Review: 33 Days by Bill See

Title: 33 Days
Author: Bill See
Publisher: Lulu
Publication Date: April 7, 2011
paperback, 276 pages
ISBN: 9780557758814
Genre: Memoir 

For 33 days in the summer of 1987, Divine Weeks toured in a beat up old Ford Econoline van, sleeping on strangers’ floors, never sure they’d make enough gas money to get them to the next town. This deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks’ first tour. Liberated from alcoholic upbringings and rigid cultural constraints, all they have is their music and each other’s friendship. The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism. They set out on the road to discovery to drink in all they could and maybe sell a few records. They grew up instead.

Steve's thoughts:
“Touring in a van. Sleeping on floors. Chasing a dream.” This is the tagline of this book and it sums it up very well. Divine Weeks is an “indie” band from the late ‘80’s L.A music scene, during the height of the DIY movement. What that meant is that the band does all their bookings, most of their own promotion. No tours sponsored by Pepsi or anybody else, just go out there and play your you-know-what’s off. Bill See is the band’s front man and the story is told from a collection of writings from his journal of their first tour in summer 1987. Through See’s conversational writing style you really get to know the main characters. You see a lot of the emotions that accompany 33 days cooped up together in a van. These guys were all looking for their way out and they felt that their best bet was music. They had to take their chance and go all out on this tour that took them from L.A., through Canada and the mid-west, to Texas then back to L.A. all in 33 days. While on the road they faced many obstacles like no or little advanced publicity, bad pay, car trouble, racism and much, much more. This is a coming of age story with the heart of determination and perseverance to live in the moment. I graduated high school in 1986 so I loved the references to bands that I could relate to also (Jane's Addiction, Dream Syndicate, Flaming Lips and many more). I really liked this book, it flowed easily and was a good read. If you are a fan of music this is a fascinating look at what it was like in the DIY generation of musicians.  

For a little listen at Divine Weeks music click here for Bitterness posted by Bill See.

Steve's rating:

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*A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review.