I am not and never have been what Steve Almond calls a Drooling Fanatic. In his estimation, DFs don't play an instrument (I used to play the guitar, though not particularly well). DFs own "at least 3,000 albums at any given moment, with a core of our collection represented by any three of four configurations (digital, compact disc, vinyl, and cassette)." Sorry; I happily gave all my albums to my ex-husband and haven't seen even a cassette for years. I've never loaned a musician money or worked as a college DJ, other marks of a DF.
And yet, I truly enjoyed Almond's book Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, a series of essays on music and loving music and writing about music and why U2 sucks even if Sunday Bloody Sunday makes you want to toss back a Guinness, throw a brick at a British oppressor and get a shamrock tattoo.
Emma Trelles reviewed the book for the Herald when it first came out and wrote that the book's real delight is "Almond's spiritual and literal travels through the anti-glam life of a music writer, a vocation he endured mostly because of his utter love for the subject." I enjoyed those bits a lot - I'll never regret not getting to cover the Grammys - and chapters about falling in love with Nil Lara at the old South Beach haunt Stephen Talkhouse and the rise of Liberty City hip hop are terrific.
But I also loved Almond's utterly insane defense of Styx's Paradise Theater, his line-by-line breakdown of the dreadful Toto song Africa and his hilarious random lists, such as Ten Things You Can Say to Piss Off a Music Critic ("Sonic Youth - are they the ones that do Pass the Dutchie?") or Rock's Biggest Assholes (U2 clocks in at no. 1, with the Beastie Boys at 4 and Ted Nugent at 9.)
Almond, who worked at the Miami New Times, is a terrific writer, funny and profane, a guy who seems like he might have been kind of a douchebag at times in his past, but he's a self-aware douchebag, at least. I'd read anything he has to write about music (particularly since he apparently shares my enduring love for the Gourds' bordering-on-genius cover of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice). If you love music, reading about music or arguing about music, check out this book. It may not save your life, but it's pretty damned entertaining.