Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Dead Dad was in ZZ Top by Jon Glaser

My Dead Dad was in ZZ Top:
100% Real*, Never-Before-Seen Documents from the World of Rock and Roll

by Jon Glaser

You may think that Thomas Jefferson really meant what he said, that “all mean are created equal,” but did you know that shortly after writing the Declaration of Independence, he had a vision of the future? A vision of rock-n-roll, mod suits and a “unique blend of talent, charisma, stage presence, sheer beauty and raw sexuality?” Yes, friends, Thomas Jefferson had a vision and that vision was Paul Weller. And so, if you look very closely at the Declaration of Independence, you will find an asterisk next to “all men are created equal” because, clearly, there is no man equal to Paul Weller. It’s true.*

And did you know that Prince’s set list during Steven Spielberg’s daughter's bat mitzvah included songs like “Raspberry Yarmulka” and “When Doves Kvetch?” Also, did you hear that Jesus is actually a really big fan of The Jesus and Mary Chain, but wishes they’d consider losing the drum machine and changing their name? In the words of the Eurythmics (who are not a mother-son band — yes! Mother-son! Through time travel! — like Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes) “Would I lie to you?”*

*Jon Glaser totally would, and so he wrote a 100% Real! And completely false book filled with “found” rock n roll artifacts that reveal the secret histories of different musicians. The jobs they held before hitting it big, rejected band names, tour riders — Glaser searches far and wide to unearth these “treasures.”

My Dead Dad was in ZZ Top is a funny, quick-read book that probably does better with readers who are familiar with the musicians referenced throughout. One does not need in-depth knowledge, but having spent time listening to both classic rock radio and the first incarnation of MTV’s 120 Minutes certainly helps. There are not a lot of music books that reference Yo La Tengo, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, and The Butthole Surfers within such a short collection of pages.

Glaser’s previous writing credits include Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live, and like those shows, not every joke is hilarious, but there were certainly enough to keep me reading. He rides the line between stupid-funny and witty-funny well, and it would be a good book to give to a music-loving friend with a sense of humor. Is it anything groundbreaking? Perhaps not, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Besides, there really isn’t anyone like Paul Weller:


Full disclosure: Harper Perennial sent me this book. I thank them for dedicating a small marketing write-off to my site, and I will continue to be fair in my reviews.

This review is part of Pajiba’s Cannonball Read III, in which participants attempt to read and review 52 books over the course of one year. In order to make up for last year’s 51 books, I’m aiming for 53. The challenge ends December 31, 2011.

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