Matt Syverson’s Band on the Run is less a story than it is a collection of all the odd, useless famous band trivia that the author knows. He holds these facts together with a lot of filler in the form of a sometimes amusing, sometimes rushed, and sometimes repetitive story about a fictional band called Mellowtron.
Despite the rushed storytelling and very hard to believe plot, there is humor to be found in the oddball characters and the drug-fueled antics of an almost up-and-coming rock band. Unfortunately, most of the amusing bits occur before half of the story is told. Once the band goes on tour and gets an entertainment lawyer and a doped out following, the storyline becomes repetitive and boring, bogged down (maybe I should have said bonged down) with concert descriptions that even the author admits become redundant and sessions of jamming while higher than the sun in a Texas sky.
As the band’s popularity grows, every concert is a smashing success, and as a reader I wondered whether the narrator, who conveniently happens to be the band’s manager, is being honest or if his dream of managing one of the greatest bands of all time is starting to infringe on the reality he reports to us readers. I also think the story takes place about 10-15 years too late. The great bands of the 60s and 70s are supposed to be the inspiration for Mellowtron, but rock of that caliber is long dead. The story would have been more believable in the 80s or early 90s.
And then comes the author’s note at the end which tries to make us believe that the whole story was true. A reader would have to be more stoned than the members of Mellowtron to believe that. While good for a few laughs, I wasn’t able to suspend enough reality to like this one, and I did a lot of skimming towards the end. I’ll pass on the sequel.