatable story than I ever expected. The tone of the book was genuine yet humorous, the narrator introspective yet relatable, and the story ultimately interesting and fun to read.

That said, this book is not perfect, there are still countless lists that seem excessive, and numerous references to obscure bands that no longer exist, that make this book seem boring to a “non-drooling fanatic” But these problems are miniscule and easily to gloss over, leaving the true essence of the book easy to enjoy.

This book will appeal to anyone who has ever listened to a song on the radio and wished they were up there singing with the band, but it will also appeal to those who enjoy reading memoirs and reveling in the tales of others. Because of this and the interesting nature of the book, I believe many different types of people would enjoy this book, and so I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.


PUBLISHER: Random House

PUBLISHED: April 13, 2010

PRICE: $23.00

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