What a delightfully odd little book this is. Presented as an old manual mixed with a narrator that’s rather Lemony-Snicket-meets-Ted-Wilson, Supernatural Strategies For Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group manages to be just as funny as it is strange. Throughout, Ian F. Svenious injects enough knowing truth that anyone who has ever involved themselves with musicians will recognize.
The idea is this: During a séance, the ghost of The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones offered advice on forming a group, “accompanied by a vague scent of Moroccan spice and the rustling sound of suede on corduroy.” I let out an audible Ha!when I read the following:
Can we somehow become renowned without dying?
Faking one’s death is an obvious route, and is often accomplished — albeit in a metaphorical sense — in collusion with the PR Industry. First one must create a record which is sensationally acclaimed. Then one must explode at the apex of its career.
[…]The La’s, the Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, the Sex Pistols, and The Specials all successfully used this virtual death technique to ensure renown, as did David Bowie when he fired his group Spiders From Mars onstage while their concert was being filmed at the Hammersmith Odeon for theatrical release.
Which is, of course, completely true until festival season 25 years from that “death,” when the living members of three-quarters of those bands reunite for a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Church at Glastonbury or Coachella. A tidy profit and a bit of personal nostalgia — They can be loved as before.
(Lest you think I’m making fun: With Noel Gallagher as my witness, I would succumb to my own metaphorical perishing if I could see the Stone Roses live.)
(See the rest of my review at Glorified Love Letters.)