Normally, I never take book review requests. Unfortunately, my writing schedule is too busy, although I wish I could review each title I’m kindly asked to consider. But when Joel Miller emailed me about reading and reviewing his latest non-fiction title aptly called Memoir of a Roadie, after explaining his book contained stories about the Stone Temple Pilots, the Cranberries, GnR, and Poison, I couldn’t resist.
I’m a music junkie. I make it a point to read autobiographies/biographies/memoirs by anyone in the business of rock ‘n’ roll, such as musicians, wives, girlfriends, groupies, managers, music executives, etc. This was going to be my first chance to go behind the concert curtain and see first-hand through the eyes of a roadie, something I always wanted to know. So check out my review for Joel’s book.
Title: Memoir of a Roadie
Author: Joel Miller
Genre: Memoir, autobiography, non-fiction, music
Publisher: Albion Entertainment, Inc
Publication Date: August 10, 2020
Blurb: Joel Miller is an ex- roadie for Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Stone Temple Pilots, & The Cranberries. His autobiography is an often-hilarious personal account of a young man in his early 20’s trying to be a “good” roadie while also trying to understand life’s big picture. Through the advice of rock stars and career roadies Joel tries to find the pathway to roadie righteousness.
I was asked to review this book, and I said yes, because I love reading about everything rock ‘n’ roll. Plus, I’ve never read an autobiography by a roadie before.
If you’re expecting a tell-all about the rock stars Joel roadied for, you won’t get that here. These are Joel’s stories through his eyes about life on the road and how he became a roadie. You’ll meet the many roadies, tour managers, and everyone else who goes on the road to make a concert happen. There are glimpses of various rock bands, but nothing too personal or titillating.
The book has a nice opening. Joel is at a turning point in his life. He can’t be a kid anymore, but he’s not sure how to be that adult that he is. So when an opportunity present itself to go on the road, he takes the gamble.
I liked his spirit of adventure. He didn’t take the expected route all young adults take when it comes to making decisions about their lives. To Joel, life is about living, and I like his attitude. Did he do a bit too much partying, have one fling too many? Of course. Life is about experience and he learned many a lesson, but also enjoyed many a time, too.
I also liked the details about his job. Now, some readers might find this stalls the story and even call the expositions boring, but being a music junkie, I wanted to know what each job he did entailed.
I will admit the “party” stories did become tedious. If you read about one party among roadies, you’ve read them all.
I did find out the Stone Temple Pilots are really nice guys, and that the cliché of party till you puke does apply to 80s hair metal bands. As for the other groups he worked for, they were pretty professional. One can understand, though, through the eyes of a roadie, how easy it is for rock stars to become alcoholics and drug addicts. Life on the road, through a roadie’s point of view, details how they are detached from the “normal” world and have created one of their own, where they meet many outsides from venue to venue, the outsiders being the hangers-on, groupies, and fans who want to meet the band. I really liked how Joel captured this.
The band and their workers really do become “family.” It’s their world. Their party. Anyone else is a visitor who is dismissed the next day as the band and their workers roll on to the next city. Very nicely captured.
I wished for a something a little bit more when it came to the ending, but Joel being Joel, ended it how I expected him to. Yes, a bit disappointing, but after spending two hundred and ninety-nine pages with him, I wasn’t surprised.
If you’re looking for a tale about rock stars having their secrets exposed by a roadie, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for a detailed account of a roadie’s life on the road, and what the crew do in-between their work, then you’ll enjoy this book. Joel has an excited voice throughout the story that matches his actions. Well done.
A read that I recommend. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.
Have you read Joel’s book? If so, do you agree with my review? If you haven’t read his book, after reading my review, would you be willing to?