Every catalog season before my media trips I try to read as many of the trade titles, cover-to-cover, as possible. Though not a traditional trade title, Bob Ostertag’s forthcoming book Creative Life: Music, Politics, People, and Machines, will surely appeal to some of my media contacts. It’s a great read. This bit from the catalog copy distills it perfectly:
“Part memoir, part journalism, and part aesthetic manifesto, Creative Life is a dazzling set of writings from a musical artist who has worked on the cutting edge of new music for thirty years.”
My favorite chapter so far is “The Balkans: Tour Journal.” I was in a college band back-in-the-day, mainly playing within a ninety mile radius of Champaign-Urbana. Our biggest fears were a flat tire, a broken guitar string, and an opening band that wanted us to move our equipment so that they could fit theirs on stage (the nerve!). Someone did break into our van once, and the drum machine stopped inexplicably a few times mid-song, but even these pale in comparison to Bob’s experiences in the remains of Yugoslavia.
Denied visas. Irreplaceable broken gear. Suspicious border guards. Now that’s a tour!
The book’s “Conclusion” explains why Bob has posted all of his music online for free download. Creative Life won’t be published until September 2009, but you can get a head start discovering the art of Bob Ostertag here.