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Rock OnAn Office Power Ballad

Dan Kennedy

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Rock On

By: Dan Kennedy

Narrarated by: Dan Kennedy

When New York writer Dan Kennedy is hired by a major record label in 2002, he thinks he's chanced upon a dream job in the world of full-blown gonzo rock and roll excess that has pockmarked his dreams ever since he was a suburban Southern California teen. The sobering reality: he's basically walked into a nine-to-five world that's equal parts Spinal Tap and The Office—-and he's just in time for mass layoffs, artists being cut from contracts, and sales hitting an all-time low.

But in these tame and dying days of the record business, Kennedy's twisted wit offers up the absurd, funny, and oddly heart-breaking story of a stranger in a strange land. In an irresistibly weird way, it seems he has shown up at exactly the right time.

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Audiobook Information

Total File Size: 148 MB (5 files) Total Length: 5 Hours, 25 Minutes

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Sam Adams


Sam Adams writes for the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Onion A.V. Club, Time Out New York, Time Out Chicago, Cowbell and the Philadelphia Ci...more »

Dan Kennedy, Rock On
2008 | Label: Random House Audio

The essential dilemma: Is taking a regular job growing up or selling out?
A committed slacker with an occasional background in marketing, Dan Kennedy gets a chance to join the rat race while keeping his cool when he is offered a job at Atlantic Records in 2002. On the inside, he finds the mixture of chaos, capitulation and fear that you’d expect of a major record label in the early 21st century. But despite the bewilderment and flashes of contempt inspired by his new surroundings, Kennedy can’t suppress the desire to fit in. He splurges on pricey picture frames and pricey Barney’s windbreakers, thinking that these, maybe, are the kinds of things successful people do.

Sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued, Kennedy sticks his pins were they hurt; the names are changed not to protect the guilty, but to give him free rein. Not withstanding its fits of wicked point-settling, the book has a poignant core, since Kennedy is struggling with himself as much as anyone around him. Is taking a regular job growing up or selling out? Is his quasi-bohemian telecommuting lifestyle a matter of principle, or is it just that no one’s offered him enough money to sit behind a desk? Kennedy’s ill-advised, ambivalent, and occasionally successful attempts to fit in to a culture he doesn’t understand and often doesn’t respect give the book an undercurrent of self-examination that contrasts with Kennedy’s sometimes glib attacks on his bosses.

A spoken-word performer as well as a contributor to McSweeney’s and GQ, Kennedy knows how to punch up his writing with well-timed interpretation, although it’s odd to hear him talk about music for so long without actually hearing any.

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Really Enjoyed It


Funny and well written. As a music lover it was great to get an insider's perspective on the industry. It confirms my belief that these guys had their heads so far up their butts that they never saw their industry about to crumble

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Wit & Humor


A fantastic read that is written with wit and humor. It made me laugh out loud.

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Rock On by Dan Kennedy


Funny, really funny! The kind of funny where they’ll pull your man card if they found out you dance around in a towel singing into your comb, Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. Being and audiophile myself it was a real joy to grab an inside glimpse into the music business. Dan Kennedy does a great job with this book funny, insightful and more entertaining than a Quiet Riot video any day of the week. Scott Cedarberg WI.

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