Behind the Curtain-Beside the Music

“Oh, you wrote a book?  What’s it about?” a stranger asks me.

“It’s the story what happens when an 80s metal band moves in with a couple and what that does to a marriage,” is my standard response.  It’s a pretty decent response, as book summaries go.  If you’ve ever written anything as long as a book you’d know that it’s often very difficult to sum up an entire novel in one sentence and make it interesting enough so that the person who asked the question actually wants to keep talking to you.

But then the conversation might end, meaning they’re not interested so let’s talk about something else.  Or it might continue, and then we get talking about why I wrote it.  I get asked one of these:

“Wow, that sounds like fun.  Where did you come up with that idea?”

“Is this autobiographical?” 

It’s amazing how often I get asked this question.  Am I cool enough to have had an 80s metal band move into my house for a time while they record their comeback album?  I am flattered that people think I am actually that cool.  But no, that never happened to me personally.  But Beside the Music describes it pretty much exactly as I would picture it if it did happen to us.  I like to say it’s based on actual events that never actually happened.

So, why did I write it?  They say you should write what you know, right?  Well, I know 80s music.  I love 80s metal.  I am also a junkie for memoirs written by 80s metal performers.  I loved Ozzy Osbourne’s book, and I think that was the best one of all the ones I’ve read.  I’ve read Motley Crue’s, I devoured all five of Neil Peart’s books, as I adore Neil Peart and Rush. 

But there aren’t many memoirs written by the acts that faded into obscurity.  (If there are, let me know!  I am dying to read them!)  I sat around thinking about how that must have looked.  There was a one-hit wonder who was on the top of every single chart, and on top of the world.  Money was flowing in, and ultimately flowing out at double the speed.  Champagne in the bath tub.  A huge house somewhere overlooking something amazing.  Fast cars.  Lavish parties.  Are you imagining it?

Now imagine that rock star gets called into a meeting.  He shows up in his leather and his eye liner.  His hair is smooshed in on one side because he just woke up from sleeping it off.  He puts his sunglasses on because the fluorescent lights in that conference room are too damn bright.  He gets told that the money is gone.  He doesn’t believe them.  He is shown statements and graphs.  The. Money. Is. Gone.

So, now what?  An epic temper tantrum ensues.  The disappearance of the money surely is not his fault.  He points his finger at the accountant and asks whether the accountant knows who he is.  Then the fear sets in.  Will he have to get a job in an office cubicle repairing copy machines?

Or he could get back in the saddle and make a go of a comeback.  There is discussion of booking smaller venues and jacking up the price to earn some quick cash.  There is discussion of his social media presence, or lack thereof, as he was too busy spending all his money on five-digit bar tabs at the clubs.  But ultimately if he wants to make money as a musician, then he needs to be a musician again and make some money.

And that’s what Hydra, the band in Beside the Music decided to do.  They decided to go for the big comeback and see if they can get back on top again. 

To find out what happens, you can purchase Beside the Music from Amazon, here.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 09.12.16

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