As a gift this past Christmas, I was really excited to read “Start With a Dream: A Drummer’s Journey from Rock & Roll to T.V. to Broadway” by Joey Cassata. I had heard Joey on 3 Sides of the Coin talking about it and I was a huge fan of his show ‘Z Rock’ and his band Z02 so this was a no brainer.
I started this book back in late December and early January. I painstakingly got through about 100 pages and put it down. I didn’t pick it up again until my vacation at the end of July. I was bound and determined to finish the book while on vacation and I did.
So why was the first 100 pages so hard to get through? Basically it was Joey talking about his childhood, I mean young childhood and his love for Kiss and Wrestling and Drumming. He talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. I felt he spent way too much time in this area. I know he was building up to show what his motivations were, but I was able to pick up on that pretty quickly.
Now, if you can make it past that, the book gets to be really fantastic. Once he starts getting in to his actual bands and he started seeing success, the stories were sensational. They were funny, sad and they taught a lot of lessons for anyone wanting to try and take this same route in to stardom. The music business (and show business) is hard and it will chew you up and spit you out without even a thought.
Joey goes through his bands of Playground, KISSNATION, ZO2 and a ton of other bands he was in. He talks about his show on IFC called Z Rock and you get a lot of behind the scenes look at what went on with the show and the business behind it. And you get his unexpected journey to Broadway. If you like wrestling as much as Joey does, then there are a lot of wrestling stories as he tries to develop his own show using a bunch of famous wrestlers.
What I loved about the book was that he didn’t focus on the sex and the partying as that had been done a million times before. He stuck to stories that were funny and cool, especially a lot of the behind the scenes stories on when Z02 toured with Kiss. Heck, he even got Gene and Paul to play Wiffle Ball with him and we now know that Gene had a nickname for Joey which was “Buttafucco”. All the cool stories about KissNation, his Kiss Tribute band, and about how close his band Playground came to making it, but never quite getting there.
He stuck with stories that were heart warming and sad such as his love for his mom and his wife as well as the passing of his mom. He talks about his deadbeat dad and about being homeless not once, but twice as a child.
Plus, you get all the drama there is about being in a band and in being on a T.V. show. I loved learning about his thoughts on Z02 and his relationship with both Paulie & Dave Z as well as the backstabbing control freak of a manager the band had. It was cool to learn how Z02 ended and why the show didn’t get picked up for a third season. It was those tidbits that made this an enjoyable read.
Joey doesn’t hold back on his thoughts about former managers, band mates and life in general. I do feel he held back on the real dirty trash because he wrote this for his kids so they could have in writing, the trials and tribulations that he went through to be successful which is why I think some of the really dirty stuff was left out. Or it could be that he was just a great guy that only drank and never had wild parties.
Now, if you can get past the first 100 pages, the last almost 400 pages are well worth it. I always find it fun to learn what a person goes through to make it in the business. Joey never got super-sized famous, but he was what I would call very successful as he was able to make a good living off playing drums and doing what he loves. He met so many famous people that are now his friends. He is a creative and very ambitious self-made man. He didn’t wait for things to happen to him and he went out and did what he had to do to make it and he did just that. I would give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. It would’ve been higher if he would’ve streamlined the opening because it took me over 6 months to want to pick it back up again and give it at try and now I am glad that I did.