How would you like a six-figure marketing job at the hallowed record label that signed everyone who counts in the last fifty years of pop music? Before you answer, we’ll throw in a plush office, a hip assistant and a bottomless expense account.
When Dan Kennedy is hired by a major label he thinks he has been handed a pass to the secret kingdom of rock and roll. In reality, he has walked into an episode of The Office.
Whether directing a gangsta rapper’s video or battling his better judgement to create a campaign celebrating twenty-five years of Phil Collins’ love songs, he’s in way over his head. And from the looks of those around the boardroom, he’s not alone.
Cameos by aging pop stars, dinosaur music-biz kingpins, hip-hop thugs, Iggy Pop and others make up the cast of this brilliant power ballad to rock and roll, office life and all the wage slaves who’ve done their damndest to hide from Human Resources when the axe falls.
If you have ever bought a record, worked in an office, tried to get into a creative industry or suspected that some things are not all they’re cracked up to be, Rock On will make you laugh more than you thought possible.
About the Author
Dan Kennedy is a regular contributor to McSweeney's and his work has appeared in The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category, Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists, GQ magazine and other publications. He lives in New York.
The music business isn't pretty, but it's pretty funny.Humor writer and McSweeney's contributor Kennedy (Loser Goes First, 2003) recounts his short career as a marketing executive for Atlantic Records in this alternately hilarious and depressing memoir. Anyone who cares about pop music will find much here to inspire disgust and dismay. The toxic egos, office politics, stupidity and sheer corporate cheesiness of the modern music business makes working in rock-'n'-roll seem about as fulfilling as managing a strip-mall discount shoe store. Kennedy, a pop-addled, self-deprecating hipster scribe in the Chuck Klosterman mode, mines this dreary state of affairs for dependable laughs, but the bland, low-intensity awfulness of the milieu eventually begins to grate. An extended account of a transcendent Iggy Pop concert livens things up, as Kennedy, swept up in Pop's charisma and anti-establishment theatrics, channels Lester Bangs in endearingly direct and emotional prose that contrasts sharply with the low-key, deadpan miserablism that dominates the rest of the text. But Kennedy doesn't always play fair. After mocking songstress Jewel for selling out her integrity by participating in an advertising campaign for women's razors, he gives the Great Ig a free pass, declining to mention the punk godfather's licensing agreement with a cruise-ship line. Throughout, Kennedy displays too much self-congratulatory smugness - cloaked in disingenuous irony - about the foibles of his colleagues to fully engage the reader. However, assignments such as a campaign celebrating 25 years of love songs by Phil Collins do make the sour tone understandable.A fitfully funny, ultimately sad look at the continuing decay of our popular culture. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st February 2008
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 13.5 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.263