The Book

Praise for "Off the Record"

by John Sekerka
Thrust Quarterly/Cosmik Debris

The inevitable document of the late great TAB may seem redundant to one and all, but the stuff of legend does require a proper perspective. I tend to abhor vulture tomes picking at recently squashed rock and roll road kill, but "Off The Record" manages to clarify as humanly possible, the sordid laundry of everyone involved in the meteoric rise and crash of America's favourite junkie guitar god poster boy. Tommy Aguilar may have been a music visionary, when he could see straight, but like numerous predecessors stumbling down the fast lane, wasn't meant to stick around for reunion tours and VH-1 has-been specials. The story, and it's a doozy as told in Off The Record, paints a livid picture of the music industry. The greed, the back-stabbing, the payola, the blundering, the incompetence, the revenge, the depravity, you know, all the good things in life that make the world go round. From humble beginnings, when TAB would impatiently blow headliners off small stages, bewilder audiences with music virtuosity then pummel them with music mayhem, "Off The Record" bounces along like a super charged Indian rubber ball. Author David Menconi, a poorly disguised pseudonym for longtime hack and early TAB supporter Ken Morrison, digs deep into every ugly crevice. The mark of someone who was there. The surprise comes with a sound knowledge and respectful understanding of the music itself, important and often overlooked in these types of cash-in accounts. Menconi’s version of the events reads like a well paced mystery novel. Characters play, fight and die, and everything comes full circle. Not the typical live fast die young story, Off The Record is more about survival, and more specifically, about Gus DeGrande: the soul-selling devil of American recording industry himself. If even half of what Menconi insinuates is true then DeGrande comes off as the greatest huckster since Barnum licked his first sucker. I recommend reading the book as a simple piece of fiction fluff, cuz as we all know, truth is stranger than fiction, and the real escapades of TAB probably would never fly on paper. Fans will flock to it as they do to Aguilar's overrun memorial, and in the process will wind up reading a pretty good book.

— John Sekerka/Thrust Quarterly (May ’01) & Cosmik Debris (June ’01)


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