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Words and Guitar

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 10, 2005 2:36PM

Chicagoist was killing time in the new arrivals section of after-words, our favorite used book store, on Friday night when we spotted a book of essays on rock music. As we quickly snatched it off the shelf, we spotted another. Then another. Thinking we were oh-so-clever we asked the woman behind the desk: “So did some rock writer come in here and unload their whole collection?” “Actually,” she replied, “yes.” It turns out that Mr. Rock Writer comes in twice a year and dumps off several unwanted texts sent to him by publishers. We stupidly forgot to ask A) who this mysterious person is and B) if they could call us next time it happens.

One of the books we managed to snag was So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star by Jake Slichter, former drummer for the former band Semisonic. You remember Semisonic, don’t you? Little song called “Closing Time?” Expanding on some of the road diaries he used to write for the Semisonic website, Slichter gives a blow-by-blow account of why most bands may never make it big despite buttloads of talent and even the ones that do can be made to cower in fear over two words: recoupable debt.

Will it be the leopard drums or the zebra ones on Saturday?It might be recommended reading for Jimmy Chamberlin, former drummer for the former band Smashing Pumpkins. Chamberlin, who’s been looking a little like Anthony LaPaglia lately, plays the Double Door this Saturday and releases his first (last?) solo album under the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex moniker on January 25th. In an article in the Trib’s Arts and Entertainment section this weekend, Greg Kot praises aspects of the new album but notes that the record won’t even be getting airplay at The Zone despite music director James Van Osdol’s oft-professed love for the Pumpkins. Ouch. But will Q101 follow suit?

Completing the rock-meets-words triumvirate for us this week is an appearance on Tuesday January 11th by German DJ Christian Gasser at the Goethe-Institut (surprisingly not a typo!). An event that combines the typical book reading with a mix tape, Gasser will be here promoting his book My First Sanyo: Confessions of a Pop Fanatic. Unfortunately, it appears we’ll have to learn German before we can understand how to “rumkriegen” a girl with “Popmusik” or know exactly what “impact trousers” are as the book doesn’t seem to be available in a U.S. edition yet. Maybe after-words has a branch in Munich…