- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books (February 12, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565125096
- ISBN-13: 978-1565125094
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rock On: An Office Power Ballad Paperback – February 12, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Kennedy, a McSweeney's contributor, offers an entertaining explanation of how, after years of stumbling through adulthood, he landed an improbable gig writing and producing ads for Atlantic Records. For a kid who grew up dressing like Gene Simmons each Halloween in the 1970s, this should be a dream job—hobnobbing with rock stars and industry legends while making more money than he ever had before. The trouble is that, by the early 21st century, he finds that Atlantic is more corporate than rock. Kennedy's run-ins with rock stars involve helping Jewel sell razors and mistaking Duran Duran's manager for a member of the band. When he's not inadvertently insulting aging rockers, Kennedy worries incessantly about office politics—whether he's made a permanent enemy of a co-worker by asking what kind of muffin she's eating, which executives to greet in the hallway and which to ignore. Kennedy's style—hilarious, paranoid and vulnerable—captures wonderfully the absurdity of the corporate music industry. Readers will appreciate the many lists that pepper the book, including Inappropriate Greetings and Salutations for Middle-Aged White Record Executives to Exchange: #1. Hello, Dawg. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Given his association with the McSweeneyâs set (authors like Dave Eggers and Sarah Vowell), itâs no surprise that critics found Dan Kennedyâs book to exhibit the self-conscious-yet-genuine wit to which that journal aspires. Many reviewers go gaga for this sort of thing; others think itâs a tone whose time has passed. But even the latter group enjoyed Kennedyâs memoir, whether because of the subject matter or the authorâs true respect for honest creativity and the people who, for better or worse, have to market it. The most common criticism was that the story ends too soon, but given Atlanticâs rapid demise, these critics will have to direct their complaints to the managerâ"or, more likely, the managerâs manager.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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I suppose in its own way the book is a little depressing, but if you follow the music industry at all, you already know the depressing part of it. At least this way those issues can be mocked.
Mr. Kennedy skewers Jewel for selling out to sell razors (rightfully, IMO; I wish the sell-outs would just admit that they're selling out), but in his otherwise fabulous description of an Iggy Pop concert, he fails even to mention the connection between Iggy Pop and Royal Caribbean. Well, maybe it's easier to criticize a young woman than it is a middle aged man. Or maybe one can't criticize an icon.
I found myself wishing for more details, more substance. Clearly, Mr. Kennedy had much to say about the music industry specifically and corporate America more generally; it didn't get said, though. Commentary on the American working life is lurking below the surface, as if the author is afraid to say it aloud.
This is an easy read; it'll take you all of a single afternoon. But it's thin (as many easy reads are), and, therefore, forgettable. It's kind of like a blog--something interesting to look at during your lunch hour that you forget as soon as 1:00 rolls around.
If there's a flaw it is simply that Kennedy hasn't penned a book with lasting resonance--it's like a Big Mac Meal you'll enjoy it at the time but forget about in a couple of days. That's OK because that's truly what it is designed to do--make fun of the very rock/pop/rap culture that Kennedy is also celebrating--the ultimate goal of satire.
Kennedy's book is even more timely given the crisis in the music business going on right now. The very absurdities that he makes fun of here contributing to the downfall of one of the most overpriced and greedy industries outside of the oil and movie businesses.
Is ROCK ON a great book? No. Is it entertaining? Yep. It might not go down in as a great work in the annals of literature (at least right now...the book industry/critics are everything that the folks are in the music industry and more because they think that they are MORE important. Dan there's an idea--satirize the publishing industry next)but you'll enjoy it at the same time as you recognize the absurd excesses that you've heard (or read in memoirs)about the music biz.
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