33 Percent Rockstar

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

For every successful band there are thousands who don’t make it. And each band has a bunch of musicians like Scott who had a dream that has been eroded over many tears of trial and tribulation.
Despite that, the buzz of playing live and still having hope drives them on.
Scott’s relationships mirror his musical career. Missteps and misunderstandings and a sad reckoning that the best may have been lost along the way.
An interesting antidote to those glossy pop/rock bios tracing the unrelenting and untroubled rise of the latest superstar.
This book was provided as an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review. This book was reviewed on Amazon on 19 July 2019.
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As the antidote to the many music bios which describe the twists and turns on the road to stardom, 33% Percent Rockstar chronicles author SC Sterling’s attempt to hit the heights.

Sterling admits he wasn’t a natural musician, and in many respects his story is one of how his dogged determination did at least get him on stage, on tour and into the recording studio. However, glamourous it wasn’t. Whilst bands form and then split, an enduring constant is the sleep deprived tours, the gallons of beer, the financial paucity and the grungy venues.

Sterling’s style is open and easy to read. Alongside his musical timeline he addresses with some candour his love life and some of his own issues. Despite this, I found it hard to really build a picture of him – possibly because there’s relatively little backstory about him, perhaps covered in his earlier book Teenage Degenerate. There’s little context about what else was going on in his life whilst he was playing. For the most part his various bandmates remain thinly drawn characters.

Sterling’s challenge, given his honesty, was to make the repetitiveness and boredom that unknown bands endure as interesting as the highs that come on stage. The story of how one of his bands travelled over 5000 miles following some of the 2004 Warped tour does this. They play in parking lots to punters making their way into the venue, hoping to make enough money from CD and merchandise sales to fund fuel and food. The way they feed off of the reaction from the fans, the sense of being part of something they aren’t actually part of makes a great read. 

Sadly it doesn’t quite carry over to the rest of the book, so when Sterling finally hangs up his bass, it doesn’t quite carry the resonance it might otherwise have had.
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This book gave what seemed like an accurate (and sort of hellish) portrayal of life in a good but not great rock band: practice, drink, perform, break up, repeat. The writing was not particularly strong and there were a lot of abrupt transitions.
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I've read a bunch of biographies by all manner of famous rock musicians before. You usually get two kinds: a look into a person with surprising depth despite their public persona, or a self-indulgent tour of the many excesses that public persona has managed to survive.

This one has elements of both, since the author shows moments of self-awareness as well as moments of self-destruction, as you'd expect in this kind of story. I have to admit that I'm not familiar with the author's work as a musician, but it was fascinating to read about his many trials and tribulations while trying to make it in the business and ultimately mostly failing to do so.

Plus, I'm about the same age as him and an amateur musician, so I could connect with many of his experiences.

I enjoyed this one, and I might try to find some of his music just to complement the book.
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This book tells the story of how hard it is to become famous. How much hard work and years of ordeal you have to go through to try and get your name in lights and then even then you might not reach the heights that you want to. It gives you a great glimpse into life backstage and everything that goes into a musician. A great storyline, and fab characters
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Brilliant, well written story of a wannabe musician. Travel through his first auditions, gigs, recordings and loves. Highly recommend it if you love underground live music. Full review on Tea and Cake for the Soul.
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A very good book: engaging, fascinating and well written.
I like the behind the scene, the story and how the story was told.
i think is a must read for rock music fan.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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