A rock and roll drummer abandons his successful music career to pursue his true passion and discovers a deeper understanding of artistic fulfillment in this episodic memoir of swapping one dream for another
In the mid-1990s, fresh out of high school, Nic Brown was living his childhood dream as a rock and roll drummer. Signing a major label record deal, playing big shows, hitting the charts, giving interviews in Rolling Stone, appearing on The Tonight Show—what could be better for a young artist? But contrary to expectations, getting a shot at his artistic dream early in life was a destabilizing shock. The more he achieved, the more accolades that came his way, the less sure Brown became about his path.
Only a few years into a promising musical career, he discovered the crux of his discontent: he was never meant to remain behind the drums. In fact, his true artistic path lay in a radically different direction entirely: he decided to become a writer, embarking on a journey leading him to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, publish novels and short stories, and teach literature to college students across the country.
Bang Bang Crash tells the story of Nic Brown’s unusual journey to gain new strength, presence of mind, and sense of perspective, enabling him to discover an even greater life of artistic fulfillment.
About the Author
NIC BROWN is the author of the novels In Every Way, Doubles, and Floodmarkers, which was selected as an Editors' Choice by The New York Times Book Review. He is the fiction editor of the South Carolina Review, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times and the Harvard Review, among many other publications. As a drummer, he has worked with Athenaeum, Ben Lee, Longwave, Skeleton Key, and Eszter Balint. A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has served as the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi and is now an associate professor of creative writing at Clemson University.
"Charming . . . A nostalgia-rich ode to optimism . . . The joyous read reminds us that when art, whether song or story, leaves its maker's hands, it becomes something bigger, something that belongs to every fan." —CJ Lotz, Garden & Gun
"This poignant memoir will not only be loved by music fans but will also likely appeal to readers who want to go on a journey of love, ambivalence, and acceptance." —Library Journal (starred review)
"A stylish portrait of a life in search of a deeper rhythm." —Henry L. Carrigan Jr., BookPage
"This memoir, crafted in beautiful, vivid prose, explores a life devoted to art, and an artist with many facets and branches to his talent. Music fans will adore the behind-the-scenes look at a drummer’s life, but anyone who has ever radically changed course will find connection in Brown’s words." —Booklist
"Amiable . . . A well-written rock memoir that evades the usual clichés . . . Both former and aspiring rockers will find plenty to reflect on in Brown’s reminiscences." —Kirkus Reviews
"'What happens when you discover that you’re a grown man, living out the dreams of a boy?' Nic Brown asks a good question—particularly if you're a drummer. Some can't or won't wake up from those dreams, but Brown found a new one. Through ill-fated and yet redemptive forays into everything from rapping to tennis, our hero narrates the birth, by turns amusing and a little heartbreaking, of an inspiring second act of a very American life." ––Michael Azerrad, author of Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life
"Bang Bang Crash is irresistible, a sly memoir that comes on like a great pop song—catchy, fast paced, witty—only to deepen into a meditation on creativity and the search for meaning. Music fans will, of course, devour the book. Anyone who has struggled to find their way as an artist will discover something deeper in Nic Brown’s wise, compassionate voice: a true companion." ––Steve Almond, author of Rock & Roll Will Save Your Life
"There’s Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, and then there’s Nic Brown’s Bang Bang Crash. I’ve never read a more satisfactory memoir that concerned what-should’ve-been and what-should be. This is a journey that we all take, whether we like it or not. I loved this story completely, and although I might say I wish I’d taken it, I’m glad I didn’t. What a great memoir, the best I’ve read in years." ––George Singleton, You Want More: Selected Stories
"Most rock memoirs are about excess. But Nic Brown's Bang Bang Crash is about ambivalence: it asks, What happens if you get everything you ever wanted, and discover that you should have wanted something else? What should you do next? Well, in Nic Brown's case, he put down his drumsticks and wrote this charming, funny, rueful, wise book about the rock and roll life, and the life after the rock and roll life. An essential addition to the long, ongoing American story of second chances, second acts." ––Brock Clarke, author of Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?