When It Stopped
A novel about music, music lovers, and the last half-decent year in the music business. More
Brian Jones is a music freak. His new boss at Mars Records requests he keep that to himself. Their business model is imploding. The youth misspent inhaling his father’s vinyl collection, the passion for tunes that didn’t fade out after his dad died, the one-listen knack for picking a hit – these mark Brian for deep professional suspicion. Everywhere he turns people warn him, and it’s not like he doesn’t believe them. He just might not be the type who can fake it.
Blame it on the patchouli or the pancakes for dinner – which Brian invokes as the pith of his hippie rearing in Woodstock. It’s too much trouble to describe his father’s gig rolling tape in the studio up there for Dylan, or to deconstruct the lessons conveyed whenever the needle dropped on something the old man considered seminal. Now Brian can cite metaphysics and neuroscience to explain the emotional and chemical effects of a smash. He falls in love with the beautiful, damaged girls in the Replacements’ song. What he can’t do is work a stiff without feeling like a sell-out, or date a girl who owns a Bon Jovi record.
Viola Holliday can’t sing. She’s also treating her own grief with booze, pills, and other less therapeutic pursuits. Brian signs her to a recording contract anyway. She’s a girl to inspire Paul Westerberg if ever Brian met one, and the tabloids can’t get enough of her super-rich post-adolescent party crowd.
And he’s got larger logistical challenges. Mars’ biggest album of the fiscal year leaks, and his bosses task him with getting it off the Internet, and with leading the clampdown against music fans online. Martin “Sub” Standart throws Brian under the bus at every bump in the road.
Power Girl Stephi Mensch loops Brian in on the industry scuttlebutt – his bosses have decided he’s not their flavor – and leaves Brian little doubt what she expects if he’d like to be hers. Only the artist manager Stella Hayes appreciates Brian’s theories about music, possesses some insight into the role it plays in his life, and offers a way forward. It starts with breaking one of her clients in America.
WHEN IT STOPPED is a story about Brian Jones, trying to preserve his passion for music, during the last decent year in the music business. It's Mike Tierney's first novel. It was a finalist for the Tarcher/Penguin award for new writers.
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