Author Tags: Music
“Anyone with the same degree of musical proficiency as I who calls themselves a musician should be strung up on the roadside like Mussolini.” -- Mike Soret
On par with John Armstrong's Guilty Of Everything (New Star), an autobiographical account of John Armstrong’s life as Buck Cherry in Vancouver’s old-school punk scene (“a non-stop carnival of debauchery”) and Michael Turner’s better-known Hard Core Logo (Arsenal), Mike Soret’s seriously impolite and unabashedly original Confessions of a Local Celebrity: A Tale of Rags to No Rags (Belgravian Press $16) is more playful and revealing than most readers will be able to handle—which is more or less it’s validation. It’s a memoir of his long-term affiliation with a West Coast swing band, the Molestics. “They made us call it swing,” he recalls, “but we were a punk band.” The bass player Gilles Roy says the name was an insurance policy against any future respectability.
This is a very, very funny book by a clever writer. It is rife with proudly stupid behaviour, like the time Soret was on a yacht with the head of A&B Sound records and proceeded to drunkenly insult him and try to pick a fight. When the head honcho of Vancouver's most powerful record store asked for the name of the creep's band, vowing to never allow their records to be sold in his store, he was given the name of a rival band.
Soret’s disdain for mainstream schlock (Michael Bublé) and success can be hilarious. Often he veers into excess, of course, stating that suicide is about the bravest thing a person can accomplish, but does manage to find stuff to say that is shocking in its fearless candour, such as, “Everyone loves to drive drunk; it’s just something nobody is supposed to admit to just 'cause a few people die. It's not like people don't get run over by sober people.” When deep cynicism is coupled with refreshing honesty, it certainly makes for its own form of literature—part philosophy, part petulance. “Originality is one part vanity,” he writes, “and one part ignorance. The only thing new under the sun is packaging.”
With apocalyptic self-loathing Soret concludes by claiming he has been trying for years to kill off Molestic Guy. “In spite of all this typing, I hope I’m finally over myself. That really would be some excellent riddance.” It’s not exactly Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar but, hey, it’s an ending. 978-0-9811694-2-2
Alan Twigg [BCBW 2010]