“If music is the space between the notes, a musician’s life is found in the spaces between the shows and the strange quiet that settles after the final chord has dissolved. Peter McDade’s The Weight of Sound unearths those hidden moments with heartbreaking precision. It is a panoramic reading and listening experience that will forever deepen your understanding of what you see happening on the rock and roll stage.” –Jacob Slichter, author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer’s Life
Careers die. Friendships fade. The music is all that remains. This is the weight of sound.
In The Weight of Sound, the debut novel from Peter McDade, aspiring rock musician Spider Webb announces to his parents that he will skip high school graduation and move to Athens, Georgia to launch his career in the birthplace of R.E.M. and the B-52s. Over the next 25 years, a chorus of narrators, including bandmates, roadies, girlfriends, record executives, and fans, illuminates the joys and travails of a rising rock ‘n’ roll musician.
As drummer for the rock band Uncle Green, McDade spent most of the ’80s and ’90s traveling America in a series of Ford vans. While the band searched for fame and a safe place to eat before a gig, he began writing fiction. Uncle Green retired from the commercial scene after four labels, seven records, and one name change — and McDade began to think about his novel.
The result is an insightful look at how music shapes not just musicians, but fans who explore their lives through song.
The Weight of Sound comes with a companion album, The Weight of Sound: Original Soundtrack, on which characters from the novel, portrayed by a talented cast of musicians, perform original songs from the book.
Playing the drums, McDade says, informs all areas of his life — writing, teaching, parenting, everything. “I don’t think I’m a particularly flashy guy behind a kit or behind a typewriter. I try to serve the story as best as I can, a lesson I learned trying to serve the song in Uncle Green.” His work bears the influence of Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Don DeLillo, and Kate Atkinson, as well as of his fixation growing up on TV (I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch) and classic records (Talking Heads, Elvis Costello).
“I think trying to be a professional musician makes you a lot more patient,” McDade says. “Either you become patient or you go crazy. Patience, combined with stubbornness, is what allows creative people to actually finish things.”
(Book publicity by Alison Law Communications)
Publication date: August 25, 2017
Download lyrics & liner notes for The Weight of Sound: Original Soundtrack (PDF)