33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream.
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.
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May 15, 2011As a music and autobiography lover, this book was right up my alley. And it did not disappoint! Bill See has a talent for writing and his style is easy to read and follow. His book turned out to be very inspiring and encouraging for those who have a dream but hesitate to take a step into the unknown to follow that dream. What will happen if you don’t take that chance? And what will happen if you do? In the summer of ’87, Bill and his fellow band members have become well known around LA with their indie band, Divine Weeks. They have determined that the time has come for them to spread their wings and see if they can make the big time. They know they will never have this chance again. Following in the footsteps of their favorite Indie bands, they embark on a 33 day tour into Canada and around the U.S. in a rented van. For the next 33 days, Bill gives you a first person account of what it is like not knowing where you will sleep that night, playing you heart out to a nearly empty venue,... More > and hoping for the kindness of strangers. They are on their own for the first time in their lives. Each venue and city they play a gig in becomes a learning experience for them. They play in dive bars and clubs more often than not, run into owners who try to get away with not paying or docking their pay, and spend some time in seedy motels. They do radio interviews, including one with a lunatic DJ in Canada, and a cable TV spot in St Louis. Anything to gain hype to fill the clubs they are playing. It is very obvious throughout the book that the band members believe in their music and talent and are dedicated to their mission. There are many hilarious moments and just as many disappointments along the way. As the days go by, each of the guys learns more about themselves and what is ultimately important to them. Bill had a very chaotic upbringing with a mother hung up on drugs and alcohol. He never knew his father and was ultimately raised in a house with his mother, grandparents, and aunt. Music became an escape from his crazy life at home. Not surprisingly, his family was not supportive of his musical dreams. Bits of interesting and touching information from his life turn up throughout the book which gives you an even better insight into why Bill feels he must take the chance now or give up his dream. Raj, who is the bands talented Indian guitar player, quickly became one of my favorites. The band faces their first eye-opening experience of the discrimination Raj has endured throughout his life for having brown skin. The trip itself is very hard on Raj. His Indian heritage dictates that he is not to leave his family, especially when they are in need. Somehow Raj forces himself to go on the tour and seems to battle daily with the guilt of his decision. I really felt sorry for him. Bill does a great job with his descriptions which enables you to feel as if you know and can see the people and places he is experiencing. The book also ended my favorite way. Bill lets you know what happened to each of the band members and where their lives have taken them. I hate being left to wonder what eventually happened to everyone! I thought the book was great and if Bill See were to write anything in the future, I would be sure to check it out. He has the talent to pull a reader in and keep their attention. You can’t ask for better than that!< Less
May 6, 2011Seize the moment! Follow your dream! This is what “33 Days” is all about for a Rock & Roll band from LA , Divine Weeks, who spent 33 days on the road in 1987 as they toured up the coast and into Canada, then back down into the States as they worked they way home. Bill See, the author and the lead singer of the band, says of the band during a radio station interview, “We’re losers. Nobodies in school. Music is the only thing that gives us a voice Individually, we’re just self-loathing wannabe, never-will-be’s. Together we believe we’re capable of great things.” Great things happen on the tour. Each member grows individually and together, sleeping on floors and in an overcrowded van, subsisting on pizza and peanut butter & jelly, fighting for the pay they are due so they have enough money for gas to reach the next town and gig. Reading this true story, your minds wanders to such songs as “On the Road Again,” “Turn the Page” and “Into the Great Wide Open.” This is a book that... More > should be made into a movie. This is a band that achieved some success but should have achieved more. It’s a story about what it means to be an artist in any medium. It’s all about being human even when some think you are a freak while others put you on a pedestal. While everything is seen through the eyes of Bill See, his story is as much the story of the members of his band - Raj, George, Dave and their road manager Ian. All come to life as See remembers that very special time in their lives. See makes you see past the glamor of the performers on stage. Through his well crafted words, he makes you care for these guys, suffer what they suffer and cheer them on when they succeed. About the author Though Divine Weeks no longer records, Bill See continues with a solo recording career. He lives with his daughter Maeve, his girlfriend Cindy and her two children, Emma and Alex, in Los Angeles. For more information, visit his 33 Days official website at www.33daysthebook.com for photos, videos and free MP3 downloads of Divine Week’s music. Highly Recommended. Reviewer: Peter Klein Allbooks Reviews.< Less
Apr 22, 201133 Days: Touring In a Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream is based on indie rock band Divine Weeks first foray into "touring" (a loose term by an means) in the Summer of 1987. Inspired by "DIY elders" The Minutemen & Black Flag, See and his other bandmates seize the moment of their time as a local popular band in LA to spread their live music beyond LA's insular perimeter, hop into a van rented to them by the good graces of a friend as none of them even have credit cards to experience life 'On the Road'. It is a fun blast from the past for Indie Rockers as the author references the music of the time -- Husker Du, The Replacements, The Smiths, Jane's Addiction and of course R.E.M. throughout the book. The author is adept at creating atmosphere of what it must of been like traveling in a van with 5 guys whose probably sole sustenance was big box cereal, pizza & beer (ew!). His descriptions of the venues they play are nuanced giving you a true feel for... More > life on the road as an indie band. This was not a band backed by a major record label by any means. Affording gas money and basic needs such as safe tires for the van are a constant challenge for these guys. The main characters in the book, or bandmates and "tour manager" (another loose term) are all engaging with different plights in life. Lead singer Bill is insightful, poetic and ever challenging his bandmates. Guitarist Raj is battling his family's cultural expectations. George, the Bassist with a nagging girlfriend at home is truly at a crossroads trying to decide whether or not to pursue Grad school for Englisht Lit. Drummer Dave is the practical one of the group remembering to bring a toolbox (for van repairs) while Bill has only managed to remember his mix tapes and journal. Ian, the "tour manager" offers the non-musician perspective. As Raj, the guitarist is of East Indian descent, race relations are dealt with in a spot on natural way, never didactic. You can always find some ignorant person in a bar who still believes the color of your skin is the most crucial aspect of one's being and there is a significant scene where Raj is picked on by an invariably low brow scary woman for being a "Paki". It is one of the many heartfelt and poignant moments in the book where friendship trumps all and strengthens the band's intent. In some respects the book is 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' as See shares insight to his upbringings, a classic case of a dysfunctional family. See's writing is emotionally touching without ever becoming sappy or self-pitying. Raised by a single mother and his grandparents without ever knowing his father, music is a form of salvation for him. Now was Divine Weeks the long lost band of the '80's? Most likely not but if you venture on to the book's website to listen to the band's music you can hear their simmering soulfulness, songs written with integrity and solidly crafted music that is undeniably rockist. If you appreciate good music with integrity (obviously quite a relative term) or some of the bands referenced, wonder what it's like to chase your dream no matter how scary or impossible it might seem you will enjoy this book. It is truly a story of friendships, how they grow and are challenged over the course of being 'On the Road' together -- basically a life and dream affirming, humorous coming of age story.< Less
Apr 6, 2011On-the-road-to-greatness! OK, a little self-confession here. I used to sing from when I was young, up until my early twenties. My dad once told me when I was living in Boston (back during Tracy Chapman's fame), why don't you go out there and sing on the street corner? I thought he was nuts, but he was being an awfully good parent, thinking I could sing. These guys are the real deal and I never had the guts to try the DIY just-get-in-the-van! I love their take on the music industry and the insights (for someone who loves music and zoned out for a countless number of hours to it) are spot on. The personal stories are incredibly touching. For anyone who once dreamed of being a rock star - this book is a great ride!
Feb 19, 2011Bill See's 33 Days is a wonderful read -- this book captures the essence of what it was to chase a dream. In this case the dream was making a name for a burgeoning L.A. indie band, Divine Weeks, by touring through the US and Canada in the summer of 1987. Lead singer, See, kept a journal of their days on the road and converted it into this gripping "memoir." Reading it takes you back to a time in life when dreams don't have boundaries, when everything is possible. It's anchored in the real-life struggles the guys in the band had to overcome -- breaking free from the chains that held them back -- toxic upbringings, racism, overbearing families, survivor guilt, school, girls, etc. Their adventures were both hilarious and harrowing. They celebrated the kindness of strangers, critical to DIY touring at the time. DIY touring meant they were at the mercy of club-goers who'd volunteer their floor for the boys to sleep on after the shows. They also encountered slimy club owners and... More > bitter, confrontational racists. All of this only served to bring the band closer together and cement their drive to make it out there. What could have been 33 days of sex, drugs and rock n' roll, has become so much more in See's capable hands. Ultimately a beautifully written coming-of-age story, he reminds us of the power of friendship, the allure of the dream, of a time and place when anything is possible.< Less
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- Bill See (Standard Copyright License)
- First Edition
- August 16, 2011
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- 1.24 MB
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- rock music memoir ,
- coming of age ,
- on the road ,
- indie alternative bands ,
- racism bigotry prejudice ,
- alcoholic family ,
- DIY touring ,
- 80s L.A. rock ,
- 80s college radio ,
- rock music dreams ,
- firehose minutemen ,
- mike watt ,
- divine weeks ,
- jane's addiction ,
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