This book is sadly hilarious. Jen Trynin was a rock singer/songwriter from Boston whose 1994 self-released debut CD set off a huge bidding war between all the major labels. She ultimately signed with Warner Bros, and then essentially flopped after one almost-radio-hit and disappeared after her second album. What makes this book so great is that she's an excellent writer and has a vivid recall of all her experiences. Her tales of sleazy lawyers, managers, and especially A&R reps vying for her attention are dead-on and pretty fucking funny in a sad, pathetic way. Though the book deals little with recording, these days every musician and engineer probably oughta' have some sense of the music business. Did I mention that it's funny too? Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. For instance her producer, who is also her boyfriend, is referred to as Guy in the book, but in real life is well-known Boston producer, Mike Denneen. Similarly, her band members have different names too, maybe to mask the details of her almost affair with her bass player. As Guy/Mike plays a pivotal role, there are lots of glimpses of the studio with both Trynin and Aimee Mann who Denneen was working with at the time. The book mostly focuses on Trynin's time spent as an independent musician, signing with Warner (who re-released her CD), and the tour spent promoting it. The second album, departure from Warner, her marriage to Guy/Mike, and motherhood are dispensed with in the last 25 pages. But within those last few pages was what I found to be one of the more interesting quotes in the book: "In the spring we begin recording my next record. It's the first time I've ever recorded on a schedule, and it feels a little like a job: 11am till around 1am five days a week for sixteen weeks. It's pretty fun, but not nearly as much fun as it was to record songs here and there, on the sly, in downtime, over holidays with whomever was able to show up." Needless to say, the belabored second album doesn't do as well as the "funner" first one. I've always noticed that a lot of records that come out of my studio that are done in little pieces here and there over the course of a year or so are usually the ones that come out really interesting, whereas the ones where the band books two or three weeks and gets down to work usually don't have the same appeal. I think that time off between sessions can be a really good thing. Anyway, not to go off on tangents any more - I really liked this book, and you probably would too. ($23, www.harcourtbooks.com)
Media | No. 63
Emigre No. 69: The End
by John Baccigaluppi
Warning: For those readers who get upset when we deviate a bit from matters strictly audio, you should skip ahead to the next microphone review that fits your budget. These next paragraphs will only...