It’s a Long Way to the Top – Diary of a 21st Century Rock n Roll Band – ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’

Kurt Dahl leads a double life. First and foremost, he is the drummer of Saskatoon rock band One Bad Son ( Second, he is writing his Master’s of Law thesis on the future of the music industry, and how artists will continue to make money in a digital world.

The Rock and Roll Report contacted him to write a diary for his latest venture: driving to Vancouver to record new songs with Default drummer Danny Craig as producer. Below are his entries…

Saturday Jan. 31 – ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’

On the road to Vancouver from Kelowna. Reading Warren Zevon bio ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’. What a genius. Speaking of which, here are the 5 greatest rock books I have read lately:

1) Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend: If there is any question about who the craziest, funniest, and most bio-worthy musicians of all time is, just look at the thickness of this bio: five times more things to write about than any other rock musician before or since. A definite starting point for anyone who has ever pondered smashing up a hotel room.

2) I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon: One of the most intelligent, literate writers in rock n roll, a true American great, sadly underrated. Put it this way: everyone covers Dylan, but one of the only artists Dylan ever covers is Zevon. His self-titled 1976 album just go re-issued – buy a couple tunes on iTunes and see why the album is my #1 of all time.

3) Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock’N’Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock ‘N’Roll (Lester Bangs collection): Lester Bangs was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, and it just so happens he wrote about one thing and one thing only: rock and roll. Therefore, he has been overlooked by many writers and lit fans, but should NEVER be overlooked by rock n roll fans. The story he makes up to explain the making of Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ makes my arm hairs stand up when I read it – it’s that bloody good. The only rock writer who partied harder than those he wrote about. Way harder.

4) Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town (examines Bowie’s 3 great Berlin albums: Low, ‘Heroes’, Lodger): Love it when rock books actually focus on what really matters: the music. And the music of focus here is so brilliant that it is warranted to say the least. Some non-music stuff is great too – like when Bowie’s diet is described during this time as a “white diet”, as in, he only drank milk (for the necessary vitamins and protein) and snorted coke (for inspiration). That’s it. And he didn’t do it for some reality show punch line.

5) Diary of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star: Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople: Great perspective on a band that is perpetually on the rise, but perhaps never really gets there. Great quote: “perhaps we’re alright where we are; forever on the way up.”

Kurt Dahl