Behind the Music with Semisonic’s Jacob Slichter
What it’s really like to be a rock star.
Written by Filed under Arts & Entertainment
The fantasy is better than the reality. That’s the impression one gets from reading “So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star” (Broadway Books), a new rock & roll autobiography in which sexual misadventures and acts of destruction are conspicuously absent. But even though author Jacob Slichter can’t recall anything more outrageous than a panic attack or Rolaids binge, “So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star” isn’t any less compelling than a more scandalous music biography. In fact, it’s a refreshingly honest look at the trials and tribulations of life as an aspiring and, at times, exceptionally successful rock musician.
For the uninitiated, Slichter has spent a decade playing drums for Semisonic, the Minneapolis-based trio that reached its commercial peak in 1998 with the number-one single “Closing Time” from the platinum-selling CD Feeling Strangely Fine (MCA). The book is an extension of the author’s “road diaries,” in which he dutifully recorded the highs and lows experienced by himself and band mates Dan Wilson and John Munson. Popular music fans will be entertained as Slichter takes the reader everywhere from the stage and studio to the tour bus and boardroom. Musicians will see the book as a warning about the pitfalls of the music business, while Semisonic fans are sure to lament the band’s unrealized potential and bemoan the music industry-types who unwittingly did everything possible to keep the band from achieving mega-star status.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Slichter about rock stardom and whether an artist has control over the success or failure of his own career.