Sunday, January 18, 2009

Getting in Tune

Punk is coming ... but it's not here yet. It's the fall of 1976, and 20-year-old guitarist Daniel Travers's life is a mess. His band, the Killjoys, is essentially going nowhere; the pills he's popping are making him crazy; and the voices banging around his head have him convinced that he's a bleedin' quadropheniac. Then the phone rings, a new agent offering a weeklong gig at the exotic Mai Tai Hotel, hundreds of miles away in Puente Harbor, Wash. With an imagined Pete Townshend of the Who whispering encouragement--"It'll be like the Marquee in `64, mate!"--Daniel takes the gig and drags his talented but combative band out onto the road. Told that Jimi Hendrix and Heart started out at the Mai Tai, Daniel sees the gig as his best chance to ditch his problems and continue his search for Townshend's Universal Chord, the magical set of notes that will restore harmony to his life. Yet when the Killjoys hit Puente Harbor, bar-brawling bikers, an enticing groupie with ambitions of her own, and the haunting vision of a punkette left behind all combine to test Daniel's friendships and his belief in the promise of the Universal Chord. Getting in Tune, so full of the low grit of small-club rock 'n' roll and the transcendent spirit that elevates the music, plays like a twisting, ear-banging melody. Step in, can you hear it? The band is tuning up right now....

It has taken me a long while to get through this book. Finally I just had to sit down and read it through. It took me long not just because of time constrictions in the past month, but because I just really didn't get into it. I found it to be repetitive, stuck in the same rhythm chapter after chapter. It even got to the point of being a bit predictable.

The characters seemed to work together well, to a point, but, then, on the other end, I had to kind of wonder how these men even became band mates in the first place. All of the women who were introduced were just base line characters and didn't really add anything to the plot at all, with the exception of Kitten, who I felt had no depth beyond her superficial surface.

Overall, the book was a little bit on the Blah side. Didn't excite me, but, at the same time, it wasn't the worse I have read. Would I pick it up again? Probably not. Would I recommend it? Yes, as I think every book deserves a chance and there are always fans for a book to be had. Plus, it was a cultural book, a good cultural book...just one I didn't care for.

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