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Mid Life Confidential [Hardcover]

Stephen King
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1994
A crazy chronicle, in words and mostly embarrassing pictures, describes a road trip with fifteen of America's most popular writers, who leave their jobs to hit the road--on a bus--as a performing rock and roll band. 75,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The Rock Bottom Remainders, a group of celebrated writers smitten with rock 'n' roll glamour, gladly submitted when independent publicist Kathi Karmen Goldmark conceived the idea of forming a literary rock band to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim. The band members--including Dave Barry, Matt Groening, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan--had so much fun with that gig that they decided to take their show on the road, playing clubs from Boston to Miami on a jaunt financed by the advance on this book. Each writer/rocker contributed an article on "what being in a band has meant to me." Their various musings, ranging from the comic to the portentous, straddle the line between the charming and the pompous. The Remainders lapse at times into cliches and stereotypes--i.e., that "real" rockers are illiterate--which make them sound like frat boys and sorority sisters slumming. But even if this project is nakedly self-indulgent, for the most part it is self-aware. And Barry's and Groening's reflections are better than that--hilarious.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Organized by a literary publicist for a charity event at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention, the Remainders are the world's most literate rock'n'roll band. Members (and associates) include Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Roy Blount Jr., and Robert Fulghum; rock veteran Al Kooper served as musical director. In May 1993 the Remainders reunited for a nine-city "tour" of the East Coast. This is an account, with contributions by everyone in the band (and photos by King's wife, Tabitha) of that crazy month. As the title suggests, more than a few authors use the experience to examine seriously (or humorously) what attracted them to playing "Louie Louie" in public. The results are mixed; this will be of more interest to fans of the authors than music aficionados.
--Thomas Wiener, formerly with "American Film"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious good fun! April 27 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I vaguely noted the news stories when this band of idiots went on the road in 1993, I only ran across this book by chance three days ago. I read it in less than two. Although the whole idea of authors forming a rock band and doing a tour sounds pretty stupid and self-indulgent, the results were not only good for them, but surprisingly moving and inspiring for anyone who might read this book. I'm sure I enjoyed it no less than the two previous reviewers, but I'm a tough grader, so I gave it four stars.
I always knew Stephen King and Dave Barry were regular guys I would just love to meet and have a beer with, but what a shock to find out about the lovely, funny, human sides of Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Al Kooper (the musical director of this motley crew), Dave Marsh (rock critic and editor) and others!
I laughed 'til I cried over Barry's chapter. Everyone has his or her funny moments, but the chapters by Tan, Kingsolver, and Marsh are refreshingly touching and vulnerable, too.
Best quotes:
--King calls himself "a kind of Norman Rockwell version of Freddy Krueger"
--Kooper: "The mere fact that you're reading this right now is a testimony to the selfishness of twenty-three bored people."
--Roy Blount, Jr.: being on stage in a rock and roll band is "like being inside a forest fire that you're helping, however modestly, to spread"
--music critic Joel Selvin: "Most people seem to think critics are as useful as tits on a priest."
--Barry: "Our groupie budget is kinda low, so we're not getting top quality -- at times, they get a little angry at us and throw their walkers at us and stuff like that."
--Barry again: "...
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Marsh and other famous authors formed an ad hoc rock band for a booksellers' convention, everyone--including them--saw it as a one-time lark. Their motto: "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels." But energized by the experience, and the fantasies and camaraderie it sparked, they decided to mount an East-Coast tour as The Rock-Bottom Remainders. In this book, each writer/musician? relates a chapter of the adventure from his or her own perspective. A lot of it is hilarious: most of Dave Barry's and Roy Blount, Jr.'s, contributions, for instance, as well as--surprise--much of Amy Tan's. But the book is also reflective, revealing, and at times surprisingly moving. This is a book for fans of any of the authors represented, for those curious about intersections of American pop culture, and for anyone who has ever dreamed of breaking out of the mold
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5.0 out of 5 stars by most of your favorite authors - great Nov. 18 1995
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dave Barry, Kingsolver, Marsh and Stephen King
and the rest. If you like books this one is
for you
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious good fun! April 27 2000
By David J. Loftus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I vaguely noted the news stories when this band of idiots went on the road in 1993, I only ran across this book by chance three days ago. I read it in less than two. Although the whole idea of authors forming a rock band and doing a tour sounds pretty stupid and self-indulgent, the results were not only good for them, but surprisingly moving and inspiring for anyone who might read this book. I'm sure I enjoyed it no less than the two previous reviewers, but I'm a tough grader, so I gave it four stars.
I always knew Stephen King and Dave Barry were regular guys I would just love to meet and have a beer with, but what a shock to find out about the lovely, funny, human sides of Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Al Kooper (the musical director of this motley crew), Dave Marsh (rock critic and editor) and others!
I laughed 'til I cried over Barry's chapter. Everyone has his or her funny moments, but the chapters by Tan, Kingsolver, and Marsh are refreshingly touching and vulnerable, too.
Best quotes:
--King calls himself "a kind of Norman Rockwell version of Freddy Krueger"
--Kooper: "The mere fact that you're reading this right now is a testimony to the selfishness of twenty-three bored people."
--Roy Blount, Jr.: being on stage in a rock and roll band is "like being inside a forest fire that you're helping, however modestly, to spread"
--music critic Joel Selvin: "Most people seem to think critics are as useful as tits on a priest."
--Barry: "Our groupie budget is kinda low, so we're not getting top quality -- at times, they get a little angry at us and throw their walkers at us and stuff like that."
--Barry again: "...you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered Buddy Holly. Here was a guy who had glasses at least as flagrant as mine; a guy who did NOT look like a teen heartthrob, but more like the president of the Audiovisual Club, the kid who always ran the projector for educational films with titles like _The Story of Meat_."
--Tabitha King: "Greil Marcus informed me Southerners think the (...) they call coffee is coffee."
--Kingsolver: "...we all knew no amount of rehearsal could ever make us into a first-rate, or even cut-rate, or irate, or reprobate, rock and roll band."
There are tons of photos, black and white AND color (the ones of Tan in her black leather, chains, and whip for "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and of Marsh in a white prom dress, spattered with ketchup and armed with a plastic knife to attack Stephen King during his showstopping rendition of "Teen Angel" are priceless), all shot by Tabitha King.
The book ends on a weak note: Ms. King is neither the writer nor the humorist that the others are, and Michael Dorris's fable-like reverie just kind of makes you go "huh?"
I'm kicking myself repeatedly for not buying the Rock Bottom Remainders video I saw in a cheapo rack at a Fred Meyer supermarket in Coos Bay, Oregon some years ago....
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amusing, surprising account of writers as rockers. June 9 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Marsh and other famous authors formed an ad hoc rock band for a booksellers' convention, everyone--including them--saw it as a one-time lark. Their motto: "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels." But energized by the experience, and the fantasies and camaraderie it sparked, they decided to mount an East-Coast tour as The Rock-Bottom Remainders. In this book, each writer/musician? relates a chapter of the adventure from his or her own perspective. A lot of it is hilarious: most of Dave Barry's and Roy Blount, Jr.'s, contributions, for instance, as well as--surprise--much of Amy Tan's. But the book is also reflective, revealing, and at times surprisingly moving. This is a book for fans of any of the authors represented, for those curious about intersections of American pop culture, and for anyone who has ever dreamed of breaking out of the mold
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sitting with the cool kids on the bus Oct. 27 2008
By C. Ebeling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
For the 1992 American Booksellers Association (ABA) in Anaheim, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, a San Francisco rock musician who still held a day job--escorting out of town authors to readings and other events--had an idea. What if she could pull together a group of the well-known authors she'd met and transform them into a rock group for some entertainment, with proceeds benefitting a literacy campaign? By the time she finished, she had Ridley Pearson on bass, Dave Barry and Stephen King on guitar, Barbara Kingsolver on keyboards, the Remainderettes--Amy Tan, journalist Tad Bartimus and Goldmark, and the Critics Chorus--variously consisting of Roy Blount, Jr., Dave Marsh, and Greil Marcus. Michael Dorris, Robert Fulghum and Matt Groening were in the mix, too. Legendary rocker Al Kooper tried to direct them. Someone encouraged Don Henley to review them (thumbs down, way down) and the show was caught on video, which led to a hullabaloo with a music publisher. It took a lot out of the very busy schedules of people who were not, with exception of part of really musicians. So what did these mostly 35 - 50-something writers do once it was over?

They decided to go on a benefit tour from Boston to Miami, just like a real rock band, on a bus, the next spring. "Mid-Life Confidential" is a collection of the participants' individual accounts of what really happened. The effect of reading this book is like walking into a loud messy party after everyone else got there. At first references to things that happened in Anaheim don't exactly make sense, but through the aggregation of accounts, the cloud of confusion lifts on, for instance, what the publisher's issue was and how Dave Barry, um, handled it, as well as what Don Henley wrote (thumbs way down). All of these hugely successful writers talk about growing up as the uncool kid for whom this should never have been in the cards and how it was a transformative experience as they bumble through their version of the rock and roll life. There are many laugh out loud passages. There are also some poignant moments--Dorris's son is accidentally killed. Marsh's beloved stepdaughter dies after a valiant struggle against cancer. Bartimus is diagnosed with Lupus and her mother is in the intensive care unit. Kingsolver's first marriage went, as she says, from the ER to the autopsy table. These people were not acquainted when they came together; by the end of the tour they were a healing support group.

It is high fun seeing some of our nation's most successful writers in their mid-life infancy, not to mention the origins of a band that's still playing. This is something of a timepiece: everyone communicates by the latest technology of 1992, the fax machine. No one huddles with a cell phone, no one taps on a laptop. Part "The Commitments," part "This is Spinal Tap" and a dash of "The Breakfast Club," it's about finally getting to hang out with the cool kids on the bus.
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful addition to my Stephen King library Jan. 7 2014
By DDTJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Even though this is a biography of sorts it still is a wonderful addition to my King collection. Its worth every penny to me
5.0 out of 5 stars I love It Dec 10 2013
By Svetlana Bolotova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I give this book a five-star rating mostly because of chapter written by my favourite writer, Stephen King. Everyone knows that he is the King of Horror Fiction, but I like his non-fiction books more. There is something very unusual, almost magical, in seeing a notorious, public man frow a new side. That is why I admired reading about Stephen as a baseball fan ("Faithful"),as a critic ("Danse Macabre"), as a father ("Head down") and now as an amateur guitarist.
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