Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Chickbassist by Ross E. Lockhart

Chickbassist by Ross E. Lockhart

109 pages


Lazy fascist

Chickbassist is a short and sweet novel just crossing the line between novella and novel. In rock and roll terms it is a very solid EP, one where every song is destined for the setlist devoid of filler. This is a passionate period piece of early 80’s rock and roll that flow with a prose rhythm. Lockhart has a way with words most on display in Track 10 (Chapter if you’re a stickler) which an almost poetic piece about warming up on drums at a band’s practice space.

The book is mix tape dictated by Lockhart. I was lucky enough to see Lockhart read from that track at Bizarrocon here in Portland. Since I had a functioning tape deck I still use from time to time I was given a copy of the soundtrack the author made as a mix tape. I am sure he has a setlist some where and you can track down the songs on youtube or Itunes. It doesn’t hurt the effect of the novel for sure.

The story of many characters who fade in and out of the story the main characters are Eden Locke the IBenz playing bassist for a band called Heroes for Goats, a Trans woman named Terrri and a rocker named Robbie Storm to name a few. There is a reggae band on the rise, a Grrrl band full of Jennifers named Jennifer Army and several other interesting settings in this short novel.

The period stuff is done gently and effectively in a powerful opening chapter meant to sync up Eden’s life to her favorite tape that has Velvet Underground’s White light/white heat on the A side and Live at Max’s Kansas City on the B side. I loved the effect of this chapter, but that leads me to what makes this a solid 5 for 5 star book. The effect it has. In the hands of someone less assured of their use of language this might be a boring tale. It’s not, Lockhart catches lightining in bottle by grabbing a hold of the raw feeling and energy of the era and buttering it up with all the smells pleasant and unpleasant of a pre-internet rock and roll.

Chickbassist would be a great opening act for Robert R.Mcammon’s rock and roll novel The Five. Doesn’t matter how you get to the show but this is cover charge worth paying

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