(K. Brent Tomer),
THIS Christmas, booksellers are featuring several memoirs by rock musicians in their product queues. The authors are not all household names, yet new volumes by Elvis Costello (an English singer-songwriter, pictured), Chrissie Hynde (of The Pretenders), Patti Smith (a New York musician), Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney) and others have already made it onto the year’s bestsellers lists. The books are diverse in style and tone: Costello’s witty “Unfaithful Music” is a colourful timeline for which the singer serves as his own emcee; Smith’s “M Train” is a sentimental journey through cities of the world and the pathways of her singular mind; Hynde’s “Reckless” is an oral history with an unfinished ending; and Brownstein’s “Hunger” is a self-effacing primer on the last of rock’s glory days.
If rock ‘n’ roll has waned on the pop charts for more than a decade, why would the personal histories of artists who hail from the heydays of terrestrial FM radio and MTV matter to readers in 2015? One answer lies in the book-tour trend, in which such authors trek across America and Europe signing copies of their hardbacks,…Continue reading