Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words
Availability Kindle: YES Nook: YES Paper: NO
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Lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band Divine Weeks, Bill See is now taking what he learned as an indie musician and applying it to becoming an indie author. You can find out more from a website for the book or Bill’s blog.
Divine Weeks, an up and coming rock band, cram into a cargo van on their first North American tour. Playing to almost empty clubs or in the bars of Canadian brothels, they struggle to build a fan base, one person at a time.
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. Many people see the life of a touring rock band as one long party. A life of limos, jets, and tour buses with roadies and groupies taking care of all your needs. For some bands it is. For most it isn’t.
In 33 Days Bill See tells the story of the first national tour of Divine Weeks, a Los Angeles based band, during the summer of 1987. As the subtitle explains, instead of jets and groupies it was Touring In A Van, Sleeping On Floors, Chasing A Dream. 33 Days is also the story of what the majority of bands that make it past the local level experience: Playing in clubs where a sellout means a couple hundred people, not tens of thousands and weeknight shows where you hope you’ll make enough to earn gas money to make it to your next gig — ten or twelve hours down the highway.
The music fan in me liked 33 Days for the inside look at what touring is like for the kind of band I’ve gravitated to for the last several years. I had a clue - multiply a pittance of a cover charge by forty or fifty and compare that with a quick barebones estimate of expenses. But, you can’t get a sense of the highs and lows unless you live it, even if only vicariously. For those interested in such things 33 Days delivers.
All readers, even if they don’t give a hoot about the workings of the music business, will still find a compelling tale. In many ways, this is a classic coming-of-age story. For See, this tour is a chance to escape his dysfunctional family and test his own limits. Many of his band mates have home issues they’re also working out. How this group of young men come together as a team while dealing with their individual issues is a story anyone could learn from and enjoy.
As an avid reader of indie books, I frequently cite recent music business history as an explanation of where the publishing business is going — 33 Days is a primer on how that will happen. Indie authors who lament how much work it takes to get their book noticed could learn from the ethos of See and Devine Weeks.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five stars