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.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
NOFX and the Alkaline Trio
One thing you’ve learned
When Justin joins as second guitar, the band becomes louder. And louder is always better,