The Big Wheel: Rock and Roll and Roadside Attractions

Bruce Thomas, Author Faber & Faber $10.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-571-12944-7
Imagine a rock 'n' roll star with shades of Marcel Proust's introspection, Hunter Thompson's sensibility and William Least Heat-Moon's ability to relate atmosphere. Such is Thomas's account of his experiences as the bass player for Elvis Costello and the Attractions, in which he details the absurdities of rock 'n' roll life. There are childish pranks: Cutting off a fellow drinker's awful tie and then drinking beer out of his wife's shoe as an apology, only to discover it's impossible with an open-toe shoe. There are absurdist moments: getting chased in Disney World after a minor indiscretion and watching the flashing light illuminate the mouse ears atop the police car's roof. Just below the surface, however, lurk hours of boredom breeding alienation: ``Having no sense of place was beginning to unravel just a little sense of self.'' There are always too many miles to go with too much alcohol as company. Thomas's discovery of the trivial forces and common failings of life form the dark undercurrent of the book. Thomas is an honest storyteller of the first rank. He's not always likeable, as when his disaffection makes him belittle others, but he's always observant--particularly about himself. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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