A friend who is also in the music industry recommended “Pistonhead” to me and it was a revelation! I spent many years in the trenches of rock and roll and this book hits a bulls-eye.
We meet Charlie Sinclair, a blue-collar factory worker in Boston (they used to have factories there, believe it or not) who plays guitar in a heavy rock band called Pistonhead. The band is not quite successful–the book opens on a Thursday night at the Big Ditch Club, where the band has drawn an audience of 500 people (heavy drinkers, and a violent bunch). There is a crisis: Jack “Rip” Taylor, the band’s lead singer, has vanished, presumably to score some dope in the parking lot from those friendly dealers the Dust Twins.
The audiences, the flaky manager who makes a fortune from a dead client, the smarmy concert promoter, the wacky road crew, the sleazy girlfriends, the violence and sex and drugs, the Dust Twins (I knew those guys!), the stuff that goes through Charlie’s mind while he is performing on stage–it’s all here.
What makes Pistonhead different is that it gives you the complete picture and devotes attention to the “real world” of Charlie’s mind-numbing day job on the assembly line with the Mass Rehab clients. I remember being jolted out of bed at 7 am after playing a gig until 3 am, and dragging my tired carcass to work and falling asleep in the break room with my ears still ringing. And at every workplace there’s a Lisa… the sweet and beautiful woman who seems to come from some different and better world. And we all know guys like Charlie’s brother-in-law, who leeringly wants to hear all about Charlie’s supposed sexual exploits. There’s so much more–I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever had a dream worth working for.