Narcissism runs rampant in UK rock ’n’ roll as depicted by first-novelist Sampson, who once managed a Liverpool pop group and so knows whereof he speaks. Regrettably, he speaks here through the voice and head of Keva McCluskey, one of the dreariest antagonists in recent fiction. Keva is pissed off into his upper follicles because his group, The Grams, has been beaten out by an inferior group, Sensira, for the cover of New Musical Express. What’s more, that little twat Helmet, Sensira’s leader, steals the wisdom out of Keva’s mouth while never mentioning The Grams, with whom he played earlier. Meanwhile, Keva’s turning 30, his youth gone. Then Guy de Burrett, a once-hot-shot manager just out of rehab, wants to start up an artist’s label. When Guy hears The Grams, he knows they have soul to burn. “Desert Rain” hits the top 40 at 29, and the band is in. Keva finds he’s tired at the top, but The Grams drive mobs mental in the States. Money chews at the soul, Keva gets the shakes as they’re about to play Central Park, yet his hallucinations lead to writing “Wellness.”
Much harsher than Almost Famous. Too bad it’s not nearly as good.