A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll
By Joe Oestreich
(Lyons Press, Paperback, 9780762779246, 304pp.)
Publication Date: June 2012
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Everyone knows the price of fame. Hitless Wonder measures the price of obscurity. What happens when you chase a dream into middle age and, in doing so, risk losing the people you love?
This book recounts the two-week tour that forces Joe Oestreich—singer, songwriter, and bassist of the band Watershed—to decide if he and his longtime bandmates still have a future together. In the mid-‘90s, Watershed’s large Midwest following led to a six-figure deal with Epic Records. But the band never had a hit, and the label dropped them. Seventeen years later, long after their more famous peers have called it quits, Watershed keeps climbing into the Econoline and touring mop bucket bars.
But Joe can’t help but wonder: Are he and his bandmates—approaching forty with wives and kids and mortgages—admirable or pathetic? Successes or failures? The tour tests the bonds of Joe’s friendships and the strength of his marriage, as he’s torn between the lure of the road and the call to finally settle down.
An accomplished journalist and creative writing instructor, Oestreich tells his story with humor, heart, and unflinching honesty. Readers—from Baby Boomers to Gen X-ers—will be deeply moved by his voice, while appreciating his quixotic struggle to live out a dream.
Joe Oestreich has published essays in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and elsewhere. His work has been shortlisted for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007, The Best American Essays 2008 and 2009, and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses 2010. He teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University.
“HITLESS WONDER is a thoroughly enjoyable rock and roll memoir—funny, honest, and full of inside dope. I’m sorry Watershed never made it big, but I’m glad Joe Oestreich wrote this wonderful book about a lifetime devoted to music and friendship, a book about a scrappy band that doesn’t know how to quit.”
—Tom Perrotta, author of Election and Little Children