Self Booked: Empty Bottles, Germs Burns and Bootneck Dreams: True Tales of The S: By Todd J. Colberg, 194 pgs. By Kurt

Nov 27, 2012

Self Booked is another book about an individual’s life in a band, but this time it’s a band I’ve never heard of. I wasn’t familiar with Todd Colberg’s group, The Spinns, thus it meant that the author would have to do a great deal to draw me in. Unfortunately for the author, I do copyediting. This book could have stood to have the intervention of a heavy hand. This lack of editing proved a great hurdle for me to overcome in my appreciation for the book. Nevertheless, my interest in reading about bands and their lives meant that I would inevitably be sucked in.

In telling the story of The Spinns—a garage punk band from North Carolina—Colberg shares the highs and lows, the antics that can only come about when drunk or high (or both), and some amusing anecdotes only loosely related to the band. Thanks to The Spinns’ wild and crazy adventures, the book is engaging and I could overlook most of the editing mistakes.

Highlights from Self Booked include the times Todd took his dog on tour with the band, fights amongst members, and the group’s final cross-country tour in which just about everything that could go wrong did. In fact, that seemed to be the theme of much of the career of The Spinns. It’s hard to feel entirely sympathetic, however, as the band’s problems were primarily of their own doing. Drugs, alcohol, and a lack of common sense amongst some of the members created many dangerous (albeit humorous) situations.

The book also comes with photos, reviews, and features of The Spinns. It also has a good number of interesting, humorous footnotes. However, there were no Germs burns, which is misleading, considering the subtitle suggested there would be.

We live in a day and age where—like putting out a record—it’s much easier for an individual not affiliated with a publishing house to release a book. I still don’t believe that gives the writer an excuse to not have their work edited. The huge grammatical mistakes (especially the overuse of commas) made this a slightly annoying read. I consider it to be the equivalent of a band with a good sound but a shitty mix. Yeah, the general idea is communicated and it doesn’t need to be a work of over-produced major label sound, but you’re really depriving the listener of the full potential of the work by not cleaning it up.

I saw that Self Booked was funded through a Kickstarter campaign. While it’s great to see a success, couldn’t Colberg have made a higher goal than the one he had and gotten enough money to hire an editor? Next time, hit me up! I work for cheap! Kurt Morris (Plan-It-X, PO Box 2312, Bloomington, IN47402)