Chick Bassist is Ross Lockhart’s debut as a writer of fiction, after establishing himself as a fantasy and horror editor best known for two successful Lovecraftian “Book of Cthulhu” anthologies. Despite Lockhart’s genre editing background, the only fantasy in Chick Bassist is of the rock-and-roll variety.
This book is crazy fun, often funny, but it also has a serious feel, as troubling and difficult as real life. It tracks the passions and conflicts of an enjoyably grungy cast of dysfunctional characters, every one of them f**ked up in a charmingly rock-and-roll sort of way. Lockhart realistically captures the fun and filth of the garage music scene, the transitory existences of bands, the passionate creativity and train-wreck lifestyles. The characters and their scene are clearly personally known to the author, and will seem familiar to anyone who has played in bands or at least been part of that milieu.
Told from multiple viewpoints, the story not only switching character perspectives, but also juggling first, second and third person points of view. The title refers to Erin Locke, “the Queen of Rock,” who leads the band Heroes for Goats until things implode, and she takes off to play bass for a more successful band. Other points of view follow Robbie Snow, the bassist kicked out of Heroes for Goats for acting all mental after Erin had sex with him, and Christian, who ends up getting a severe beating by Robbie after Erin makes Christian kick him out of the band.
At its best, rock and roll is about ambition and failure, about lessons learned too late, about love, and also death. Chick Bassist is crammed full of these things. If you think you might enjoy a punk/grunge flavored book about underground bands and musicians, you’ll love this Chick Bassist. I browsed the first pages of this book when I was already in the middle of reading something else, and this one immediately sucked me in.
As for the “Would you read a sequel?” test, Chick Bassist easily passes. I’d gladly read the further adventures of Lockhart’s rock and roll characters. Bring it on!