Almost Famous meets Reservoir Dogs in Inked editor Buhrmester’s debut novel about a quartet of wannabe young criminals who probably should’ve stayed in school.
Here’s the true story: In 1973, after three sold-out performances at Madison Square Garden, Led Zeppelin had the money for their shows—$203,000—ripped off from a safe-deposit box at the Drake Hotel. Neither the perps nor the money were ever found, and because of the lost revenue, the release of Zep’s concert movie The Song Remains the Same was delayed for three years. Here’s the fake, but highly entertaining resolution from Buhrmester: Nineteen-year-old Baltimorean-turned-New Yorker Patrick Sullivan and his merry band of rock dorks pulled off the heist. Patrick’s Baltimore posse, such as it is, will never be mistaken for the Gambino Family. Hapless Alex should probably find another best pal, considering how Patrick has betrayed him. Smart-ass Frenchy lives for his guitar and little else. And Keith is the dimmest bulb in a chandelier that was pretty dim to start with. Eventually, the boys get mixed up with more musicians-cum-criminals, the whack-job leader of a motorcycle gang called the Holy Ghost Christians and some fanatical Zep followers, all of which leads to a denouement that would bring a smile to Jimmy Page’s face. Buhrmester demonstrates an affection for rock ’n’ roll’s attendant trappings—the camaraderie, the excesses, the lust for both financial success and artistic fulfillment—but never forgets that without the music, the whole thing means nothing. The plot is nothing to write home about, but what’s important here are the quirky characters, the snarky Elmore-Leonard-meets-Lester-Bangs attitude, the goofball atmosphere and, most vitally, a heartfelt affection for all that rocks.
Casual music fans will enjoy the heck out of this hilarious and gritty tale; rock fanatics will adore it.