Experienced: Rock Music Tales of Fact and Fiction
Edited by Roland Goity & John Ottey; Illustrations by Kimy Martinez
Vagabondage Press, $12.99 print/$3.99 digital, 150 pp.
As its title suggests, this small-press book is an anthology of 16 tales of, by and about rock and roll, with the emphasis on fictional short stories, penned by musicians, music journalists, novelists, industry insiders, and academics.
Standout pieces include a band member's account of Guided By Voices' wooing by a major label, a profile of openly gay blues harmonica player Jason Ricci, and some sketches of Dee Dee Ramone by a neighbor.
Of the obviously fictional works, stories about Deadheads, a down-on-his-luck solo acoustic performer, and a broken up band attempting a reunion read well.
But, as is often the case with music writing, both fact and fiction, elements of tweeness creep into other stories, as if the writer is determined to cram in as many performer references and rock-crit clichés as possible.
A stream-of-consciousness rant about Madonna would turn off the Material Girl's most diehard fan, and a noirish story about a femme-fatale murderess who confesses her crimes to a favorite DJ fall flat. A longer piece about Phish fans overstays its welcome like one of Trey Anastasio's lengthy jams.
Overall, Experienced is - like many literary anthologies - a mixed bag in terms of quality. But then again, so is your average record.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.