by D. R. Haney –
Just as bebop was the soundtrack to Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg and Neil Cassady, so the sounds of CBGB’s, The Velvet Underground, Iggy and the Stooges, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and New York Dolls fuel D.R. Haney’s odyssey `Banned for Life’.
The novel’s central character Jason Maddox, through a series of tough-luck breaks finds himself in New York playing as an aspiring punk singer-songwriter, constantly at odds with the society he’s supposed to fit in with and the rebels, punks and underground heroes he aspires to being with. Traveling with the volatile, motor-mouth, `Peewee’ he strikes up an unlikely friendship, driven by desire to create the next big moment in music. The book then turns toward Maddox seeking his life-long hero whose songs set him on this path and the gumshoe drudgery of tracking down someone under the radar by word-of-mouth.
Raw, profane and utterly brilliant, Haney’s style is Henry Rollins, Bill Hicks, Jack Kerouac, Bret Easton Ellis and Norman Mailer all in a kaleidoscopic mash of imagery and poetry. If you like Danny Sugerman, Keith Richard’s recent `Life’ and Bret Easton Ellis’ `Less Than Zero’, then this is for you. Maddox is wry, bemused and trying to make sense of it all throughout and his future remains uncertain. `Peewee’ is one of those great literary creations, painful to read, yet a road-crash you can’t look away from.
The descriptions of the bands, the gigs, the attempts to keep the dream alive while trying to get your voice heard above the crowd ring true throughout, and the wonderful descriptive passages for me, make `Banned for Life’ the `On the Road’ for the generation that grew up listening to and chanting pretty vacant. Everyone who has ever been in a band will enjoy this, but please, don’t let your granny find it!