Never Mind The Pollacks

Book Reviews | Feb 19th, 2007

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Author: Neal Pollack
Publisher: Perennial
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 260
Retail Price: 9.99
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Neil Pollack, the character in this Neal Pollack book, is the sleazy, filthy, disgusting rock n’ roll version of Forrest Gump.

In a way, he’s the anti-Gump. Throughout his life, events transpire to make Pollock, a cynical and unstable rock critic, the prime mover for all the weird coincidences and chance encounters that have led to the most interesting movements and moments in the rock n’ roll continuum: He introduces neighbor Elvis Presley to Sun Records’ Sam Phillips, discovers Bob Dylan and bangs Joan Baez, invites an unknown Lou Reed to an Andy Warhol party, fucks the psychosis into Iggy Pop, becomes the fifth Ramone, visits England and preaches political punk to the Sex Pistols, and becomes a surrogate father to Kurt Cobain, inevitably setting him up with Courtney Love. Not to mention inspiring everyone from the Rolling Stones to the MC5 to the New York Dolls to Bruce Springsteen.

The book isn’t just a fun romp through rock n’ roll history, with references that even the most obsessed rocker would appreciate, but also a search for the true essence of rock. Pollock, the character, is a rock n’ roll critic, forever on the move to find the truth in rock n’ roll. It wouldn’t be fair to say that he creates styles of rock as he goes along, but discovers the potentials of rock in others, and then abandons them when they sell out or can’t retain their initial – sometimes depraved, always raw – energy.

Throughout the book, he’s haunted by an old bluesman, the original rock n’ roller, and every musical adventure Pollock goes on is in some way a search for that essence of that original bluesman. The bluesman periodically shows up, offering Pollock futuristic glimpses into worlds of rock that have transcended rock but are out of Pollock’s musical grasp – namely, funk, hip-hop and rap.

What I love about this book is that even for being a silly Gump-ish book, Pollack (the author) does show a real passion for true rock n’ roll, correctly ignoring the the British invasion (besides the Stones), indulgent classic and prog rock, the metal scene, and watered-down alternative. The mainstream history of rock n’ roll, those who read Rolling Stone and believe crap like Radiohead and Oasis are rock n’ roll torchbearers and the Beatles are the greatest band ever, is personified by the character of the narrator, a successful, college-educated rock critic who is assigned to cover the life of Pollack (the character). By following the life of Pollack, the narrator slowly becomes unhinged by jealousy and the power of true rock, turning into the primal animal he was bred not to become, and yet is the true essence of rock n’ roll.

Sure, the book is somewhat narcissistic, but as Pollack (the author) says in his preface: “You can suck my big fat best-selling dick!” Now that’s rock n’ roll.

Bottom Line: The Forrest Gump of Motherfucking Rock N’ Roll.
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