I get a lot of emails every day asking me to review this person or interview that person, but honestly, I don’t have time to explore the new artists or their music. I can’t keep up with the albums I want to review as it is so to add anything new ones in to the mix is impossible. And let’s be totally honest, most of the stuff I get is so bad, it is nauseating. Then one day I got a request to review a book. That hasn’t happened very often. I actually took the time to read the email and I loved the concept. It is a true story about life on the road and touring with bands. The book was called…this will take awhile…’Memoir of a Roadie: Axl said I mad a great cup of tea…Scott Weiland liked The Carpenters…& Ozzy likes Rosé’ and it was written by Joel Miller. I am going to just call it ‘Memoir of a Roadie’.
Joel Miller’s book covers the time in his life when he was a roadie. It was only a few short years, back around the early 2000’s, but Joel experienced so much. You get a realistic view of what goes on in the life of a roadie. Joel toured with bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Guns ‘N Roses, Poison and The Cranberries and each tour gives us some funny moments, some insane moments and some very sad moments. The book covers his hard, but fun life on the road in his early 20’s as well as the hardships of his life with not being on the road and the dysfunctions of his family.
Do you get stories about sex, drugs and rock & roll…Duh!! But it is the storytelling of those events that makes this book a fun, fast-paced read. Fast-paced because you don’t want to put it down. The chapters are numerous, but short which helps keep a well paced book interesting and page-turning. You’ll get to hear a lot about his jobs with telemarketing, working on movie sets and doing whatever he could to make ends meet. And there is a portion of the book that deals with his tough relationship with his dad who was a Jaguar mechanic and who was sort of friends with Jay Leno. Heck, Joel even got to go over to Jay’s and see that car collection. When Joel’s dad was nearly dying, he had Jay call his dad and we get another funny moment in the book. Jay seems like a really nice guy.
Enough about Jay. You want to hear about the roadie stuff. The book is great in giving you a glimpse of the rough life of a roadie. The long hours, the heavy lifting, the long nights of heavy drinking. It is all there. Joel was very new to being a roadie and was constantly worrying about getting fired especially every time STP called him in to talk to him. Or the time he pissed off Axl Rose. You do get some great moments with the stars as he does get to hang with Scott Weiland, Axl Rose, C.C. Deville and a brief time with the late, great Delores O’Riordan of The Cranberries.
I loved the stories of the pranks the roadies played on each other, the “wind-ups” as he called them. I loved the story about some chick telling him she would “do anything” to get backstage and how he handled her. I loved the Rock in Rio Tour stories with Guns N Roses. I loved the little moments he spent with Scott Weiland and the whole STP tour as he was learning the ropes. I loved how the roadies confiscated an RV at a festival that belonged to another band and they made it their office for the day. I loved that Dimebag Darrel urinated on some guy laying on the ground. I loved so much about the book that I can’t put it all down and plus I don’t really want to give anything away.
The moments when he describes watching these bands from the side of the stage play night after night are the pieces that are really cool to me as he got to see so many great shows from so many great bands and from a perspective that so few get to see. It was a really cool portion of his life that I am glad he captured for us to read.
I would actually give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. There are enough stories to keep you interested to see what comes next and it is a quick and easy read. You aren’t getting trashy details about the stars, we’ve seen enough of that garbage. You are getting his personal experiences and a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at life on the road. That alone is cool enough a reason to read it. If you have some time, pick it up and give it a shot. You can get it at Amazon.com in either paperback or a Kindle version. Link below…(and no, I don’t get any commission on it, I am doing it as a service to you).
Oh yeah, there is a connection between Joel and I. He tells about hanging out at a mansion back when Stone Temple Pilots were recording their album ‘Shangri-La Dee Da’. The mansion he is referring to is where the band was actually doing the recording and the engineer on that album was my brother-in-law Ryan Willams. So it is cool they were in the same place at the same time and probably met even though I don’t think either of them remember it.