- Mass Market Paperback: 413 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse (September 15, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0595133304
- ISBN-13: 978-0595133307
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,699,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"Off The Record"
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About the Author
): David Menconi is the music critic at the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has also written for Spin, Billboard, Request, No Depression, Oxford American, Mother Jones and the "MusicHound Album Guide" series. This is his first novel.
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Music fanatics will love Off the Record, but I suspect it will play equally well with people who just like good fiction with a noirish edge. I've been reading a lot of Carl Hiassen lately, and I found myself drawn into Off the Record for some of the same reasons I like Hiassen: crisp, witty prose with a few laugh-out-loud moments; a complex story with several distinct threads; the noir thing; and characters who fit the particular milieu David places them in (the rock & roll scene, from nightclubs to stadiums) as well as Hiassen's fit theirs (the parts of Florida that never show up in tourism commercials). David's characters aren't quite as cartoonish as Hiassen's, but that's more an observation of stylistic differences than a judgment of either author.
It's not a perfect book. The stars of Off the Record, the Tommy Aguilar Band and its namesake frontman, sometimes resemble the people in a couple of real bands (Nirvana and Whiskeytown, the latter a North Carolina band David has written about extensively in his job as rock critic for the Raleigh News & Observer and as a freelance writer) too closely for my taste. Then again, the fact that I've known David so long and seen Whiskeytown so often made the resemblance more obvious to me than it probably would be to 99 percent of David's readers. And I thought the band's rise from nightclubs to stadiums happened way too fast -- to me, that's the least believable aspect of a book that also includes a little murder, kinky sex, heinous betrayals, and exhilarating musical moments.
But those are minor quibbles. David knows what rock & roll feels like, and he knows how to write about it without getting overly technical or bogged down in mundane details. And he reveals the music business as the grotesque, heartless carnivore it is. In Off the Record, David stretches well beyond the limitations of newspaper journalism to create a great read that, for me, started as an obligation to a friend and fellow writer and ended as a page-turner I couldn't wait to get back to and didn't want to end.